Cities, regions, countries and nation states are brands: they have a global presence and meaning in the minds of international audiences. Name awareness and reputation are just as relevant to places as they are to commercial brands.
Scientific research in tourism, export marketing, investment promotion and international relations shows that the reputations of places have a major influence on the decision to travel there, invest in their economies or buy their products and services. For cities, countries and regions, image really matters.
But managing the brand image of a nation, city or region is totally different from branding in the commercial world; it requires different skills and a different approach.
Competitive Identity is a unique method, developed by Simon Anholt over the last 20 years, based on the finding that places must shape their behaviours around a central defining purpose and strategy in order to build –the reputation and market appeal of the nation and its economic sectors.
As Anholt’s widely used Hexagon model illustrates, countries that manage to harmonise the actions and communications of all their externally-facing sectors will build a more robust, durable and distinctive national image.
This is mainly achieved through symbolic actions (Anholt 2006) or imaginative initiatives (Govers 2018): projects, policies and behaviours that prove what your city, region or country stands for.