Those which do not invest enough to build the relevant and visible brand equity will not be effective in attracting investors, businesses, tourists or new talent-residents.
In an increasingly networked world, news of US economic slowdowns can immediately affect Asian economies. Similarly, news of a country leader being assassinated such as Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto can undermine investor sentiment overnight.
More independent third parties are giving out more category awards, lending to the already-complex country brand management in Asia with over 600,000 communities. It is highly conceivable that global investors will one day face ‘country award or rating fatigue’ syndrome. How then does an Asian country marketeer market and brand its location more effectively in such times of quick change? Some elements of location or place marketing techniques can be considered.
The bigger tier one AsiaPac countries, being less prone to changes, can adopt an umbrella brand with consistent messaging. Locations with a national leader who enjoys a positive image can still use top-down brand-building strategies.
Smaller tier two or even three AsiaPac countries can explore a niche branding or cultural branding strategy, consulting marketplace and citizen opinion leaders in whole overviews to develop a campaign.
All locations can benefit by using more internet or website marketing – some AsiaPac locations or city councils do not even have English websites or accessible email addresses or contact details. Finally, the location marketeer must know how to choose and use the right brand consultancy, since most of these consultancies are competent in branding only products for their corporate clients.
Lawrence Yeo is CEO of AsiaBIZ Strategy, a Singapore-based consultancy that provides Asia market research and investment/trade promotion services.