PR consultant Kittima Sethi explains how a few well chosen words can boost a country’s international recognition.
WHAT is your country’s slogan? Or the slogan of the country that you are living in? Have you ever wondered how these one-liners can sum up a country by saying so very little?
Many countries today are using slogans or taglines to market, promote and brand their cities to attract visitors. While branding has traditionally been applied to products and services, increased competition in the tourism industry has seen many countries adopt this approach to gain tourists.
News of political disturbances, economic issues, natural calamities and social problems make its way into the headlines much faster nowadays, causing a PR and business crisis for those in the tourism and hospitality sector. After damage control, affected countries often launch tourism campaigns to rebuild their country’s reputation and lure back visitors.
One way to do this is the use of engaging slogans or taglines to charm and create curiosity among potential visitors. Generally speaking, slogans are short, catchy, and easy to remember. A good slogan has strong staying power, which means it is easily etched in people’s minds for years and years. Occasionally, slogans are often accompanied with powerful images or catchy songs.
It is important that the slogan complements the branding, keeping the messages consistent. Branding a country is a huge task as it involves representatives of the government, business sector, arts and culture departments, and the academics. Research, including a SWOT and competitive analysis, is required to fi nd out how the country is perceived internally and externally.
Some of the most successful slogans used by countries are those that evoke curiosity, fun and capture the uniqueness of the country. Countries that have used this method include Slovenia’s “I feel sLOVEnia” and Ireland’s “Jump into Ireland”. Last year, The Jamaican tourism board replaced their former slogan, “Jamaica – Once You Go, You know,” with a shorter yet odd slogan, “Jamaica – Get All Right,” explaining that Jamaica was a place that made visitors “feel alright.”
A slogan that conjures the country’s natural beauty also resonates well with tourists. These include “New Zealand 100% Pure” featuring untouched landscapes and clear lakes, “Maldives – The Sunny Side of Life” and “Switzerland – Get Natural”.
Some countries use intrigue to attract tourists. Take for instance “Croatia: The Mediterranean As It Once Was” or “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”. Spain’s “Everything Under the Sun” not only portrayed Spain as a sunny beach destination, but suggested that Spain had more to offer tourists.
Keeping slogans to just two to three words can also be effective as it is simple and easy to remember, especially with powerful images, such as “Incredible India,” “Magical Kenya,” “Japan Endless Discovery,” and “Malaysia – Truly Asia.”
There are also slogans that make you grimace. Bangladesh adopted “Visit Bangladesh -Before The Tourists Come,” which sounded like travel advice. Thankfully, the slogan was renamed, simply to “Beautiful Bangladesh.” Another one is “Fiji ME,” accompanied by a bikini-clad woman and the rest I will leave up to your imagination. “Tanzania, Land of Kilimanjaro Zanzibar and the Serengeti” is another slogan that created a puzzled look on people’s faces as not everyone knew the places mentioned in the slogan.
One of my favourite slogans is from the little-heard tiny South Pacific nation of Nauru. According to a 2012 report by the World Health Organization, Nauru was named as one of the world’s most overweight countries. Taking advantage of this announcement, Nauru incorporated its citizens’ body size into a new tourist slogan: “Feel Thin in Nauru.” This slogan didn’t last long, though, as it turned out to be an April Fool’s hoax!
While a slogan is just one of the tools used to create a positive image of a country, a good public relations program is also essential. PR brings the slogan to life with stories and photos.
Closer to home, “Amazing Thailand” has amazed the world with its current political upheaval during the Bangkok Shutdown, while nearby “Incredible India” has been dubbed as the “country of rape tourism” after a series of rape cases involving women tourists. Both countries need to work on PR programs to rebuild their reputations and win trust.
The same principles outlined above for using slogans and taglines to brand a country can also be used in products and services. I have just shared some examples of country slogans, but you can also create slogans or taglines that your customers will remember for years to come.
There is no rule on how long a slogan should be, as long as it is able to connect with the target audience on an emotional level. Keys to an unforgettable slogan include being creative with the words, highlighting the key benefi ts of your product, keeping it short and simple, and, most importantly, sticking to it and including it in all your communication materials.
If you are passionate about your brand and have a clear brand identity, then coming up with a creative tagline will not only strengthen your brand, but will also have the power to change how people view and remember it.
Kittima Sethi is a PR consultant at Brand Now Co., Ltd. When not busy following slogans around the world, she may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.