Friday, 8 July 2011

Building your country’s brand

By Noshua Watson

Don’t tell my colleagues, but I’m counting the days until my summer holiday. The funny thing is that I have never seen a travel advertising campaign that actually persuaded me to go somewhere. Aren’t they tedious? (See here, here and here).

Developing countries face difficulties when trying to attract tourism or other industries on a sustainable basis. They offer new opportunities and markets, yet investors and potential customers don’t fully engage because the countries don’t have a track record. It makes me think about a study that I am working on with a novelist colleague about the importance of reputation for online literary fiction journals. (Not that I have time to read anything besides The Economist or journal articles, ahem. But check out State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.)  I think our findings might also say a bit about how developing countries can build their reputations for business.

Although new literary fiction magazines spring up online all the day and offer more publication opportunities to aspiring wordsmiths, print journals are still more respected. So where and how is a young writer meant to publish? 

People are loyal to the same brands in different contexts because they can predict their satisfaction in one domain based on another. So people read the same journals online and offline. I think that countries not only need to find their strengths, but they shouldn’t be afraid to make comparisons and emphasize that if you like the beach there, you’ll also like the beach here.

We tell new writers who want to build a reputation to publish in journals (online or offline) with high quality content and design, are associated with high status people, have a good track record and charge what they’re worth. We suggest to online editors that they cultivate a niche or cult brand, form an alliance with a strong, well-known brand and provide a distinct offering. Kind of like this country here.