June 05, 2005
It's nice to be right. In 2001, I felt Sweden's nation branding was more significant than Chinese WTO entry. In 2003, I spoke at the Swedish Marketing Association (MIS) and told them that Hans Blix's being Swedish was a good thing. Swedes, in their modesty, don't really think they are that wonderful, but Beyond Branding co-author Simon Anholt's nation-branding survey has just put their country tops.
It's with little surprise. This is a country that just gets on and does its thing, and an Observer report today sees Simon mention, 'Basically, Sweden is the country that nobody minds.'
But Swedish success goes a bit further. It lives its nation brand—there is a sense of unity behind everything it does. While there are things creeping in that are a bit disturbing—I didn't remember the need to tip earlier this century, but it is more commonplace; and the job situation has been topsy-turvy in years past—the success of a nation brand is dependent on how well matched the vision and the reality are.
In terms of exports, it figures every other country is a "domestic market", an attitude which I am sure many nations would like to follow. In Sweden, there is usually not much distinction between a local and a foreigner when it comes to corporate strategy. Now, if we were to perceive others as equal to ourselves, we'd end a lot of the tension that exists in the world today.
Not that Sweden has got it all right: I've heard from locals and expats that it's hard for one person to stand out too much, for fear of being accused of showing off. Even the top advertising man in the country has a small Audi, not a flash Merc. It may be a good thing, but it also means that giant leaps are that much tougher.
However, temperature and short winter days aside, it's one country I would be happy to call home, too—and there is no secret that I enjoy my nearly annual visits there.
'Branding in the early 2000s: the new forces at work', in CAP Online (and some other places) permalink
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I think Sweden has an undisputed brand image. At Brand Greece we hope to attain a similar position soon!Post a Comment
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