The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Sri Lanka hosted its third CEO Breakfast Forum for the year at Hilton Colombo Residences, emphasizing the importance of building a successful county brand image. The speaker for the forum was Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson, a senior officer in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Top business leaders, CEOs, CIM Fellow members and senior corporate executives, who are keen to understand how diplomacy and corporate branding techniques are used towards building a nation’s image, attended the event. The event was powered by BMW Prestige Automobile (Pvt.) Ltd.
Sharing his country’s branding philosophy to promote trade, tourism and investment as a national strategy, Hutchesson said, “What a diplomat does is not so different to what a marketer does. A diplomat too has to embrace these changes and become involved in selling his/her own country. Not just for companies but for countries too, our image and our brand is our calling card.”
Advising on how to build successful nation brands he explained, “One needs to understand our own brand and how we can make that as attractive, as persuasive as possible. Unlike a commercial brand it is difficult to quantify a country brand – in a general sense we will know if the country is liked, a desirable place to live and to do business and how it translates into measurable outcomes.”
Stressing on the importance of a country’s brand reputation, which has a mercurial economic impact, he said, “A more attractive brand means more export of the country’s products - more profits and earnings for the country.” However he cautioned marketers to take note that, ‘one size fits all’ does not work when branding the segments.
Providing insight into Australia’s success in nation branding, he stated, “We do have an official national brand that tries to capture the dynamism and creativity of our modern economy ‘Australia Unlimited’ while our Tourism brand ‘There is nothing like Australia’ has proved to be a hugely successful slogan.”
Encouraging Sri Lankan marketers he said, “Country branding is an ongoing process. Sri Lanka has been a quiet achiever in recent years and there’s a lot to be proud of.
In conclusion he advised, “The challenge is to sell it passionately to the world while you focus on improvements at home. Focus on Serendipity, it signals a magical place.”
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) UK is the world’s largest professional body for marketing. CIM Sri Lanka is the first international branch of CIM UK comprising the largest number of members, both professional and students of CIM outside the UK. The regional institute has always campaigned for greater recognition and excellence in the marketing profession in Sri Lanka, through education, training and professional development.