Nation branding is a fairly new branch of the marketing field and as such serves as an arena for international discussion. The present case study discusses the issue of branding, or rather rebranding, of a particular country. Branding Israel, as any other country, is a complex issue that requires a lot of careful consideration. The measures suggested in the case largely include the promotion of a positive image of the country through the mass media. These methods are essential elements of any successful branding campaign; however, when it comes to Israel, a number of other complimentary steps should be adopted in order to have favorable results.
Looking at the BIG’s thinking about the course of action for the Branding of Israel project there can be arguments both for and against such agenda. To start with, the promotion of the positive image of the country is very beneficial. People form their opinions based on the information they see the most frequently; and the information about Israel is usually not pleasant. In order to change the perceptions of people it is important to raise their awareness about the multiple aspects of the Israeli life, not just the political and military part of it. Moreover, the idea of using images of common citizens enjoying their lives is worth exploring. It is much easier to relate to and care about a place which is inhabited by people who are similar in their everyday lives, common problems, hobbies, emotions, etc. In this regard, the BIG’s strategy has been sound and logical. On the other hand, this kind of branding alone may look like hypocrisy. It is not difficult for general public to recall that while the mass media depicts Israel as a family-oriented and fun place, at the same time there are bloody military conflicts in progress. That is why the rebranding plan has to be more comprehensive.
This brings us to the discussion of communication-based branding strategies, their effectiveness and limitations. Without doubt, these methods are very effective as they have the power to engage people’s emotions, beliefs, and values. Besides that, they can cover a big population sample at the same time. In the nation branding process these methods surely play an important role. As the majority of people do not have the opportunity to experience the country first-hand, they have to rely on the information from different sources, including the media. However, there are certain limitations to such branding efforts. There is no real way to control all the information people receive, but there will always be messages conflicting with the desired image, creating a mismatch in people’s minds. Moreover, without the first-hand experience or contact with the Israeli people it is nearly impossible to encourage people to care about the country.
In order to overcome these shortcomings a country should consider a multi-faceted approach to its branding. The most essential aspect is to focus on long-term results. Political aspect of a country’s image seems rather important. The political system, the foreign policy and the international relations all play an important role in the image of a country since they are so visible and covered by media. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to focus on such issues as democracy, stability, social welfare, multiculturalism, and religious tolerance. Furthermore, there should be an increased exchange of the professionals, educators, students, and tourists among the countries to provide a hands-on experience of the local life. Another good idea might be to shift the focus from the political issues, for instance, to the sports arena or other entertainment, which usually attracts a lot of public attention. All these techniques should be considered when choosing the most appropriate course of action.
Analyzing all the data from the case study one can reach the conclusion that the rebranding of Israel is definitely in the middle of the process. Some valuable first steps have been made by BIG and the further action is required. If this project is to succeed, there has to be an increased attention to it from the Israeli government and people because initiatives of an American-based consultancy are not enough. Unfortunately, the countries that desperately need branding and positive image creation often face more pressing problems that they must focus on.