IPRA has its Regional Conference in Bali recently in which it discussed the role of PR in branding countries. If the Mix article her is anything to go by it seems that the old adage that PR people usually do not understand branding may have some validity.
The magazine reports that the participants discussed at length the manifestations of branding and bandied about words like strategic; invoked Al and Laura Reis’s The Decline of Adverting and the Rise of PR (which is quite a few years old); and asked why Malaysia had the temerity to hijack batik, orang utans and sate padang as their touristic icons, which the magazine – or the speakers, one is never sure – dressed up under the fanciful term unique selling propositions.
All sounds a bit too much and Unspun wonders if Indonesia will get anywahere listening to this heady talk. The problem with branding Indonesia comes from Ministers with no clue about branding and creating what they call a “brand essence” of the country and then be consistent and relentless in implementing the brand strategy; and their consultants who go on and on about the execution without getting the strategic part – convincing their masters that branding is serious business in which consistency is the main key to its success – right. Anything short of that and you’d be like a doctor treating the symptoms rather than the cure for a lack of country branding in Indonesia.
Then again, one never knows if it was the delegates or the magazine that got things a bit confused. I dunno, decide for yourself ( if you read Indonesian).