Thursday, March 20, 2008

Branding the Philippines

I have just read this article, Branding the Philippines (in an increasignly) Flat World.

From the title itself, the article is obviously about marketing. But as I read the article, I have this impression that what the authors are trying to say is not far from my own advocacy.

My Iniibig ko ang Pilipnas advocacy is coming from a psychological point of view. It is about the collective psyche, the collective mindset, and the collective solution. That part of the problem is the collective behaviour of Filipinos and part of the solution is our collective action.

When the article stated WE ARE THE BRAND, instantly there is a connection. The article continues, Branding the Philippines begins inside the heart of every Filipino and Filipina, whether he or she lives at home or abroad. And so does Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas, it begins from our heart.

The proposed strategy offered in branding is almost exactly the same with what I envision, patient, consistent and persistent to seep ever slowly into the hearts and minds of the target audience. I simply term it capturing the imagination.

Culture, as admitted in the article, is an important ingredient in a country brand. But how can we create a brand with a "dysfunctional" culture? Nobody will buy such a brand. We continue to be on top of the most corrupt country in Asia. Not such a good label huh? Who will buy a brand that is equated to undisciplined, litter bugs, unfashionably late, balat sibuyas, mediocre, etc. Who will buy a brand that is low in spirit, low in morale? To create a globally acceptable brand, we need that change in our collective mindset.

We Filipinos are proud of our race. That is undeniable. Just look at how everything comes to a standstill when Pacquiao climbs the boxing ring. The brouhaha created by the "Desperate Housewives" episode showed how we will not take sitting down when it is our collective pride that is hurt. Look at the reactions to Arnel Pineda's selection in the Journey band and the waves that Vincent Bueno is making in Europe. When a Filipino is recognized somewhere, in whatever field, we are quick to say Proud to be Filipino sometimes being interpreted by outsiders as racist remarks. They just don't understand that we are just like that, ganun lang talaga tayo. Quick to say Proud to be Pinoy.

Unfortunately, that pride is us are just temporal spikes, only when good news comes in. Most of the time we sulk in our state of hopelessness and frustration.

So let us create that Philippine brand. Inspire ourselves. Take pride in our race. Show the world the kind of stuff we are made of. Proudly announce to the world, INIIBIG KO ANG PILIPINAS!

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