Marina Theodotou

Owner and Managing Director, Curveball Ltd


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Do you think nations ought to/need to rebrand occasionally? If so, how, how often and why?

With globalization and instant information accessibilty it is becoming increasingly difficult for nations to avoid engaging in global issues and the spotlight that comes with that. Do you think that, nations ought to rebrand occassionally? If so, why? How can they do it? How often? What effect, reverbarations can nation rebranding have to the culture, society, innovation, economic growth and standard of living of a country?

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    Apr 8 2011: Maybe nations should cease to exist altogether? (Imagine there's no countries)

    I mean: why identifying with just your local culture that is already mixed up with worldwide influences?
    I understand the tribal thoughts behind it
    And there are a lot of practical problems (mainly caused by people who are dependent on their country-construct)

    But evolving towards a world without borders but regional ways of working around an filling in some universal or regional moral heights... more liberty of movement, with built in buffers and such...
    while enriching the diversity
    It is not unthinkable, and not impossible...
    • Apr 14 2011: I like the specialness of nations. Maybe we could rebadge them as 'tribes' rather than disband altogether? An evolution instead of start again approach. I'm from the tribe called Australian in that case. My tribe did a good job rebranding the wine industry there to great effect (30% rise in sales). (Caveat - other factors as well but lots of Government initiatives to unite the clans internally).
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      Apr 14 2011: Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell issued a similar appeal to the world in 1955, asking people to put nationality and ethnicity aside and see themselves as "members of a biological spieces which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearence none of us desire."

      Still waiting to see that day.
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      Apr 19 2011: Interesting, I wonder if the issue is that nation states are simply too fixed. If we had more flexible means of social advocation, collaberation and organization that played itself out on a global scale that the nation state would simply become less of a relevant as an institution.

      However Canada went through a period of re-branding with the adoption of the Maple Leaf and the Canadian Charter of Rights. I would say re brand when the current branding no longer serves the interests and reflects the realties/priorities of the nation.
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    Apr 7 2011: It's hard to get behind this idea because there is such a fine line between branding and propaganda when you speak of nations. When you talk about branding a nation I can't help thinking of the enormous efforts the Soviets took to present and image of a strong, vibrant nation dedicated to the people while it crumbled and its people suffered.

    National leaders should concern themselves more with being open and honest representatives of their constituents rather than inventing the veneer of a brand. Also, in most nations the focus that a single brand brings to a message generally will not reflect the diversity of business and culture within its borders. If the people of a country feel their nation needs to rebrand, they should try to create real change rather than just a change in the message and packaging.
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    Apr 24 2011: Do you change your core values often because you engage in global issues? I believe not. Core values is what shape us on the long-run. Everything we do and engage in is coherent with our core values. So, on the contrary you need to keep your brand, not rebrand.
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    Apr 22 2011: Branding is sort of like promoting a certain reputation. Abraham Lincoln and John Wooden both wrote on the importance of character over reputation, implying that reputation was an idea but that character was the truth of who you are. Nations should be more concerned with doing things that make them a better nation in reality rather than trying to convince people to view them in a favorable light. In this way they build their character and the reputation will follow in line eventually.
  • Apr 21 2011: I am from china ,my english is not very good ,what is the meaning of rebrand ,is it the the meaning of changing its name?If so, in my opinion ,i don't think nations ought to rebrand ,because the name of a nation represents its majesty,if we change it from time to time ,it may leads to a serious result which international community won't recognize ,and it will continue to deteriorate ,at last ,the country can't not conduct international affairs normally.What do you think?
  • Apr 21 2011: I know this doesn't answer the question, but I wish we could ban the use of brand and rebrand. Brand means name and reputation associated with the name--or it used to. Try using the words deception and advertising instead, which is all it means as it's used now. It's just MBA jargon, another example of management having no relationship to actual work.
  • Apr 20 2011: Interesting question but I have to say I have a problem with applying the term "rebrand" to nations or even people as I've been seeing lately. Lately I've seen articles online saying things like "Rebrand yourself" or "What is your brand?", as if having some allegiance to some flavor of soda or clothing line is a good thing. The term reeks of advertise-speak, which I personally have a natural aversion to. Terms like "War Room", "Think Tank", and "Rebrand" all have certain militaristic/advertisement connotations that I don't celebrate, it's the spirit and energy behind their philosophy that I find distasteful and obnoxious.
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    Apr 19 2011: What an interesting question! I grew up in the UK and have lived in the US for 12 years. Are the brands different? Yes, I think so. Have these brands changed over time? Yes, they have. The US was a pioneering brand, selling huge parcels of prime land for $2.50 per acre. People with a pioneering spirit defined the brand. Now the US brand has evolved into being a world power. The UK had an empire building brand and people aligned to this by moving to far flung corners of the world to create a UK trading brand in the guise of the East India Trading Co. Now the UK is redefining itself as a new brand, I think in the upcoming Olympics we will see a flavor of this brand. So, to answer your question, I think the brand is important and the population should have some say in brand vision. If the population feel engaged there is a chance to make this happen more efficiently.
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    Apr 8 2011: i in new zealand we have this branding that we send out to the world...and on the whole yes we are, mainly due to the lack of population, i do wonder what our poluttion per person / cow is though. we are in need of a re-brand...freshen smarts..arts and sports is our greatest assets....our govt wants to mine resources maybe a rebranding is on the way?
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    Apr 7 2011: Hi Marina!
    I think that is exactly why nations are willing to spend so much money on the Olympics. It is an opportunity to showcase and perhaps rebrand a country.
    • Apr 20 2011: I agree that a country can use the Olympics to showcase their revised brand to the world, but should they be as extravagent as the Chinese did in 2008? Fabricating fireworks to television viewers was one thing; but the government's rumoured attempt to employ arcane methods to move the huge cloud of pollution from the Beijing skyline is a testament to the lengths a country will go to create a perceived new face. Then there is the question of continuity: can a country be completely rebranded by one event, or does the country have the integrity to continue its efforts of rebranding?
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        Apr 20 2011: Hi Julian, you make some interesting points. The strength and the weakness of the Olympics is that it is a snapshot event. With one mighty effort it gives the world a new impression of a country. Like all rebranding efforts it is sometimes far more style than substance.