What is your perception of Kenya as a brand? Has this perception been influenced by what you are seeing and experiencing or is it because of the messages and images the media and PR firms have pushed to you? Would you want to have a say in communicating the Kenyan Brand? Kenya is known for a lot of things including Athletics, Culture, Wildlife and others will argue corruption.
Countries employ public relations firms and the techniques of brand marketing to build attractive images for their home nation. It’s nothing new for nations to care about nation branding. However if evidence from the past couple of years is anything to go by, we have witnessed a turning point in the methods different nation states use to manage their reputations. Initially, governments have been hiring public relations firms and apply brand management theories in the domain of corporate communications departments and business-school seminars. However now they are leaning more to the use of digital media for national branding.
Well, it’s nothing new for nations to care about image, but the past ten years show that new branding metrics attempt to quantify the strength of national brands, and the field has seen a real explosion of literature on which branding techniques work and which don’t. Meanwhile, branding efforts have extended beyond the simple efforts at attracting tourism. As seen at the #brandingexpo held in Nairobi on 28th May 2019, Blogging and Social Media is also an invaluable medium for Nation branding.
Countries can now hire firms to help them launch sophisticated branding campaigns through blogging and social media services aimed at luring foreign investment, facilitating trade, improving private-sector competitiveness, or even securing geopolitical influence. Nations have become far more cognizant of the value of their brand as an asset. Understanding valuation helps countries better understand the investments they make in their image. Through digital media, officials from government, nonprofits, and the business world can better collaborate to make sure the messages a country is putting out represents what they view as “the fundamental common purpose” of their country.
Brand Kenya held a meetup with the Bloggers Association of Kenya where the bloggers sought to understand what the organization was doing in terms of supporting Kenya as a brand and local content creation . It was a heated discussion as questions revolving around the credibility of Kenya as a brand were brought to the floor. But, what came out clearly was the fact that, Brand Kenya acknowledged the fact that Kenya as a brand has its own challenges but we need to look at it holistically and understand that brand authenticity acknowledges both the positives and the existing challenges to give a balanced narrative of the brand to the target audience .
Slapping together a couple ideas and a logo is not a good nation branding strategy, when it comes to branding a nation, it’s not enough to simply have a few bullet points of what you want to do. Branding experts suggest dividing the idea of nation branding into six main sub-fields. These are: tourism, exports, governance, people, culture and heritage, and investment and immigration.
This is why you find local events like the Festival on Local Content happening in Kenya. Such events help promote nation branding by helping various country portray their best image to rest of the world.
Brand Kenya together with Trace event also launched the Made in Kenya Festival 2019 in a bid to improve the nations branding. The event which took place in April aimed at instilling the “buy Kenya build Kenya” initiative in Kenyans through patriotism and preference for Kenyan goods and services.
There, producers of Kenyan products interacted with consumers, Music artists also got to showcase their work through the event via platform developed by brand Kenya. All this was covered by various Kenyan bloggers and social media activists which helped showcase the Kenyan brand to the rest of the country. By doing this, they helped create a network on Kenyan bloggers who can also be part of our online brand ambassadors.
A truly incredible nation branding strategy needs to be shaped, molded, and cultivated over time, not just in the logos designed and the national website build (.go.ke), but also in the things said and done. Every word you post online, and every aspect of your brand marketing campaigns have the power to either build or reduce a nation to ruins.
You just don’t tell the world that you are a super nation, prove to them that you are. Just like in any other branding strategy, Your content should be relevant for your audience in the first place before you create it. Find out who your audience is, then get to know them, ask them what they want and then find a happy middle ground.