"Hello, we’re Brazil. And more than a developing nation, we’re a nation in motion."
Pelé, arguably the greatest footballer of all time, once said words to the effect: “Don’t ever say you’re the best. Let others say that about you.” His words apply to great brands, too—if a brand is truly authentic and inspiring, consumers will let you know each other.
We all agree that brands must have a well-defined proposition. But is that feasible for a country brand? What are the social, political, and economic implications of a brand that must represent the economic realities (and dreams) of a nation and its people?
Nation branding, just like nation building, is never easy. First, it needs to create a unique experience, reveal and communicate all the opportunities it offers, and generate global awareness in order to attract investment. Additionally, a country brand must promote a sense of belonging. After all, citizens become brand ambassadors. More than helping the country develop, its people help strengthen the political and cultural influence of a nation.
The five principles for building a strong nation brand include:
1. Know who it’s for and why it exists.
2. Define its positioning.
3. Plan how it will deliver on that promise.
4. Consider all audiences.
5. Understand, monitor, and manage the brand.
The Brazil brand
Brazil now has a national brand, one created by the government in order to attract international trade and visitors. Today, the new national logo is found in most federal initiatives, international events and advertising, particularly related to tourism initiatives such as VisitBrasil.com. As the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics approach, we often see the Brazil brand associated with sports, but Brazil’s new brand identity is clearly designed to promote tourism, reinforced by taglines like “Sensational!” and “Celebrate life here.”
It is always crucial for a country brand to target tourists, especially for a nation like Brazil that is famous for its natural beauty and friendly, welcoming residents. However, it is just as important to consider whether this economic focus is limiting a country’s brand strength to one sector only. The danger is that we place all our eggs in one basket: travel and tourism. Brazil’s national brand must bring our nation’s other attributes to life, thus connecting our brand to different audiences.
The Brazil we all want
We believe it is possible to meet the needs of all three audiences through strategic branding.
A country of contrasts and diversity
Brazil is a melting pot, a nation of contrasts. In fact, our power and collective strength is born from this diversity. While 60 percent of our GDP comes from cities, some of our most impressive sources of prosperity are found in rural areas. For example, Brazil is the world’s leading exporter of soybeans, coffee, meat, orange juice, and ethanol.
The best example of Brazil’s diversity is the Brazilian people, who display some of the finest attributes of those who have emerged from a heterogeneous cultural mix and weathered challenging times with inventiveness, optimism, and efficiency:
What defines us
Brazilians have a youthful, “can do” spirit and are open to new experiences. Digitally engaged, we share not only our opinions, but also our eagerness for change. When we take to the streets to protest, we’re not just airing grievances, we’re showing that we care and believe in creating and sustaining the beautiful, prosperous, more equitable Brazil we all want to inhabit.
As citizens of this vibrant nation, we are doing our part to make things happen. We’re bold and committed, and share an entrepreneurial zeal to make Brazil even greater—at home and abroad. And no matter what, we will always keep our ginga, our creativity, and passion. After all, this is what keeps us moving forward.
Hello, we’re Brazil. And more than a developing nation, we’re a nation in motion.
We’re a world inside a nation and a nation ready for the world. If you ask for our opinion, we’ll tell you with all our honesty and assurance. This is who we are. We bring together ginga, intelligence and creativity. And in this mix of assets, we find the ideas that give us our voice and confidence.
We live and learn from contrasts: We travel from urban to rural areas, we listen to bossa nova and funk, we go from pop to experimental. For us, life is about finding harmony and balance. If Brazil is a melting pot, we love to add all the seasonings and inspiration we have.
The good news is that we’re making things happen. And we say that not only as enthusiastic and charismatic Brazilians, but also as the world’s sixth biggest economic power. We like hugging, talking to strangers, and then turning strangers into friends. After all, this is our way of learning, experiencing, and developing life-long bonds.
We believe only the bold and the thoughtful can change things. So we naturally congregate in the streets, agitating for change, but don’t be afraid. We’re just promoting new ways of thinking and a positive attitude towards the future. All we want is to move Brazil and the world forward.
Amidst our incessant drumbeats and capoeira moves, we find invigorating ideas and incredible investments. Our potential lies beyond caipirinhas, one-note sambas and World Cup goals. Today, we’re the world’s largest exporter of coffee, soybeans, chicken, sugar, orange juice, ethanol, and tobacco. At the same time, our technology flies high inside Brazilian-made aircrafts. As for our people, we are naturally engaged, culturally effervescent, and globally aware.
In the land of optimism and long-lasting friendships, get ready to hug, make friends and discover a different Brazil: A Brazil in motion.
Interbrand London Regional Director Michael Benson
on country branding
1. What are the main challenges faced when creating a nation brand?
Coordinating stakeholders is definitely the most difficult thing. In order to deliver a brand experience, multiple organizations must follow the same brand strategy—even when each has its own goals and ambitions. Politicians are always willing to communicate new initiatives, but delivering on this promise in the long-term is never easy. Proof-points take years to come about. As such, the project must conciliate long-term goals with long-term reality.
2. Many country brands are built around tourism only, as destination brands. What are the advantages and risks of this strategy?
This approach works for attracting tourism and investment. If what is promised is delivered, you can build positive perceptions and a great brand experience. Word of mouth also helps, as people will naturally talk to others about what they liked: geography, weather, hospitality, and music, etc. That alone may be enough if you already have a consistent and comprehensive brand strategy. The risk, however, is that it builds a very superficial brand perception. What other attributes does the brand want to communicate, for example, for in-ward investment? Moreover, how relevant or inspiring is this approach for the nation’s citizens? All of these are factors that must be, thoughtfully and strategically, taken into consideration.