Hocking countries as products

There are a lot of different factors that go into deciding which country will be the next you visit. In an attempt to influence this decision and direct you towards visiting a place eager for your tourist dollars, many local tourist boards have hired international marketing agencies to package and sell their homeland as though it were just another soft drink or pair of sneakers.

Branding a country is an important step towards identifying it with the things a potential visitor might love. In other words, making it an attractive enough place that an undecided traveler might add it to his itinerary. In some cases, this might mean putting lipstick on a pig, but for the most part it simply means highlighting the positive aspects of a nation that might have otherwise been unknown to the world at large.

Branding countries has become a lucrative advertising niche these days as the battle for tourist dollars continues to heat up. NPR reporter Eric Weiner tackles this interesting concept with a recent interview of marketing guru Sherif Sabri. My favorite part of the article is when Sabri addresses the results of a recent survey indicating that Australia has the best brand. He points towards Crocodile Dundee as the primary cause of such positive feelings towards the Land Down Under. “It’s a magical combination of a great deal of ignorance,” he says, “and a small amount of very positive and probably skewed belief.” Marketers love that type of environment and will capitalize on it every time.