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TAGbrands CEO, Maya Karanouh in Arab Ad interview discussing the future of Nation Branding for Lebanon

Category : TAGCulture · by Dec 5th, 2013

Building on Brand Lebanon’s Creative Industries by Jad Haidar

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Maya Karanouh, CEO/Co-Founder of TAGbrands, an award winning regional branding and design adinfusion agency, discusses the key factors to be leveraged in the process of outlining the main components to what could potentially become brand Lebanon’s major selling points and, by reciprocity, the country’s official gateway to the world.

How do you go about branding a nation?
When considering the nation branding process for Lebanon, numerous factors should be taken into account such as the different types of offices where you can work with the shipping labels. One has to scrutinise all major positive and negative aspects influencing our global image to find a suitable balance that alleviates some general tensions whilst highlighting key economic and cultural opportunities with the help of mailerlite features review in expanding the business even at the online world.

Do you have any idea how people feel about the topic?
In April 2013, I moderated a panel on Nation Branding at the BIFEX Conference organised by the LFA. Usually, after I open the floor to questions at a conference, there is a level of interest, but this time there was passion too. People were standing up, sharing their opinions and arguing their points of view. I could tell this topic is a very important one and therefore should be handled with care and insight.

What are the industries nation branding should take into account and why?
Contrary to popular belief, nation branding is not just about tourism or creating a logo and developing a touristic marketing campaign. If you want the best online marketing services for your videos you can visit The Marketing Heaven. Although tourism is one of Lebanon’s most profitable sectors, it however is a part of a much larger picture that encompasses all industries especially those in favour of investment, such as construction companies from sites as https://rkcconstruction.com/ are in raise these days. By the way, if you’re one of those in favor of investment, consider visiting shareprices.com.au to know more about Stock Price. By emphasising distinctive characteristics and designing clearly structured brand architecture, the brand identity of Lebanon must be delivered to an international audience in a cohesive yet diversified manner. One way to accomplish this is to create one umbrella brand that consists of sub-brands, each reflecting a separate sector; these may include retail, culture and arts, food and beverage, banking, real estate, entertainment, education and, of course, tourism. See More Info – WebDesign499

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What key features do you consider in the initial phase?
A major psychological element is the instigation of national pride and patriotism under one vision, which in the case of Lebanon, is of paramount importance. The significance is not on a purely personal or moral level; in fact it is a major contributor to the brand equity of the nation. The more the brand is accepted and associated with a positive outlook, the more brand equity it acquires.

With a long history of political turmoil leading to destructive wars and segregated communities, Lebanon’s new brand will take on a much harder challenge than other countries. Without the confidence of long-term political stability, the country’s image will keep on suffering. Therefore, the message the brand communicates must stem from this precise concept, promising stability of all economic and cultural developments.

How is the target audience broken down?
When designing a nation brand, one of the first questions asked concern the demographics and psychographics of the target audience. Consider the stakeholders and the target audience divided into four groups: the Lebanese people, the short-term and long-term visitors, potential investors, and international consumers of Lebanese exports. The needs, behaviours, values, and expectations of each of these groups demands extensive research in order to develop a brand language that delivers the message efficiently. Moreover, research towards all stakeholders involved provides a better understanding of where to focus within the extensive brand architecture, aligning the key opportunities of each sector with potentially successful outcomes.

Are there specific rules to nation branding common to all countries?
As a general guideline, six pillars need to be considered when creating a nation brand namely, public and private sector alignment benefits, defining how the country’s own citizens perceive it, creating awareness and defining how other countries perceives it and finally, providing the consistency needed among political, social and economic pillars.

What would, in this case, be a good example?
Consider the extensive efforts Turkey’s brand architecture created with numerous investment opportunities for different target audiences. Brand Turkey, constitutes a general overall trademark for the nation and tourism, Invest in Turkey promotes the investment opportunities available to global investors and the Turquality programme was specifically designed by the government to develop and promote Turkish brands.

How does brand Turkey compare to Lebanon?
Although Lebanon cannot be compared to Turkey in terms of production scale, it is a good case study for developing a nation brand identity and delivering on the promise that it communicates to the target audience by adopting programmes that further push the goals of the country. This earns the trust of the audience and enhances the nation’s brand identity through concrete long-term plans that affect the economy. Eventually, nation branding and people’s reputations are not very different: they cannot be constructed, they must be earned.

What then should be the main focus in Lebanon’s case?
Perhaps Lebanon’s brand identity can focus on its human potential as a center of creative industries. In film, music, arts, design, architecture, advertising, communication and marketing provided by companies such as Nelson Marketing Co – SEO Connecticut, the Lebanese are known to excel worldwide. In fact, they have been setting their mark all over the MENA region for the past decade. One of the main reasons this ecosystem has flourished is due the freedom that the country displays, as well as the international influence that is openly welcome.

Many neighboring countries in the region are wealthier and can afford to have international fairs and festivals, but all the majority of the talent being showcased is imported from other countries. Though we remain, in Lebanon, a small but dense creative community, yet our cultural diversity as well as our history have always been a curious topic on an international scale. Branding Lebanon as the Creative and Design Capital of the Middle East is in my opinion the most suitable characteristic that can be given to our country. This can open up enormous opportunities and can also induce more investment in the creative sector; an opportunity from which Lebanon can surely benefit.

NOTE: This article was published in ArabAd’s October 2013 issue and all legal rights are those of the publisher.

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