Greece needs to be re-branded. OK, so we need a new logo, don’t we? Nope. No way. Nation branding is about prompting other people’s perceptions about a country to change, not through sleek advertising, but through policy-making. In short: it’s about tackling the issues, not about making claims.
Tackling the issues. Yeah, right. But doing it in an way that attracts the media, whether because it is innovative or creative, or because it follows recent news widely reported about that issue.
Here are two examples on how to outcast a couple of stereotypes which haunt Greece today:
Problem #1: Greece is perceived to be backward.
Solution: Make programming a compulsory subject in schools.
In the digital age, programming is a basic skill as much as knowing English is. Furthermore, in the future it’ll a fundamental tool for personal freedom as it grants the ability to achieve things in full independence. All Greeks should know ancient Greek, modern Greek, English (they already do all of these things by now) but also some programmming language as well. This would signal Greece’s intention to finally leave the past behind and conquer the future in a very expressive way.
Problem #2: Greece is perceived to be a haven for tax fraudsters.
Solution: Forbid cash.
Illegal funding, robbery, money laundering, bribery, the informal economy and of course income-based tax fraud would be much harder or would entirely miss their point if cash were forbidden. And Greece needs to offsite all of these plagues. This would signal that Greece bets on being fraud-free, clean business-friendly and yes, also very modern and digital.
By the way, Greece is now in the limelight, and incidents of all sorts happening in the country often hit headlines across the world – headlines unimaginable just three years ago. Even relatively small stories get great coverage, from a pensioner’s suicide hitting the BBC’s frontpage to the rise of the Greek neo-Nazis deserving a video-report on the New York Times.
Most likely, the two examples mentioned above would also hit global headlines. And a large number of initiatives of this sort, provided that they are real of course, would eventually prompt people to change their minds about Greece. The trick is in providing an overwhelming number of evidences about a Greece in permanent and deep change from the ground up so that even the most reluctant type would eventually change his mind about the country.
It’s all about proving, proving, proving. By fact, by fact, by fact. And, rest assured, this is the only nation-branding that really works.