Some of you know that I have had the BrandingGreece.com project since 2002. It was probably one of the very earliest websites, if not the first one, to focus the theory and practice of nation-branding to a particular country.
It has had a big influence back then and after a while it helped ignite similar websites in fellow Balkan countries like BrandingSerbia.com (now defunct) and BrandingRomania.com (now a blog called BrandingRomania.info), among others.
That was about 10 years ago, when the idea that a nation could be branded was a novelty. As an illustrative example, Wally Olins, the reputed country branding expert, only wrote his seminal essay ‘Branding the Nation’ in 2003.
But back to Greece. In 2002 I had the inner feeling that Greece’s image was lightweight and weak – it was only strong at the facets of tourism and culture (and by culture it was more the one made 2,000 years ago than the one being made now), and that Greece had to take hold of its reputation and manage it (as mu
But back then the country’s economy was booming. It had joined the Euro, it was going to celebrate the Olympics and in two years time it would win the Euro football cup. With this zeitgeist, someone saying that Greece was in a need of managing its national image was like preaching in the desert.
As usual, many people only react when things explote in your face. And it has happened now with the sovereign debt crisis.
So now, almost 10 years later, Greece begins to show some signal that it is increasingly aware about the importance of a country’s, reputation. And one of the first signals is this congress.
Not that I don’t like the congress – I’ve waited for it for many years. I even launched a website with my own money in 2002 so that there would be a debate about these things. It’s just that it should have been done in 2003, 2004 or even 2005, not in 2011. But better off late than never, of course.
The Hellenic Management Association, also known as EEDE, recently celebrated the 11th International Aristoteli Conference in Thessaloniki.
One of the congress’ main topics was ‘Re-Branding Greece’. There have been many videos, most of them by Greek-speaking keynoters, but some speeches were delivered in English, this one by Cathrine Kay:
And this one by Sun Liwei:
And in Greek: