The European Union, Which brand image?


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The European Union, Which brand image?

  1. 1.               THE  EUROPEAN  UNION     Which  brand  image?                               Pierre  Hagen  –  Cristina  Nicoleta  Burcă  1    
  2. 2.  Contents    Preface  ....................................................................................................................................................  3  I.   One  image  for  a  brand?  One  image  for  a  country?   .........................................................................  4  II.   A  positive  and  strong  brand  image:  an  identity  for  Europe  ............................................................  6  III.        Assessment  of  the  EU’s  brand  image  ..............................................................................................  7  IV.      The  European  Union:  which  brand  image?  ....................................................................................  11  V.   Three  countries,  three  brand  images:  China,  USA,  Switzerland   ....................................................  12  VI.        EU’s  objective  values:  Geography,  History  and  Capital  .................................................................  18  VII.      EU’s  attributive  and  associative  values  .........................................................................................  22  VIII.    Necessity  of  choosing  well  its  message  transmitters  ....................................................................  25  IX.        European  President:  what  associative  values?  .............................................................................  28  In  conclusion  .........................................................................................................................................  32                          2    
  3. 3.  Preface    National   brand   image   has   become   an   important   criteria   to   differentiate   countries   on   the  international   stage.   It   influences   the   ranking   of   nations   worldwide,   in   particular   as   regards  their   reputation   -­‐   positive   or   negative.   The   way   a   country   is   perceived   can   make   a   critical  difference  to  the  success  of  its  business,  trade  and  tourism  efforts,  as  well  as  its  diplomatic  and  cultural  relations  with  other  nations.  In   case   of   products,   the   success   of   the   brands   –   its   «Success   Story»   –   is   built   around   the  image   that   they   have   developed.   The   success   of   this   image   could   be   extrapolated   to   the  success  of  the  national  brand,  like  the  USA,  China  or  Switzerland.  Therefore,  building  a  positive  brand  image  or  reinforcing  the  existing  one  (rebranding)  has  become   an   outmost   necessity.   Setting   objectives   for   the   elements   that   create   the   brand  identity  of  Europe  is  a  real  opportunity.    Its   history   and   values   are   top   assets   that   give   Europe   all   the   chances   of   succeeding   in  (re)building  its  image.    It  is  beyond  doubt  the  Europe’s  «Success  Story»  that  will  empower  the  European  Union  to  (re)build  its  image  –  its  brand  image.                      3    
  4. 4. I. One  image  for  a  brand?  One  image  for  a  country?      It  is  impossible  to  think  of  a  product  without  attaching  a  name  to  it,  a  brand   –  the  image  that  it  has  developed.  It  is  the  same  for  a  country;  anyone  of  us  attaches  the  image  that  corresponds  to  it.    This  image  is  being  built  continuously,  through  the  messages  that  it  communicates.  The  image  of  a  person,  of  a  product,  of  a  country,  they  are  all  being  built  every  day.  Consciously  or  not,  the  brand  image  finds  its  roots  in  the  history  and  in  the  differences  that  sets  it  apart.    Adapting  or  not  to  changes,  succeeding  or  not,  they  are  all  elements  that  contribute  to  the  creation  of  a  brand  image,  of  a  powerful  or  not  «Success  Story».    However,   a   brand   is   slowly   vanishing   if   it   does   not   adapt   to   changes   around   it.   How   many   brands  have  we  come  across  in  the  last  twenty  years?  How  many  and  which  of  them  have  survived?  It  is  only  the   ones   that   have   embraced   the   change   (such   as   Chanel,   Porsche,   etc.).   The   other   ones   have  disappeared   or   have   been   replaced   by   new   ones   that   would,   most   certainly,   have   the   same   fate.  Unless,   they   continuously   work   on   their   image   and   have   in   mind   the   fact   that   competition   is   a  permanent  reality  for  nations,  as  it  is  for  the  big  corporations.    Usually  what  makes  the  difference  is  the  existence  or  not  of  a  «Success  Story»  linked  to  the  brand.    Sometimes  a  brand  can  be  so  present  and  powerful  that  it  coincides  with  the  product,  to  the  extent  that   it   becomes   a   generic   term.   A   McDonald   or   a   Quick   for   a   hamburger,   a   Jeep   for   a   4X4,   a   Bic   for   a  ball  point  pen,  an  Esquimau  for  a  chocolate  covered  ice  cream  bar,  a  K-­‐way,  a  Thermos  or  a  Caddie.    Sometimes  a  brand  lasts  over  time  and  is  part  of  our  daily  associations  (Chanel,  Citroën,  Airbus,  Coca  Cola,  Marlboro,  Mars,  Lu,  Lacoste,  Kellog’s,  etc.).    Brands  are,  therefore,  part  of  our  everyday  life  consciously,  but  most  often  unconsciously:  they  are  often   associated   to   an   image   –   in   general   positive.   Big   brands   and   implicitly   the   products   to   which  they  gave  their  names  last  over  time.    In   case   of   countries,   it’s   their   History   which   supports   them   in   building   an   image   that   reflects   their  values.    Be   they   small,   like   Switzerland,   or   big,   such   as   the   USA   or   China,   their   national   brands   are   built   in  different  ways  and  through  different  spans  of  time:    over  the  last  two  centuries  for  the  USA,  over  the  last  thirty  years  for  China  and  over  time,  in  general,  for  Switzerland,    Each   country   has   its   own   image   –   like   a   DNA   –   that   gives   it   a   certain   ranking   on   the   international  stage.  It  gives  a  certain  colour  to  the  country,  reflecting  all  its  social,  economic,  political  aspects.    Having   an   international   ranking   means   having   an   international   reputation.   And   this   is   being   built  through  the  values  and  differences  that  the  country  holds.  Reputation  expands  through  the  nation’s  capacity   to   do   so,   but   sometimes,   also   through   the   weakness   of   other   nations:   it   is   never   a  4    
  5. 5. permanent   state,   but   in   a     continuous   evolution   and   it   survives   only   if   the   country     adapts   its  communication  to  the  global  changes.    Actually,  brand  image  decreases  rapidly  when  communication  is  slow  or  unclear.    For  the  European  Union,  the  slowness  in  responses  and  the  diversity  of  speeches  during  the  August  2011  crisis  led  to  blurring  its  image.  Only  by  adapting  its  messages  to  the  changes  and  to  the  others  will   allow   Europe   to   achieve   a   clear   brand   image   and   a   clear   place   on   the   international   ranking.  Adaptation  to  the  others  –  especially  to  the  emerging  countries  and  their  growing  economic  powers  –   will   offer   the   possibility   to   build   a   strong   and   positive   brand   image,   based   on   the   identity   of   the  brand  “European  Union”.        5    
  6. 6. II. A  positive  and  strong  brand  image:  an  identity  for   Europe      A   strong   brand   image   gives   the   ability   to   compete   with   other   national   powers   and   to  position  oneself  on  the  international  stage.      A  positive  brand  image  is  a  crucial  necessity  for  nations.  It’s  a  response  to  the  ones  that  have  already  built   their   national   brand   and   keep   on   developing   it.   Emerging   nations,   such   as   Brazil,   India   or   China,  have  well  understood  it.    Building  –  or  rebuilding  –  a  brand  image  can  be  done  in  three  stages:     - Image  assessment   - A  «Success  Story»   - Communication  plan.    6    
  7. 7. III. Assessment  of  the  EU’s  brand  image     Assessing  EU’s  image  starts  with  assessing  EU’s  ranking  in  the  Nation  Brands  Index  for  the  last  couple   of  years  (2008/2009/2010/2011)1  and  identifying  the  countries’  standings  over  time.     2008 2009 2010 20111. Germany United States (+6) United States (=) United States (=)2. France France (=) Germany (+1) Germany (=)3. United Kingdom Germany (-2) France (-1) United Kingdom (+1)4. Canada United Kingdom (-1) United Kingdom (=) France (-1)5. Japan Japan (=) Japan (=) Japan (=)6. Italy Italy (=) Canada (+1) Canada (=)7. United States Canada (-3) Italy (-1) Italy (=)8. Switzerland Switzerland (=) Switzerland (=) Australia (+1)9. Australia Australia (=) Australia (=) Switzerland (-1)10. Sweden Spain, Sweden (=) Sweden (=) Sweden (=)18. Finland Belgium (+2)   The  index  shows  several  significant  evolutions:   USA:   After   an   important   shift   from   the   7th   place   in   2008   to   the   1st   one   in   2009,   the United States continues to lead the world in global image for the last three years. Is   this   important   rise   in   global   ranking   linked   to   the   personality   or   image  of  Barack  Obama?     France:   Fall  from  the  2nd  place  (in  2008  and  2009)  to  the  3rd  (2010)  and  respectively   4th  place  in  2011.                                                                                                                           1  Source:  Anholt-­‐Gfk  Roper  Nation  Brands  Index™.  Based  on  surveys  in  20  developed  and  developing  countries,   the   Anholt-­‐GfK   Roper   Nation   Brands   Index   (released   since   2005)   measures   the   power   and   quality   of   50   countries  brand  image  by  combining  the  following  six  dimensions:  exports,  governance,  culture  and  heritage,   people,  tourism  and  investment  and  immigration.     7    
  8. 8. Germany:   Kept  its  ranking  in  top  3  worldwide:  after  a  fall  of  two  positions,  from  the  top   leading   country   in   2008   to   the   3rd   one   in   2009,   Germany   revives   to   the   2nd   place  in  2010  and  holds  the  position  in  2011.  United  kingdom:   Shift  from  the  3rd  place  (2008)  to  the  4th  one  (2009  and  2010)  and  back  to  the   3rd  in  2011.  Italy:   Fall  from  the  6th  place  to  the  7th  one  in  2010  and  2011.        Among   the   first   four   big   European   countries   present   in   the   index   only   Germany   and   United   Kingdom  moved   up   in   the   world   ranking.  We   could   therefore   question   whether   the   brand   image   of   a   nation   is  linked  to  the  personality  or  to  the  brand  image  of  its  leaders.  Does  the  Nation  Brand  Index  show  any  stability?  Yes.  Japan   (5th)   and   Sweden   (10th).   These   countries   hold   the   same   position   over   the   last   four   years.   Is  this  stability  linked  to  a  weak  personalisation  of  power?      As  regards  the  developing  nations  –  Brazil,  China,  India  –  ranked  beyond  the  20th  in  2008,  recorded    significant  gains  during  the  last  four  years.    However,  in  the  light  of  this  index,  a  conclusive  statement  shows  up:  the  European  Union  does  not  appear  as  a  general  entity.  And,  consequently,  it  is  not  seen  as  a  nation  brand  on  the  world  stage.    Or,   if   an   index   can   clarify   the   assessment   of   nation   brands,   the   absence   of   the   European   Union   as   an  entity  –  while  being  the  world  leader  in  terms  of  GDP  (17,9  mil  $)  before  the  USA  (15,06  mil  $)2  –  is  also  a  conclusive  evidence.    Exactly  as  a  virtual  group  lacking  any  links  to  reality,  which  shows  its  limits  sooner  or  later.  The  virtual  tool   Facebook,   for   instance,   has   understood   this     and,   therefore,   passed   rapidly   to   real   field  operations.  The  humanoid  robot  of  Honda,  Asimo,  has  also  become  an  example  of  conviviality  and  of  shift  from  the  virtual  to  the  real  world,  by  shaking  the  hands  of  various  heads  of  states.  These  two  examples   –   Facebook   and   Asimo   –   which   success   among   the   public   had   no   precedent,   prove   the  necessity  to  go  out  of  a  virtual,  self-­‐contained  world,  which  lost  the  contact  with  the  real  world.      In  case  of  the  European  Union,  don’t  we  face  the  same  problem:  shifting  from  the  virtual  to  the  real  world  in  order  to  revitalise  the  European  sentiment?                                                                                                                            2  Source  :  International  Monetary  Fund  –  2011  data;    8    
  9. 9. The  European  civil  servants  They  have  clearly  expressed  the  need  of  a  pragmatic  approach  of  the  European  Union,  as  revealed  by  a  recent  survey3.    At  the  question:  “What  possible  measures  to  revitalise  the  European  sentiment?”  82%  answer:  “common  position  on  foreign  policies”.    European   Union   should   adopt   more   coherent   positions  on   international   conflicts   such   as   those  recently  in  North  Africa.      At  the  question:  “The  European  sentiment;  Rise  or  fall?”  62%  admit  that  there  is  a  negative  evolution.    The  European  citizens  When  assessing  Europe’s  brand  image,  the  opinions  of  its  citizens  are  a  salient  point.  The  following  list4   covers   several   areas   on   which   the   European   Union   should   work   in   order   to   improve   the  European  integration  sentiment  among  its  citizens.            ‘Freedom   to   travel,   study   and   work   within   the   EU’   is   at   the   top   of   associations   with   the   EU   (45%),  ahead   of   the   ‘euro’   (38%).   They   are   followed   by:   ‘waste   of   money’   (24%),   ‘peace’   (22%),   ‘an  important  voice  in  the  world’  (21%),  ‘bureaucracy’  (21%).        The   list   is   interesting   to   be   analyzed.   Particularly   it   concerns   the   image   of   the   EU,   as   seen   by   its  citizens:   democracy   is,   for   example,   associated   with   the   EU   by   1   in   5   Europeans,   a   fall   by   3   points  since  spring  2010.      For  both  European  civil  servants  and  European  citizens,  the  brand  image  assessment  of  the  European  Union  is  clear:  - An  Europe  associated  mostly  with  negative  aspects   Ø Waste  of  money  (24%)   Ø Bureaucracy  (21%)   Ø Unemployment  (14%)   Ø Not  so  much  democracy  (20%),  nor  peace  (22%)  - An  Europe  which  “doesn’t  listen  to  its  citizens»5   Ø Barely  3  in  10  Europeans  fell  their  voice  counts  in  the  EU.                                                                                                                            3   Survey   realised   for   the   Foundation   for   European   Progressive   Studies   (FEPS),   July   2011,   among   231   EU   civil  servants.    4    Source  :  Eurobarometer  75,  spring  2011  (Public  opinion  in  the  European  Union);  5    EB  75  (QA21a.2-­‐4  :  ‘My  voice  counts  in  the  EU’  :  30%  tend  to  agree,  62%  tend  to  disagree,  8%  don’t  know).  9    
  10. 10. - An  Europe  misunderstood  in  its  way  of  functioning6   Ø Almost  one  in  two  Europeans  does  not  understand  how  the  EU  works.    - An  Europe  which  doesn’t  inform  enough  its  citizens7   Ø 7  in  10  Europeans  don’t  feel  well  informed  about  the  European  matters.  - An  Europe  with  less  and  less  accredited  journalists8   (to  inform  more  than  500  million  Europeans  and  the  rest  of  the  world)   Ø 1300  in  2005   Ø 752  in  2010  - An  Europe  with  a  single  European  media  (EuroparlTV)   Ø Available  only  online   Ø 900   TV   viewers   per   day   on   average,   for   500   million   citizens;   that   is   1   in   500.000   Europeans  9      - An  Europe  without  a  strong  identity10   Ø 3   in   5   Europeans   think   of   themselves   as   citizens   of   the   EU,   but   less   than   a   quarter   is   definitely  sure  about  that  (23%).    Associated   with   negative   aspects,   not   listening   to   its   citizens   and   not   informing   them   enough,  misunderstood   in   the   way   it   works,   with   less   and   less   accredited   journalist   and   only   one   European  media,  Europe’s  image  reveals  as  rather  negative  from  this  assessment.                                                                                                                            6    EB  75  (QA21a.1.:  ‘I  understand  how  the  EU  works’:  45%  tend  to  agree;  49%  tend  to  disagree;  6%  don’t  know).  7   EB   74,   autumn   2010   (QD2  :   two   thirds   of   Europeans,   66%,   don’t   fell   informed   about   European   matters,   while  32%  feel  well  informed).  8    Source  :  International  Press  Organisation  ;  www.api-­‐    9    Source:  Draft  report,  Committee  of  Budgetary  Control,  European  Parliament,  3  February  2011.  10  EB  75  (QD4:  ‘You  feel  you  are  a  citizen  of  the  EU’  :  total  Yes  -­‐  62%  ;  total  No  –  36%;  ‘Yes,  definitely’  –  23%  ).  10    
  11. 11. IV. The  European  Union:  which  brand  image?    The   ambiguity   of   the   EU   image   problem   is   that   every   member   state   out   of   the   27   builds   its   own  image.   And   further   on,   inside   the   countries,   regions,   communities,   cantons,   towns   etc.,   they   develop  their   image   very   often.   At   every   level   of   power,   everyone   tries   to   make   a   difference   and   gain   its  reputation.  This  state  of  play  would  not  be  a  problem  if  the  EU  was  the  common  denominator.    The  USA,  with  its  50  states,  has  shown  that  a  global  image  can  cover  the  differences.  This  Union  of  all  its   States   is   reinforced   by   a   single   spokesperson,   the   President   of   the   United   States:   he   is   the  common  denominator  which  supports  the  brand  image  of  the  entire  nation.    On  the  contrary,  in  case  of  the  European  Union,  the  image  role  of  a  spokesperson  as  well  as  his/her  mission   as   common   denominator   are   not   clearly   defined.     Moreover,   this   function   seems   to   be  bypassed  by  the  big  nations  which  have  a  historical  role   in  the  development  of  the  European  Union.  Aren’t   we   hearing   more   often   about   Nicolas   Sarkozy   and   Angela   Merkel   than   about   Herman   Van  Rompuy?  Therefore,  we  could  ask  ourselves  whether  the  European  Union  is  identified  or  distinguished  under  these   circumstances:   it   seems   sometimes   drowned   in   the   vagueness,   due   to   the   slowness   of  responses  and  the  depersonalisation  of  power.  Developing  the  European  brand  image  rises  as  a  clear  question  for  our  leaders.  And  real  capacities  of  doing  it  exist.  The  EU  can  actually  rely  on  its  objective  values,  such  as  its  geography  or  its  history.  It  can  also  rely  on  its  attributive  values  developed  over  time.  All  together,  these  values  –  objective  and  attributive  –  give  to  the  European  Union  the  means  of  an  authentic  «Success  Story»,  the  key  of  building  its  brand  image.      While   there   are   plenty   of   success   stories   worldwide,   nations   –   big   or   small   –   devote   resources   which  differ  quite  often.  Three  examples  of  nation  branding:  China,  USA  and  Switzerland.      11    
  12. 12. V. Three   countries,   three   brand   images:   China,   USA,   Switzerland    Country   brand   image   can   be   analysed   through   three   concrete   examples   -­‐     a   small   country   :  Switzerland;   two   big   countries:     the   USA   and   China   –   by   considering   three   non-­‐restrictive   criteria:  geography,  history,  nation  branding  process.      Three  ways  to  communicate  a  brand  image     CHINA   USA   SWITZERLAND  Surface11   9.64  mil  km2     9.63  mil  km2     41.290  km2   (2nd  place  in  the  world)   (3rd  place  in  the  world)   (132nd  place  in  the  world)  State  creation     221  BC   1777   1848   (foundation   of   a   united   (creation  of  the  USA  as  a   (creation   of   the   Swiss   empire   within   China,   confederation   of   states;     Confederation;   adoption   of   under  the  Qin  dynasty)   adoption   of   the   Articles   the   Swiss   Federal   of   Confederation   by   the   Constitution)     13  founding  states)  Nation  branding   Fast     Fast   Slow  process   13 (since  2008  –     (rebuilding  since  2008 )   (since  2001  –     12 The  Olympic  Games  )   creation  of  PRESENCE   14 SWITZERLAND ,    governmental   organisation  in  charge  of  the   nation  brand  image  abroad)    It   can   be   seen   that   being   small   or   big,   or   having   a   long   or   short   history   as   a   state,   are   not   in  themselves  decisive  criteria  of  building  the  nation  brand  image.                                                                                                                            11  Source  :  Statistiques  mondiales  (http://www.statistiques-­‐  12  According  to  the  Anholt-­‐GfK  Roper  Nation  Brand  Index  13  According  to  the  Anholt-­‐GfK  Roper  Nation  Brand  Index    14  Source  :  Presence  Switzerland  on  http://www.image-­‐    12    
  13. 13. 1. China    The   recent   events   organised   in   China   -­‐     Shanghai   World   Expo   2010,   Beijing   2008   Olympic   Games   –  stand   as   proof   of   exemplary   success   stories   of   event   organisation   and   country   image   promotion.  Although  a  fast  nation  branding  finds  its  roots  in  the  historical  past  of  the  nation,  the  main  focus  is  on  the   success   of   its   present   and,   among   others,   on   the   organisation   of   big   events   with   global   media  coverage.    This  refers  to  the  importance  of  the  event  communication  when  building  a  nation  brand  image.  It  should,  therefore,  be  taken  into  account  when  developing  the  communication  plan.    Shanghai   World   Expo   and   Beijing   Olympic   Games   are   structured   as   events,   or   as   a   multitude   of  events.  The  2008  Olympic  Games    show,  for  instance,  that  the  successful  organisation  and  its  global  visibility   are   major   factors   in   developing   a   positive   brand   image   for   China.  For   the   Olympic   Games,  succeeding   –   inter   alia,   in   16   days,   bringing   together   204   countries,   more   than   11.000   athletes   and   2  million  spectators15    -­‐  to  stay  within  a  fixed  budget  and  to  reap  financial  profits  (non-­‐contested),  is  a  major  achievement  for  any  country,  especially  if  its  development  is  recent.    However,   aside   from   this   economic   performance,   it’s   the   media   coverage   in   terms   of   image   that  should   be   commended.   The   strategy   developed   for   the   brand   “China”,   during   the   Beijing   Olympic  Games,    is  not  arbitrary.  Many  elements  have  contributed  to  it,  such  as  the  slogan  “One  world,  one  dream”,  the  mascot  for  visibility,  the  anthem  etc.      China   has   therefore   implemented   –   through   the   Beijing   2008   Olympic   Games   and   the   Shanghai  World   Expo   2010   –   a   specific   strategy   of   brand   image,   which   brought   an   enormous   success   due   to  the  global,  outstanding,  media  coverage.                                                                                                                            15  Source  :    13    
  14. 14. 2. USA    The  «Success  Story»  of  the  candidate  Obama  contributed  significantly  to  his  election  in  2008,  and  the  usage   of   the   event   communication   through   meetings   played   a   major   role.   Moreover,   the   electoral  campaign  run  helped  to  gradually  give  a  new  image  to  the  country,  different  than  the  one  given  by  his   predecessors.   The   personalisation   of   the   new   image   developed   by   the   successor   of   George   W.  Bush   was   decisive   for   his   election.   It   has   also   contributed   to   the   global   image   of   the   country,   via   a  media  coverage  without  precedent.  It   needs   to   be   recognised   that   these   two   administrations,   Obama   and   Bush,   have   two   different  visions  of  governing:    Obama  administration  proposed  a  rigorous,  open  debate  on  all  issues,  promoting  different  opinions.    Bush  administration  was  proposing  consensus.      The  choice  of  the  spokesperson  and  his  personal  aura  play  also  an  important  role.    The  electors  were  not   mistaken,   and   therefore   this   personal     «Success   Story»   -­‐     Obama   –   allowed   to   revive   the   belief   in  a  nation  «Success  Story».    However,   what   is   without   any   doubt   the   most   remarkable   about   this,   is   the     number   of   persons   who  formed  the  team  of  Obama:    three  –  not  more  -­‐    ensured  the  management,  built  the  strategy  and  led  the  communication  campaign  in  2007  and  2008.    The  same  goes  for  2012:  the  number  stays  unchanged  for  the  forthcoming  presidential  elections.                      14    
  15. 15. The  electoral  campaign     Electoral  campaign  2008   Electoral  campaign  2012   ONE  TEAM  –  3  PERSONS   ONE  TEAM  –  3  PERSONS   1. David  Plouffe  –  Campaign  manager   1. Jim  Messina  –  Campaign  manager   2. David  Axelrod  –  Strategist   2. David  Plouffe  -­‐  Strategist   3. Robert  Gibbs  –  Communication  manager     3. Robert  Gibbs  –  Communication  manager        It  is  therefore  possible  to  succeed  with  a  small,  complementary  team,  motivated  and  efficient,  which  gives  the  right  answers  on  the  communication  strategy  involved  in  an  electoral  campaign.    Obama’s  team  has  built  the  image  of  the  future  president  during  the  whole  campaign,  through  many  meetings  which  made  that  the  «Success  Story»    of  a  man  become  the  «Success  Story»  of  the  entire  US   nation.   The   abilities   of   adaptation   and   response   to   changes   have   been   direct   and   omnipresent.  Without   any   complex,   clumsy   speech   or   action,   which   are   incompatible   with   the   citizens’  expectations:  a  clear  answer  to  their  questions  and  expectations.          15    
  16. 16. 3. Switzerland      Switzerland’s   brand   -­‐   slow   but   steady   building   process   -­‐     is   based   on   3   elements:   the  accomplishments,  the  values  and  the  appearances16:  The  Accomplishments:  its  stability,  associated  by  everyone  with  the  country,  but  also  its  corollary:  a  secure  future  and  the  impression  of  equilibrium  that  emerges.  It  is  not  surprisingly  that  Switzerland  is  a   renowned   international   hub,   which   future   is   reassured   by   the   self-­‐determination   of   the   Swiss  people  to  shape  their  country  over  time.  The  permanent  concern  for  efficiency    gives  to  Switzerland  the  image  of  a  nation  with  many  accomplishments.  The   Values   that   built   Switzerland   over   time   are   based   on   the   authenticity   of   the   country   which   gives  credibility   and   a   discrete   superiority.   The   openness   to   the   others   and   the   positive   curiosity   –   proof   of  freshness,  according  to  the  analyses  –  make  Swiss  values  trustworthy.        The  Appearances    -­‐  in  the  positive  sense  of  the  term  –  are  what  the  country  shows:  a  beautiful  alpine  habitat,   a   kind   people   and   a   Swiss   cross   on   its   flag/   logo,   which   inspired   the   Red   Cross   –   another  positive  entity  –  by  switching  the  colours.                                                                                                                                  16  Source  :  Presence  Switzerland’s  webpage/  Brand  Switzerland  :  http://www.image-­‐    16    
  17. 17. Nation  brand  image  is  therefore  being  built  differently  every  time,  but  always  around  a  «Success  Story».   - For  the  USA:  one  of  a  person:  President  Obama;   - For  China:  one  of  its  accomplishments,  largely  covered  by  the  media:  the  Olympic  Games  and   the  Shanghai  Expo;   - For  Switzerland:  one  of  the  country’s  personality  developed  over  time.        For  the  European  Union  the  ideal  would  be  to  put  together  all  these  three  elements.      However  a  good  start  would  be  to  analyse  what  already  exists.  For  example  identifying  the  values  –  objective  and  attributive  –  that  the  EU  has  in  order  to  build  its  own  «Success  Story».  17    
  18. 18. VI. EU’s  objective  values:  Geography,  History  and  Capital    EU’s   geography,   a   space   for   500   million   Europeans,   EU’s   history   covering   already  three   generations,   EU’s   capital   –   Brussels   –   are   unquestionable   objective   values   for  building  a  «Success  Story».           1. A  space  for  500  million  Europeans    With  more  than  4.3  million  km2  for  more  than  500  million  inhabitants17,  the  27  member  states  are,  in  themselves,   already   a   proof   of   success.   The   success   of   a   strong   European   Union     -­‐   a   single   entity  which  brought  together  27  states  –  that  answers  to  the  need  of  joining  in  order  to  become  stronger.    Even   if   the   country   is   one   of   the   world’s   largest   powers   –   like   Germany,   France,   United   Kingdom,  Spain  or  Italy    -­‐  with  an  important  role  in  the  world  over  time,  the  History  of  the  last  five  years  proves  the  need  to  join  in  order  to  play  a  role  amid  other  large  nations  on  the  international  stage.    With   respect   to   the   surface,   population   and   number   of   members   states18,   let’s   take   a   look   on   the  world’s   map   and   see   the   place   of   the   European   Union   compared   to   USA   and   the   BRIC   countries  (Brazil,  Russia,  India  and  China).       SURFACE   POPULATION   NUMBER  OF  MEMBER   STATES  EU   4.300.000  km2  (5)   502.400.000  (3)   27  national  states  USA   9.630.000  km2  (3)   313.200.000  (4)   50  federal  states  BRAZIL   8.500.000  km2  (4)   203.400.000  (5)   26  federal  states  RUSSIA   17.070.000  km2  (1)   138.700.000  (6)   21  federal  republics  INDIA   3.200.000  km2  (6)  (2)   28  federal  states  CHINA   9.640.000  km2    (2)   1.330.000.000  (1)   2  large  states      Thus,   it   can   be   seen   that,   compared   to   major   world   powers   such   as   USA   or   China,   EU’s   surface   is  barely    half  of  theirs.    But  its  population,  even  if  it  surpasses  the  USA’s,  doesn’t  reach  the  size  of   the  large  emerging  powers  such  as  China  or  India.                                                                                                                            17  Source  :  Eurostat    18  Source  :  www.statistiques-­‐  (July  2011)  18    
  19. 19. 2. A  history  for  three  generations    Back  in  1950,  6  European  countries  started  the  foundation  of  a  European  Union19  -­‐  Belgium,  France,  Germany,   Italy,   Luxembourg   and   the   Netherlands   –   driven   by   remarkable   persons   such   as:   Jean  Monnet,  Robert  Schuman,  Konrad  Adenauer,  Alcide  De  Gasperi,  Paul-­‐Henri  Spaak  or  Jean  Rey.  But  it’s  in  1971  that  the  EMS  (European  Monetary  System)  is  created.  And  in  1973  the  6  members  states   become   9,   with   the   arrival   of   Denmark,   Ireland   and   United   Kingdom.   The   European   Union  shows   at   that   time   an   important   rise   in   terms   of   power   and   becomes   a   real   challenger   at  international  level.  This  first  stage  of  the  EU’s  history  has  taken  23  years  –  one  generation.    The   second   stage   lasts   22   years,   from   1973   to   1995.   It’s   the   stage   of   rising   and   development.   From   9  members  states  the  European  Union  passes  to  15,  with  the  arrival  of  Greece,  Spain,  Portugal,  Austria,  Finland   and   Sweden.   Schengen   space   is   created   (in   1985)   and   the   European   Monetary   System  becomes  the  European  Monetary  Union  (EMU)  in  1991.  However  the  first  clouds  appear  during  this  phase  marred  by  a  first  rejection  of  the  Maastricht  Treaty  (1992).    Is   it   therefore   this   aspect   that   made   the   EU   lose   face   as   a   challenger   and   marred   the   image   of   a  leader  in  progress?  An  image  built  throughout  more  than  a  generation.    The  third  stage  can  be  considered  to  start  as  of  1995.  The  European  Union  enters  a  maturity  phase  in  which,  quite  often,  the  accomplishments  take  over  the  capacities  of  adapting  to  change.  This  stage,  lasting   for   a   decade,   sees   the   number   of   member   states   growing   from   15   to   25   in   2004,   with   the  accession  of  Cyprus,  Czech  Republic,  Estonia,  Hungary,  Latvia,  Lithuania,  Malta,  Poland,  Slovakia  and  Slovenia,  and  reaching  27  in  2007  with  Bulgaria  and  Romania.  The  European  Central  Bank  is  created  in  1998,  the  Euro  in  1999  and,  as  of  2002,  the  European  currency  becomes  the  single  currency  used  by  12  member  states.      It  reaches  17  in  2011.  Nonetheless,  this  doesn’t  impede  that  more  and  more  clouds  arrive  over  the  European  sky,  despite  a  general  refrain  to  see  them  or  to  measure  their  importance.  The  delays  in  ratifying  the  Nice  Treaty  (2001-­‐2002),  the  rejection  of  the  European  Constitution  (2005)  or  the  refusal  of  Euro  by  3  out  of  15  Eurozone   members   states   (at   its   launching)   are   the   visible   side   of   a   far   deeper   problem:   the   weak  support  for  the  EU  membership.    As  a  logical  consequence,  after  maturity,  then  comes  ageing.    The  same  goes  for  the  European  Union  which  seems  to  enter,  as  of  2005,  an  ageing  phase,    or  at  least  of  stagnation:    confirming  the  passage  from  challenger-­‐leader  to  follower.  Europe  seems  to  shut  itself  from  the  rest  of  the  world,  withdrawn  on  its  accomplishments  but  also  on  its  heavy  and  complex  body.      What   would   the   next   stage   be   in   2012?   The   one   of   a   choice:   either   continuing   as   a   follower,   or  becoming  again  the  leader  that  it  was.    Many  elements  come  into  play.  Among  them,  the  rebuilding  of  its  brand  image.                                                                                                                            19  Called  at  that  time  the  European  Coal  and  Steel  Community;      19    
  20. 20. 3. A  capital.  Brussels    In   every   big   country   the   capital   plays   a   major   role   and   is   often   the   element   that  we   keep   in   mind:  Washington,  Brasilia,  New  Delhi,  Moscow  are  windows  of  visibility  for  their  respective  nations.  The  same  rule  applies  for  the  EU  as  well:      the  capital  is  its  window.    In   Brussels   more   than   85.000   people   hover   around   EU   (out   of   one   million   inhabitants).   Capital   of  Belgium  first  of  all,  since  1830;    Brussels  has  developed  as  a  multicultural  city-­‐region  which  became  the  European  capital  in  1958,  but  officially  in  1992.    The  region  of  Brussels-­‐Capital  is  a  real  international  hub  for  the  institutions  located  here  and  for  the  geographical   proximity   that   it   offers   with   respect   to   other   large   European   cities   such   as   London,  Paris,  Amsterdam  or  Bonn.  Second  largest  lobby  centre  in  the  world  (after  Washington)  and  the  most  coveted  by  the  diplomats,  the  capital  of  Europe  is  a  real  multicultural  metropolis  whose  figures  speak  for  themselves.      INTERNATIONAL  INSTITUTIONS20   EUROPEAN  INSTITUTIONS21  - 555  diplomatic  missions   - 5  European  institutions:     Ø European Commission- 5.415  diplomats   Ø European Parliament Ø Council of the European Union- 15.000  to  20.000  lobbyists   Ø European Economic and Social Committee  - 4.000  NATO  employees   Ø Committee of the Regions    - 1.319  foreign  journalists   - Around   50.000   European   civil   servants   and   agents  (temporary,  contract,  interim,  national   experts)  Total  number  of  staff     More  than  80.000  Population  (Brussels)   1.142.000   inhabitants22,   out   of   which   50%   have   foreign  origins    The  reality  in  Brussels  speaks  for  itself:  more  than  80.000  people  work  in  European  or  international  organisations,  out  of  slightly  more  than  one  million  inhabitants.                                                                                                                            20  Source:  Study  of  the  Brussels-­‐Europe  Liaison  Office  (November  2011);    21  Source  :  European  institutions’  WebPages.  22  Source  :  Belgian  National  Register  (November  2011  data).  20    
  21. 21. But   the   main   characteristic   of   Brussels   is   that   it   hosts   more   than   50%   foreigners,   thus   making   it   a  multicultural   and   multilingual   city.   Lying   on   the   division   line   between   the   Latin   and   German   cultures,  Brussels   could   enjoy   the   benefit   of   being   the   bridge   between   these   two   worlds   and   the   image   of  their   coexistence.   This   should   be   an   opportunity   to   show   to   the   entire   world   that   the   European  capital   is   an   example   of   cohesion.   However,   there   might   be   a   drawback   as   Brussels   is   showing  sometimes   a   complete   different   image:   the   capital   of   a   country   without   government   during   more  than   one   year   and   whose   two   communities   are   in   opposition.   The   contrary   of   the   image   that   EU  should  give.      The   «Success   Story»   of   Europe   must   be   built   around   a   capital:   the   brand   image   of   Europe   passes  through  the  brand  image  of  its  capital.  Therefore  Brussels  deserves  a  great  attention.      The  Geography,  the  History  and  the  Capital  of  the  EU  are  there  to  create  a  «Success  Story»  around  the  objective  values  they  embody.    21    
  22. 22. VII. EU’s  attributive  and  associative  values    A  brand  or  a  product  becomes  an  idea  by  associating,  attributing  values  to  it.  And  the  idea  is  often  an  image  that  we  attach  to  it.  This  image  is,  at  its  turn,  attached  to  codes  that   help   expressing   it   in   different   ways.   These   codes   relate   sometimes   or   quite  often,  among  other  things,  to  the  past  or  History  that  are  inherent  to  us  consciously  or  unconsciously.      Values  like  courage  or  heroism  can  be  associated  to  a  person,  a  group  or  a  brand  in  order  to  build  their   «Success   Story».   For  instance,   the  association  with   the   pilots   of   Royal  Air  Force   is   obvious   for  the  Breitling  watches,  as  the  pilots  used  them.    Other  associations  can  be  recalled  as  well,  such  as:     - The  suffering  by  the  high-­‐level  athletes  and  their  respective  country  :  China;   - The  idea  of  freedom  and  Apple;   - The  idea  of  a  democratic  comfort  and  Ikea;   - The  beauty  and  L’Oreal.      Among  the  associative  values,  the  “emotional  brands”  are  without  any  doubt  the  most  significant  in  a  brand  strategy.  As  we  have  seen,  they  can  relate  to  the  heroism  in  the  History,  thus  contributing  to  the  «Success  Story»    of  the  brand.    The   choice   of   colours   and   stars   for   the   European   flag   is   part   of   these   “emotional   brands»   and  answers,   in   a   certain   way,   to   the   expectations,   desires   and   dreams   of   the   European   citizens:   it   is  therefore  one  of  the  associative  values  of  Europe.    However  strategists  should  be  cautious  when  choosing  the  best  way  of  representing  this  answer  to  expectations,  as  the  associative  values  can  take  different  shapes,  positive  or  negative.    For  example,  there   should   be   an   adequate   answer   to   the   human   concern   towards   the   technological   progress:   a  humanoid  robot  could  be  the  image  of  such  a  reconciliation  of  man  with  technology.    The  humanoid  robot  Asimo,  developed  by  Honda,  was  designed  as  a  technological  tool  with  human  appearance  in  order  to  give  it  some  associative  values.  It  could  have  stayed  as  a  research  object  and  be  presented  as  such  to  the  scientists  or  students.  But  it  wasn’t  the  case.  Among  the  associative  values  embodied  by  Asimo,  we  can  recall  the  conviviality.  It  was  represented  by   associating   the   robot   with   the   world’s   great   leaders   (kings/presidents/   spokespersons/   prime-­‐22    
  23. 23. ministers  etc.)  whose  hands  he  was  shaking.  The  gesture  attracted  a  large  media  coverage,  making  the  robot  the  main  actor  of  a  «Success  Story».  Henceforth,   the   robot   -­‐   technological   tool   since   then   -­‐   became   humanoid   by   associating   its   notoriety  with   the   one   of   various   State   authorities:   the   King   of   Spain   (Juan   Carlos),   the   Queen   of   Denmark  (Margrethe   II),   the   German   counsellor   (Schröder),   or   different   Prime   ministers:   Turkish   (Erdogan),  Japanese  (Koizumi),  Belgian  (Verhofdstadt).  The  Head  of  States  –  vested  with  power  and  reputation  in  their  countries  –  associated  their  names  to  the  robot’s  and  showed  their  interest  in  research  and  development,  as  well  as  in  the  reconciliation  of  man  with  technology.  By  doing  this,  they  offered  new  associative  values  to  their  country’s  brand.    It   is   therefore   obvious   that   the   associative   values   that   can   be   attributed   to   a   product,   a   region,   a  state  or  a  place  can  take  various  shapes.    Other   examples:   the   smell,   the   taste;   they   play   an   important   role   in   the   memorisation   process,   by  acting  on  our  feelings.  For  instance,  some  of  us  may  associate  the  lavender  fragrance  with  the  region  of  Provence  and  its  values;  some  others  may  associate  the  clothes  well-­‐ordered  in  a  wardrobe  with  memories  from  their  childhood.    The   importance   of   the   smell   can   be   subtly   used   in   a   branding   strategy   which   involves   associative  values,  such  as  Nescafé,  for  example.  It  uses  the  image  of  roasting  coffee  injected  in  capsules,  thus  associating  the  taste  with  the  smell  of  coffee  for  the  whole  brand.    Do  the  same  rules  apply  in  case  of  nations?  Can  we  associate  the  image  of  a  nation  (USA)  with  the  taste  of  a  product  (Coca-­‐Cola),  the  image  of  France  with  the  taste  of  wine,  Italy  with  their  pastas?  However   the   smell   or   the   taste   are   not   the   single   values   that   can   be   associated   to   a   product   or   a  nation.  The  sight,  the  hearing  or  the  touch  allow  also  to  shape  the  image  that  we  have  of    a  product  or  country,  and  possibly  to  build  or  rebuild  one.    On   the   basis   of   these   elements   we   can   ask   ourselves   what   values   could   be   associated   with   the  European   Union.   The   starting   point   could   be   to   decode   what   already   exists,   to   draw   up   a   state-­‐of-­‐play  of  the  current  situation  of  the  EU,  a  sort  of  DNA  of  its  image.         - Seeing   the   Blue   European   flag   with   its   twelve   yellow   stars   in   a   circle   creates   a   quick   and   direct  link  with  Europe.  Unlike  the  USA,  whose  number  of  stars  on  the  flag  has  been  adapted   to  the  number  of  states,  the  European  flag  kept  the  twelve  stars  for  its  27  members  states.  It   symbolises  the  ideals  of  solidarity  and  unity.  Nonetheless,  the  EU  uses  some  other  logos  as   well,  which  could   perpetuate  risks  of  confusion:  logos  for  each  institution  or  service  (see   the   European   Anti-­‐Fraud   Office   -­‐OLAF,   the   Publication   Office   –   OP   etc.   ).   This   situation   creates   doubt  on  the  internal  and  interinstitutional  cooperation  within  EU.       It   is   important   to   remember   that   what   characterises   a   brand   is   the   clarity   of   the   visual   message   that   it   displays:   the   colours   have   to   be   the   same   no   matter   the   media,   and   to  23    
  24. 24. respect   the   codes.   The   same   goes   for   the   fonts.   Brand   visibility   is   partly   based   on   these   principles.     - Hearing  the  European  anthem:  listening  to  a  certain  music  allows  to  identify,  to  associate  it   to  a  person,  a  product,  a  radio  station,  a  broadcast,  a  country.  The  length,  the  musical  flow,   its  repetitive  broadcasting  (e.g.  jingle  of  a  popular  news  broadcast)  can  quickly  create  or  not   the  association  with  the  brand,  and  contribute  to  the  building  of  the  brand  image.  The  choice   of  Europe  was  the  “Ode  to  Joy”  from  the  Ninth  Symphony  of  Ludwig  Van  Beethoven.     - Touching   the   Euro   is   a   daily   practice   for   a   large   number   of   Europeans,   thus   representing     their  membership/  attachment  to  a  single  economic  area  with  a  single  currency.  More  than   to   its   monetary   value,   it   is   what   the   euro   represents   –   an   identity,   a   name   -­‐     to   which   the   European  is  attached.  But  the  euro  acts  also  as  a  brand  image  vector,  such  as  the  dollar  or   the  Swiss  franc.       - Coming  together  during  the  European  Day  means  associating  the  celebration  with  the  birth   of  the  EU.  Every  nation  has  its  own  national  day  (4th  July  in  the  USA,  14th  July  in  France,  21st     July  in  Belgium,  1st  August  in  Switzerland  etc.),  often  a  summertime  one,  but  always  linked  to   the  history  of  the  country.  For  the  EU,  9th  May  was  chosen  in  relation  with  Robert  Schuman,   who  launched  for  the  first  time,  in  1950,  the  idea  of  a  united  Europe...   - An  official  motto  :“United  in  diversity”  is  part  of  this  set  of  images.  Every  country  has  its  own   motto  which  contributes  to  its  image:  for  Belgium,  “Unity  Makes  Strength”.     As  it  can  be  seen,  an  associative  value  is  not  always  obvious,  however  it  can  be  built  around   the  «Success  Story».    All   these   elements   –   visual   with   the   flag,   hearing   with   the   anthem,   touching   with   the   Euro,  conviviality   with   the   European   Day,   Unity   in   diversity   with   the   motto   –   are   fundamental   for   the  European  brand  image.    They  might  lack  coherence  and  visibility  for  some  people,  but  they  should  be  considered   in   the   assessment   of   the   EU’s   brand   image,   as   associative   values.   Surely   they   are  peripheral  compared  to  the  major  image  problem  of  the  European  Union:  its  physical  representation  and  therefore,  who  is  its  spokesperson?      24    
  25. 25. VIII. Necessity  of  choosing  well  its  message  transmitters    Who  is  the  spokesperson  of  the  EU?    A  strong  image,  conveyor  of  identity,  chooses  a  spokesperson  commensurate  with  its  ambitions.  And  preferably  a  single  and  unique  spokesperson.    In  the  USA,  there  is  no  doubt;  the  unquestionable  spokesperson  is  the  president  (Barack  Obama).      In  the  European  Union,  things  are  less  clear.       Ø Who  is  the  voice  of  the  EU?  Whom  do  we  associate  with  its  image?     Ø And  by  reference  with  the  USA,  who  is  going  to  shake  the  hand  of  the  president  Obama?   Ø Who  speaks  on  behalf  of  the  EU?   Ø Who   is   the   spokesperson   of   the   EU   and   plays   on   the   same   level   with   the   world’s   great   leaders?   Ø Who  will  have  the  adequate  representativeness  and  charisma?        The  question  has  been  raised,  as  in  the  EU  there  are  currently  5  names:     1) The  European  President:  Herman  Van  Rompuy  (nominated  for    two  years  and  a  half)   2) The  President  of  the  Council  of  Ministers  (position  changes  every  six  months)   3) The  President  of  the  European  Commission:  José  Manuel  Barroso   4) The  President  of  the  European  Parliament:  Martin  Schulz   5) The   High   Representative   of   the   Union   for   Foreign   Affairs   and   Security   Policy:   Catherine   Ashton.      In  addition  to  these  5  names,  2  others  can  be  added:     6) The  French  President,    Nicolas  Sarkozy   7) The  German  Chancellor,  Angela  Merkel      25