Malaysia’s flag is based on that of the United States, a country whose democratic ideals the young nation sought to emulate upon gaining independence from Great Britain in 1957. The 14 stripes represent Malaysia’s states, while the square in the upper left contains the moon and sun of Islam.
When Simon Anholt wrotes about his briliant ideas to help the developing countries by branding their places and product, I’ve ask myself about one little things that he might missed, the identity of the country. What is the country without its nation and citizent? What is the ingredients of the country? The people, the culture, the lifestyle, the history and the tradition. And to brand this? How? Is it possible, i’ve asked? His words sound easy, but i’m sure it’s not as easy as it sound. The places is a attraction of the country. Yes indeed, but how can this be branded? I would argue it it is imposible, sometimes it does happen, coincidentally not on purpose. But being branded, being label? As what the country want the others to believe?
In one of the paper I have read from brandchannel.com, by Randall Frost (19 April 2004) open up a discussion about the possibilities of branding the countries. Qoute back from the texts from Frost:
“Many think a country, place or region constitutes a brand, and now a few countires are currently working on strategies to spruce up their brand images. In the case of exports, the thinking goes sometimes like this: once a country has become known as an exporter of quality branded goods, the country’s product brands and its place brand will work together to raise expectations overseas. Country branding should then become part of a self-perpetuating cycle: as the country promotes its consumer brands, those brands will promote the country.”
Realistically, the relation between product and places brands is by no means is simple. Does it works? Sometimes? While there may be similiatities between product and country branding, the ideas of a nation as a brand, is a big mistake. (Wally Olins).
In principles product and places is the same. It’s all about identifying, developing and communicationg the parts of the identity that are favourable to some specified target groups. But the analysis of identity and of target groups perceptions, coupled with brand building activities, are much more complex for places that for products. It is much more difficult to obtain a fully intergrated communication mix in place branding. (Magne Supphellen)
I personally like the idea of the self perpetuating cycle or shall i call it the cycle of sustainability. If the country help to promote the product, the elements, the brand and the representation of the product by it self (if it’s successful) automaticlly promotes the country. The product have to hae the elements of the identity that represent the country, to promote the country. Because by knowing the product, people wants to know where the product come from or made from. To make it easier, why not designing the product with the elements of the country identity?
Credit Image from www.matrade.com.my
Sample of Malaysian Products
HIBROSS is a brand of roselle fruit cordial and dried roselle fruits in Malaysia. All products are made from fresh roselle fruits which are processed immediately after harvest. It is 100 per cent natural with no artificial flavouring or colouring. HIBROSS is further fortified with vitamins and minerals for nutrition and has traditional medicinal values. HIBROSS is manufactured by Malaysian Roselle Industries (Trg) Sdn Bhd.
This Malaysian product does have opportunities to extend the market. It would be much more helpful to Malaysia, if this brand have a elements of Malaysia in their packaging, or promotion pack. I think this is a win win game. No one will lose. It’s a cycle of suntainability.