29 August 2010

Ukraine - The Brand Image?

Just read an article in the latest edition of Business Ukraine - 'Rebranding Ukraine'.
I cannot help but think how similar the situation is in Sri Lanka, where they have just started to recover after a 28 year internal war and now thinking about 'who do we want to be?' Do we want to be an IT Hub for Asia? Do we want to be a luxury tourist resort island?, Do we want to be an outsourcing location? etc etc. Most people still think of Sri Lanka under the old name of Ceylon and a famous producer of TEA. Its also a very beautiful paradise island next to the Indian ocean.

What about Ukraine? - What do people think about when they hear that you are from Ukraine? - Usual answer...."Ah....Russia". From the better informed, they will remember the world wide media coverage given to the Orange Revolution in 2004, some will of course think about the Chernobyl disaster. Is that it?
Ukraine is not home to any famous international consumer brands so its difficult to associate the country with anything that people purchase thats 'Ukraine related'.

How should Ukraine position itself as a brand for the rest of the world to recognise?
What does the country want to become famous for?
One thing for certain is that when tourists and business visitors come to Ukraine, they are pleasantly suprised at what they find. Its a VERY big country, the same size as France. The people are highly educated, although English is not so widely spoken outside the major cities.

A recent survey by Newsweek magazine, shows Ukraine to be the BEST country to live in for Quality of Life, amongst poorer developing countries.
Who decides the 'branding' of a nation anyhow?. It cannot be just another government project. Its must be a joint public and private sector initiative. We have enough marketing people in Ukraine already who could help in this 'project'. But could we persuade the government that this is an important step to take? Moreover, would the government be prepared to provide budget funds for promotional activities in the international media? Now is not a good time to be asking for funds from anyone, but I am sure we could start the process of deciding what the brand image should be for Ukraine.

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