States must use marketing and public relations services

Photo: Emica Elvedji/PIXSELL

“Countries that communicate successfully reap the benefits in almost all areas, from tourism to the economy. We recognize some of them for Lego or natural beauties alone. Korea invests as much as 1 percent of its annual GDP in culture—in other words, the content they show to the world,” said Božo Skoko, member of the management board of Millenium promocije and professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb, during his lecture at the Weekend Media Festival.

Skoko is a leading Croatian expert on state branding, and in the lecture entitled “States as Communicators: From the Danish hygge to K-pop” he introduced listeners to the efforts of successful countries to build and maintain their global brand, image and reputation.

“Every country wants to communicate its values and they must use marketing and public relations services in order to do so. The world is a global market where every country is fighting for a piece of the pie. But they can only grab their part if they are positioned as a successful brand—a brand that is recognized by everyone,” said Skoko.

Speaking about the experiences of other countries, he pointed out that Great Britain, Germany or France have state institutions, academies and other organizations dedicated to promotion. Another model is where countries directly finance unique promotional campaigns, such as New Zealand. Skoko also described the evolution of the model of state promotion—starting with the old system of government to government, then government to people, and now the latest and most desirable model, whereby people and companies promote their country and values directly to people in other countries.

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