A few weeks ago, an Apex Brasil delegation along with an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazil, visited IBEF for insights into the priority sectors for cooperation between India and Brazil. The discussion extended beyond the stated agenda and progressed to issues relating to nation brand promotion. What did not go amiss was the pained expressed and almost a non reaction when I shared with the visitors how some years ago a representative from a Brazilian IPA during a Nation Brand Workshop had elaborated the value proposition that Brazil represented - Sun, Sand and the Samba. These I presumed were natural connects that provided advantage touch points to Brand Brazil.
As our talks progressed, I shared with them our experiences with visiting foreign delegations years ago, who nurtured dated images of India (and still some do though there seems to be a better understanding of the realities that constitute India). At this point, the delegates could not but resist telling me that today they too were trying to make their audiences understand that Brazil represented a value proposition beyond the 3Ss. And herein lies the crux of nation brand initiatives - in as much as creating a better awareness of the nation brand as also nurturing minds to the opportunities that a country represents.
Perceptions do sometimes lag realities and could also be vice versa. And I realised that nations engaged in brand promotion need to carefully evaluate the realities and perceptions, which surround it to credibly tackle these. It can only be build bric by bric!