The Country Brand

The entire Bolivian society needs to become aware of the values that we have as a nation and for it as a whole, to establish strategies and policies that enhance and value our image and identity at the international level.

Por Martha Landivar, Landivar & Landivar

Country Brand is understood as the concept used to refer to the intangible value of the reputation and image of a country. Thus, it contemplates several aspects, such as the characteristic products of each of them: culture, tourism, sports, public organizations, among others. A Country Brand is an added value for everything that has to do with that nation.

It is widely used for tourism purposes, attracting foreign capital, attracting labor and its cultural influence in the world. As a consequence, there are already several countries that have public entities designed to promote their image, considering all the aspects already mentioned.

This Country Brand concept allows a country to have an identity on its own and attract different audiences internationally. It has become so important that there are already companies created with the aim of offering strategies that have been able to generate country rankings. The objective of these rankings is to measure the impact of perceptions and international reputation in the areas of tourism and investment.

Among the problems that some Latin American experiences have had in the development of this concept is that it is closely linked to factors of political instability. It must be taken into account that there have already been very good experiences in some countries when creating their image and being able to sell it and that the general public has associated it with virtues, which bring economic benefits from the connection of the Country Brand with the values of it.

In Latin America, Mexico and Chile are the two countries that have achieved success in promoting the Country Brand. In both cases, the formula that has validated its leadership in this promotion has been to maintain a constant and clear long-term positioning strategy for the destination.

For example, Mexico has maintained a strategy for more than 20 years, as reported by the director of this section of that nation. He assures that not interrupting promotion for two decades has been the long-term strategic vision. Both the government and the private sector have understood that the collaborative work of all sectors that promotes the varied tourist offer in terms of culture, historical monuments and traditions, is key. This same authority maintained that the value of the country brand of Mexico increased 15%, which is valued at more than one billion dollars, and that each year it receives 36 million tourists.

In the case of Chile, everything that reflects the identity of this country is represented as a Country Brand. They are defined as a geography of extremes with the driest desert on the planet and with ancient ice, with fertile fields and oceans that combine the modern with the traditional. Chile captivates with its quality products and services in different parts of the world, as well as with its cities that maintain their growth and are continuously connected. The Strategic Planning Manager for Chile's image maintains that it has been fundamental for this country to maintain a clear strategy and brand positioning, as well as collaborative work between the government sector and the private sector.

Despite having several countries with clear brand objectives to promote their Country Brand, there are no international regulations that adequately regulate them, the permanent committee on Trademark Law, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications, dependent on WIPO, maintains the treatment process to draw up a standard. So far, it has received projects from various countries on the regulation of this important concept, however, this important regulation is not yet available.

To all this, it is important to highlight that in 2021, specifically in April, Decision 876 was enacted regarding the protection and regulation of the Country Brand, in the four countries of the region, which have been formally recognized as a new figure of Industrial Property, establishing with it a special procedure for its registration and protection. Understood as such, any sign determined or used by a member country, promoting its image inside and outside of it, promoting among other things its tourism, culture, gastronomy, national production, exports and investments.

The regulation of the Country Brand concept is based on the principle that it is different from a commercial brand because it is a sign adopted by a state within the framework of policies and strategies aimed at disseminating the identity and image of a country and its strategic sectors. tourist. Due to its nature, it is not limited to use with respect to a specific product or service, since the Country Brand identifies a nation as a whole and is an instrument for promoting the image of the country and its own citizens, while in Internationally, it serves to present the country to a foreign public and sensitize it towards a better acceptance of the products and services that come from it, favoring commercial, economic and cultural links with other nations.

With this decision to be implemented in the countries of the area, there is a special procedure that allows countries, according to their special nature, to be protected in an efficient and economical way, in order to avoid registration and unauthorized use. of identical or similar signs by third parties, thus complementing the path offered by Article 6ter of the Paris Convention.

In Bolivia specifically, in 2017, the government of Evo Morales launched the Country Brand "BOLIVIA CORAZON DEL SUR", whose objective was to position the country in the international context and identify national production, tourism and cultural and sports activities. In 2019, two years later, a new promotional strategy called "BOLIVIA IS GREAT" was presented, which sought to continue positioning the country's image in the national and international arena. 

We believe that it was really a great step for the Andean Community to consolidate itself as the pioneer, at a global level, to create specific regulations that protect the Country Brand in all the countries that comprise it. It is clear that the pertinent regulations to protect it are already being implemented throughout the Andean Community. However, it is noteworthy that Bolivia will only apply this regulation related to compliance three years after the entry into force of this rule. It only remains to infer that it still does not have the precise legal mechanisms for this. Given this reality, we can only hope that this deadline is evidently met, so that Bolivia, if it abides by this regulation, fully entering the international arena with effective compliance strategies and policies.

On the other hand, it is important to add that the Country Brand concept, implemented in Bolivia, will not meet its objectives if there are no definitive public policies that give tourists security when entering Bolivian territory. It is common knowledge that not only the effect of the pandemic made tourism decrease, but also the instability that characterizes us, as a series of blockades and stoppages continually appear in our daily lives that discourage any possible tourist reactivation of our country. Apart from this, we must mention that important investments that are projected towards our country have as their center or objective, they come to be discouraged by the enormous instability and legal insecurity in which we unfortunately live.

Given this reality, the only thing left is for the entire Bolivian society to become aware of the values that we have as a nation and for it as a whole, to establish strategies and policies that enhance and value our image and identity at the international level, thus achieving at least in part the economic development that we so long for.

Marcasur Magazine
Marcasur Magazine - Edición Nº 84