Both Colombia and Guatemala are currently fighting negative perceptions which have been established through news, entertainment, superficial visions. This why, during the workshops ‘Redesigning the concept of Country Branding” —held in Guatemala and Colombia within the framework of the festivals Adherente and 4GN — we asked the students to create a strategic narrative that could redefine the perception of their Country or City.
Albert and Rafa during the activities at 4GN in Bogotá, Colombia
Changing the perception of a place is strictly connected to fostering its growth, attract investments, generate the right tourism, improving its industries.
Over the last decade Colombia has been positioning itself as a touristic destination with the aim to gain more foreign visitors and investments each year. But the country also has a rough reputation to overcome — up until a little while ago it was one of the most violent places on Earth. Today, Colombia has become a different country, both in safety as in growth. The auge of that period of violence was the Nineties: the historical times depicted by the Netflix series ‘Narcos’. For many people around the world,the fictional docu-series has shaped their unique and only perception of the country. Yet this image is no longer representative of today’s Colombia. The focus of the workshop was about creating a strategic narrative that is able to rebuild the perception of the country through the perspective of those people who happen to represent the country abroad: expats. By weaving a narrative around expats as being opinion-makers, this idea aims to dissipate, first-hand, any prejudices and preconceived ideas about diverse topics related to Colombia —security, amongst many others.
“We should rethink and redesign our ideas of cities, nations, countries, according to the current paradigm in communication”. Rafa Martínez, COO and Strategist
Vince explaining the brief to the students of the workshop in Guatemala City.
Guatemala: fighting the single story
In the scenario of Central America, the brand Guatemala both aims to reposition itself and stand out among the many country brands. According to the Guatemalan Tourism Institute, in the first semester of 2017, the country experienced a growth of 14 percent over the same period last year in terms of foreign visitors. But there’s still a long way to go With the communication of Guatemala projecting a perception almost uniquely linked to its Mayan Heritage and natural resources, we thought that this country might have a lot more to tell.
“What if we went beyond the Mayas? What would happen if Guatemala would be depicted as the Silicon Valley of Central America? Why doesn’t anybody know about the over 25 native languages spoken here or the country’s capacity to host big international events?” Vincenzo Angileri, Editorial Director and Junior Strategist
Places —like brands— need to talk to the right audience, attract synergies, generate belonging.
Guatemalan students rethinking the image of their Country during the workshop.
Aside from the workshops, in both festivals we were invited to talk about Folch’s “Strategic Narrative Design” approach. Within the framework of the 4GN in Bogotá, we also had a meeting at the local Chamber of Commerce to meet entrepreneurs and business owners from all across the country and present our understanding of new paradigm of communication and today’s practice of branding —far from logocentrism and deeply rooted in great content and strategic narrative.
Thanks to ELISAVA. Workshops and talks held during September 2017 in Guatemala City and Bogotá.