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Competitive identity of Serbia and Finland

Пет, феб 4, 2011

Бренд&Маркетинг

Why do I compare Serbia and Finland? Serbia is a densely populated area unlike Finland and both are located in Europe; Serbia in southern Europe and Finland in northern. Finland can benefit from its GDP(gross domestic product), average income, efficiency and effectiveness of agriculture and government administration. The Finns, unlike the Serbs, have a group of experts assembled in ’Government brend delegation’, a body established in 2008 whose task was to develop the Finnish competitive identity. What is there then to compare between Serbia and Finland? Bad results, actually absence of results.

Up to now, Serbia has been faced with difficult political and economic challenges such as eurointegration, Kosovo and Metohia and currently it stands no chance to strenghten its position. It takes time for a strategic plan of the Finnish experts to achieve an effect, but given the past track record and work arouse interest. Nowadays, the Finns are facing the downfall of their image with regard to the neighbours, their main ’rivals’, and their experts are currently making a lot of efforts with the ’intern brending’.

The highly-esteemed study dealing with the ranking of nation brends is Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index™ written by a well-known scientist, a candidate for Nobel Prize – Mr Simon Anholt, PhD. Unlike Finland, there is no mention of Serbia in any of the lists since the methodology has been established and the research has been implemented in the last five years. 20000 people from 20 countries have participated in the research and it takes place every three months. Judging by the available information, in 2007 Finland was on the 16th place and in 2008 on the 18th place. The list released in 2009, they were not among the the top ten and Mr Simon Anholt pointed out an interesting remark: ’The Danish, Norwegian and Finnish brends will still be treated as Swedish, as well as Blackberry still treated as an American company and actually it is Canadian’. So Finland has faced the degradation of values on the list and it is lagging behind its neighbours.

The Finnish experts came up with the key idea in strategy that their country is the one solving the worldwide problems and their citizens who are solving those problems. This is one of the irrefutable proofs that the creating of the competitive identity must be operating together with developing the government and global vision, prompt activities, its history, science, culture, tradition and the national resources. The former Finnish president Mr Ahtisari put in a great deal of effort as well as his country’s reputation in settling the conflict in southern Serbian province – Kosovo and Metohia. Now the Serbs know how the Finns are solving the problems – they intervene in land grab actually grabbing of Serbian southern province. Even the members of UN know that – and this ethnical problem has not been solved for them yet.

By all means, the discussion should be initiated about the idea of the Finnish expert team considering the solving of the worldwide problems. Can one country be entitled to solve somebody else’s problems and in doing so, it has its own serious problems? It can. But, Finland is facing the problem of increasing unemployment rate as well as number of psychiatric patients and aging population, etc. This means they should not be solving that sort of worldwide problems. It is not advisable to solve problems without much previous knowledge and experience because it can cost them dearly to attain their goals.

Currently, this will not cause making futile efforts in improving the image of Finland but it will slow down obtaining the desired results. Finland has a significant challenge but Serbia much greater. Although the Finns are firmly positioned on the list released by Mr Anholt they decided to form a team designed to improve their position. That is a distinguishing characteristic of serious countries which respect their tax payers and self-confident nations.

Although Serbia was a state and an empire throughout history, it was during the Second World War a part of various forms of communist or quasidemocratic Yugoslavia. Serbia, known as ex-Yugoslavia, was famous for its successes in sport, science and economy. And all the bad memories of the civil war were connected with Serbia. However, such a situation was not a substantial motive for the changes in the attitude Serbia has towards this problem.

In the past few years there were several attempts to form councils or other bodies with the task to position more firmly ’the national brand of Serbia’. All these attempts failed, teams quickly disbanded, or are no longer working. Why? Experts in Serbia have limited knowledge in these fields but the country is not able to foresee the advantages of long-term savings with investment into this system.

The state is not like a product or service. One nation is not for sale and neither the knowledge in corporate marketing and branding cannot be applied nor knowledge in advertising or communicating. What is common in applying the marketing system in the state and economy is the fact that to invest in that system is less expensive and brings in material and non-material values.

Serbia must start working seriously and the Finnish experts should reconsider whether they are on the right track.

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