Nowadays the concept of mark or brand also covers the basic elements of a country: its people, culture, tourism, politics, geography, history and economy in relation with the rest of the world. In other words, the identity of one territory compared to others. That identity, represented in a brand, allows a country to sell its image better and be more competitive.
There is no law in Colombia or in the Andean Community (CAN) referring to the “Country Brand” as a type of mark which is expressly protected. However, there is no doubt that they are a reality and, like a product or service mark, they serve to distinguish territorial origin and express a message which the holder or owner of the brand wants to represent to its consumers, competitors and in general to its target market.
The Country Brand Index 2010 determined the top 10 country brands in the world, with Canada topping the list. Chile also achieved a noteworthy position with recognition in the category of Rising Star, which was easily predictable. The recent rescue of the miners revealed many values of the people of Chile. In addition to its safety and economic stability. Argentina, another country which rose in the ranking because of its economic growth and social and legal progress in the protection of the rights of same-sex couples.
This study, carried out by the international consultancy firm, Future Brand, is widely recognised and offers us a starting point for verifying how the country brand does indeed exist and like any other brand needs to be chosen and selected in accordance with the clear policies or criteria coming from the senior management as occurs in companies, the country brand needs to be selected by clear development policies from senior government.
Finally, what is the aim of these brands? Competitiveness. This aspect is nowadays undeniable for any type of brand, whether of a product, city, country or service. So how can a country brand compete? By creating value from the noteworthy characteristics of the country product in the minds of consumers. This means strategically highlighting the message of the brand, those strengths which each country has and to raise it to a point of comparison with other countries.
The issue of the country brand is replicated in the city brand. We could go into more detail, but this is not the place to do so, but it is essential to start by defining that the intangible brand asset has an important aim which is to differentiate the country or the city from other countries and cities, highlighting the strengths that each one has, and thus adding value to that territory and, in turn, competitiveness.
This asset must be protected, i.e., registered so that the country, city or responsible territorial body holds a right over that brand. Once a brand is registered, it can be subject to a user license by allies, business people, citizens, private companies, the state itself and, in general, anyone that has a direct interest in strengthening their business activity with the image of their country or their city.
From the above, we can conclude that national identity, the values and attributes of the country and city are elements which can be protected through brands which government should promote and use strategically and more often.