Between March 1 and 4, a new version of the Ibero-American Country Brands Preforum took place in Santiago. This annual event brings together the nation brands of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula with the goal of strengthening ties between the members through the exchange of knowledge and experience.
This was Chile’s first time hosting this international event, which ratified the entry of six new members into the Ibero-American Council of Nation Brands, including the unprecedented inclusion of a city brand. The inclusion of Andorra, Barcelona, Chile, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Paraguay brought the Council up to a total of 17 entities responsible for managing place branding.
The meeting attendees defined the topics for discussion at the upcoming Ibero-American Nation Brand forum, as follows: Digital positioning of territorial brands; stakeholder engagement; the importance of using campaigns and data to promote a nation brand; the relationships between nation brands, sector brands and territorial brands; the institutionality, structure and funding of entities; and the evolution of the Argentina and Barcelona brands. The forum will take place during 2022 at a location that has yet to be defined.
The following people attended the event: Fundación Imagen de Chile executive director Constanza Cea; the director of the Essential Costa Rica country brand and current chair of the Ibero-American Council of Nation Brands, Daniel Valverde; Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Tourism, Ana García; the director of Colombia’s nation brand, María Juliana Lora; the private sector representative of Argentina’s nation brand, Guido Gattari; the person responsible for Uruguay’s nation brand, Diego Silva; the director of the Salvadoran Institute of Tourism, Eny Aguiñada; Peru’s brand management specialist, Gisele Vega; and Barcelona City Council’s city brand manager, Marc Sans. Also in attendance was Carolina Santana, representing the Dominican Republic.
“At Imagen de Chile we are truly honored to be the hosts of the Ibero-American Nation Brand Preforum. By sharing experiences, we will all be able to improve our work and our strategies in terms of nation brand management,” explained Imagen de Chile executive director Constanza Cea. “Our objective at Imagen de Chile is for Chile’s country brand to become better known and appreciated around the world because that will generate better opportunities that make it possible to improve the quality of life of everyone in Chile,” she added.
Daniel Valverde, the director of the Essential Costa Rica country brand and current chair of the Ibero-American Council of Nation Brands, said: “The nation brand projects of Latin America are highly diverse in terms of color and structure. Sharing different experiences about what has worked well and what has been less successful always generates learning. It’s very important that Chile is hosting this preforum because of all the effort it has been making recently, from changing the new message to Creating Future though to being singled out in international nation brand competitions.”
“The most important thing is the exchange of knowledge, information and experiences that each country contributes within its nation brand management structure and its processes for internally and externally verifying what its brand means for its own territory,” explained Ana García, Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Tourism. She added: “This information interchange process is enormously enriching.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona City Council’s city brand manager, Marc Sans, who was attending a preforum for the first time, spoke about the value of taking part in these kinds of events. “In Barcelona we are used to comparing good practice, successes and areas for improvement with country and city brands, above all in the European context. Going outside our comfort zone and listening to stories where the circumstances are quite different to the homogeneity that you can find in Europe is much more enriching. Chile is in the world spotlight because of the process it is carrying out and so I think this is the ideal moment for events of this type to take place there,” he said.
“We’re really happy to be at this preforum. For us, it’s really important to take part in such events because they give us the opportunity to see what other countries are doing and for us all to share best practice and knowledge. It’s very valuable for us to come, not just so we can tell others about our brand but also so we can get to know everyone,” said María Juliana Lora, the director of Colombia’s nation brand.
Guido Gattari, the private sector representative of Argentina’s nation brand, added: “I think this is a really gratifying experience and a great opportunity to learn, as we can find out about the experiences of nation brands, set benchmarks and try to learn from everyone.”
“It’s a great opportunity to find out about each country’s experience during the ongoing pandemic,” said Eny Aguiñada, the director of the Salvadoran Institute of Tourism. “Above all, all the opportunities that we each find for sharing information, learning about the challenges and difficulties and what we are all doing to position our countries at the international level. I think this is the most valuable thing that one can discover from each person,” she added.
“It’s key, as the topic of nation brand is very dynamic. You have to be on top of the trends; change is ongoing,” said Diego Silva, the person responsible for Uruguay’s nation brand.
Similarly, Gisele Vega, Peru’s brand management specialist, highlighted the importance of continuing to organize these types of meetings in the region: “This is an important moment because the countries that form part of this group can share their experiences and it’s vital because ultimately we manage our countries’ brands and all of these experiences enrich our practice. It’s really important to have these in-person and hybrid meetings and hold them during the year. They are valuable so we can continue growing and contributing.”
The following are the 17 members that currently make up the Ibero-American Council of Nation Brands: Andorra, Argentina, Barcelona, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Some of the representatives traveled to Chile to take part in person, while others participated online.
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