Represented in the beloved star spangled banner, those three colors have far more meaning than first meets the eye. Widely recognized as the iconic symbol of our nation, the American flag is much more than just that. It is a national brand. Cultivated over many wars, battles and ultimately triumphs, the United States brand has become unmistakably known both domestically and worldwide.
In celebrating yet another birthday, the vibrant United States brand provides an example for others attempting to make a name in the game of national brand building.
Chile, for example, has had a tumultuous history and is seeking ways in which bring positive light to its nation in a new national branding project. Recently transitioning from a historically dictatorial regime, the newly elected President, Sebastián Piñera, has sought the opportunity to revitalize the somewhat unfavorable brand of Chile.
Similarly, while re-branding efforts were sought to be underway, the new Administration was also was tasked with working to alleviate two catastrophic disasters—one almost immediately following the other. First, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country and later 33 miners were trapped 2,000 feet underground for nearly two months. Although impossible to predict, both incidents provided an opportunity to leverage for national Chilean support and brand recognition. In fact, it would have been a PR failure to not seize the chance to capitalize on one of the most-watched Web events in recent in history. However, luckily for the Chilean brand, they did just that. The Twitter hash-tag #Chileanminers climbed the trending charts for week after week, stories covering the events were published daily worldwide and fan pages were prevalent on many all social media channels. Audiences were captivated by the event and many sat by the edge of their seats cheering for the miners safe return home.
Coincidentally, in nearly all media coverage shown, the Chilean flag was clearly present. Taking a cue from professional branding experts, the Chileans were driving their “product” home to audiences across the world.
In doing so, the brand of Chile grew exponentially over the course of short period of time.
However, with this sudden increase in media exposure: what does this all mean for the brand of Chile?
The truth of the matter is that for far too long, Chile has been sitting on the side lines of global conversaions. Not many people (except true brand loyalists) can tell you much about this great nation off the top of their head, except perhaps some details of its previous dictatorship government or the wine—the delicious, delicious wine.
Yet, Chile is so much more than that.
Although they have been riddled with a troublesome past and continue to face obstacles, their brand loyalists continue to remain and more importantly new audiences arise each day. In efforts to keep their success flourishing, active engagement and proactive tactics need be applied. Weather it is reaching a Canadian wine connoisseur who will only drink the best Chilean wine, a California native who always vacations in Rapa Nui or a Chilean street vendor selling flags on Fiesta Patrias (also known as Chile’s Independence day)—the bottom line is the same: keep the conversation going.
The Chilean brand is certainly emerging as new one-to-watch and the world market eagerly awaiting its next move. While recent events may have sparked the momentum needed to help move the Chilean brand in the right direction, those effort alone will not be enough to keep their brand alive. As most PR professionals will say: once the conversation has stopped, your brand loyalty will be sure to follow. However if successful branding efforts continue, who knows, one day, the Chilean red, white and blue may be as world renowned as the United States’ infamous stars and stripes.