We all do marketing

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City marketing becomes increasingly popular.
There are more and more discussions on this subject.
Being the head of IZMAŁKOWA, I was asked many times to comment on such campaigns. And I don’t like  TO DO that because what am I supposed to say?
I can’t comment on creativity, because I’m not creative director.
I also don’t want to evaluate the strategy because if I do, I’ll hear once again that I’m too critical.
I can’t comment on a campaign – because strategy bases on just logo changing is not strategy. It’s a joke. What should I comment on the fact that a new logo was created, criticized from the very beginning, and then there breaks out a great public discussion on this topic. And in the end it is the criticism that is criticized. Well, every country gets the kind of promotion it deserves.
I don’t believe in any actions based only on marketing.
I believe that marketing should be a tool, not a goal.
The more I travel through Latin America the more clear-cut is my opinion on how cities, regions and countries should be promoted.

I don’t know if Columbia has a beautiful logo but it’s one of my beloved countries.
I don’t recall any promotion that Venezuela carried out for itself, but I think there’s no other place I miss as much as Los Roques.
And I know that there is only one way of making a promotion efficient.
Don’t employ a single advertising or branding specialist, even if they’re the best and most expensive one. Do something better.
Employ a few millions of them. The whole trick is that you don’t even have to pay them.
ROI is pretty big  if you use this strategy.

“And here’s La Rambla. Beautiful place, the most beautiful! You can even go for a walk at night, because it’s wonderfully illuminated!”
“And is it safe?”
“If you’re afraid of any tourist you meet on your way you can always approach some Uruguayan and ask for help.”
“Why would I be afraid of any tourist?”
“Well, you definitely couldn’t be afraid of any Uruguayan. We’re a kind and peaceful nation. And additionally, we’re handsome! Don’t you think?”

After spending 15 minutes in Uruguay, which I visited by pure accident, I was in love with it. I couldn’t wait to learn more about it and experience it better.
The most moving thing is almost every Latino is totally in love with their country and culture.
However, Uruguay is special among other countries since it’s the ONLY country in the world where people love  also their politicians. Even more, they consider their president a God descended to Earth, their mentor and guru.
The only ones who can compete with them are the Argentinians from Patagonia, where Cristina comes from. She is the current president and does her best to promote this region, starting from promoting plane tickets and building more and more hotels. Because of that Argentinians not only like her, but actually treat her like a GODDESS.
“She’s the most beautiful female politician. She is smart, caring and feminine. Totally different from that… Well, the one from Germany. The looks of that woman…”
“But what do Merkel’s looks have to do with anything?”
“A woman should be feminine – like our Cristina. That’s why she’s the best! Much better than Merkel.”

Cristina aside, Argentina is a wonderful country, mainly because Argentinians reject the idea that it could be otherwise. They even say that they have a stable economy compared to other countries(which is as absurd an argument as it gets, but love is never rational). They also think that chaos is good because thanks to it everyone will manage somehow. And corruption is OK too because thanks to it everything moves more smoothly than it would if there had been any strict rules “like in this whole democratic America”!

Columbians –  madly in love with their country. Music, food, fruit, women and drugs. “If you never tried Columbian marijuana, you never tried anything good in your life!”
Panamanians – they think that their Spanish is the purest and friendliest one and that they are the only Latino country that has never been anyone’s colony.
Costa Ricans – with their Pura Vida – claim that there is no happier and more isolated country than theirs. The beauty of nature and beaches in Costa Rica has no equal and it also has the best places for surfing.
I love Latino people for how much they love themselves, their country and everything that surrounds them.

Their love is contagious – they are so infatuated with their country that not only I don’t have to make any effort not to complain about some imperfections, but actually when another boat is 2 hours late or a bus doesn’t come I use this as an opportunity for having a conversation. And then I hear: “See? It’s good that they aren’t in a rush – at least we can get to know each other better!”

This is why I don’t believe in marketing campaigns for cities or countries.
I don’t believe that their LOGOS have any real meaning at all.
What I do believe is that we all represent the place we live in.
If we want to change the perception of our country we have to start working on it from the inside. Instead of investing in more or less beautiful campaigns we should make sure that all Poles love their country and want others to get to know it, instead of shouting “Poland for Poles” to every Asian or black person on the street.
What is the point of a country being beautiful if its inhabitants either leave it or don’t like it? And they end up beating up the tourists or their own compatriots who look as if they were foreigners.

So, I wish all the marketing people who handle promotion of cities, regions and the whole country to adopt a strategy that is more efficient than creating a new logo. Employ walking logos and a (passionately) talking advertisements from every town and city.
Nothing is more attractive than people who are in love. And 38 millions of people who are in love  in their country – can create quite a serious attracting force.

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