Branding shift pushed

A Business branding campaign could be unveiled later this year by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) as part of efforts to boost exports and attract investors.

The initiative, NCC private sector cochairman Guillermo M. Luz told BusinessWorld yesterday, also aims to build on the positive reception for the “More Fun in the Philippines” tourism campaign.

“We need to push for this trade and investment branding within the year, but we don’t want to rush into the project because we want to build on the major brand platform [launched for tourism] to maintain coherence,” Mr. Luz said.

“When you look at the central theme... it should translate to the following: ‘I want to do business with Filipinos. I want to invest in Filipinos.’ You’re not just going to a place. You think about the people you want to work with and the people whom you want to work for you.”

Development of the business brand campaign, like its tourism counterpart, will be bid out to the private sector. The NCC will be working with agencies such as the Tourism, Trade and Finance departments, to draft the terms of reference, Mr. Luz said.

“I think the application of the next country brand should focus on promoting exports of goods and services and trade,” he noted.

“What I want to see is not a country that is merely a source of people, but a source of service. We have people who executive service exceedingly well -- whether it’s health care, education, or IT (information technology).”

For merchandise exports, the country brand should communicate Philippine advantages in sectors such as electronics and agribusiness, Mr. Luz explained.

“We have to be aware... [that] brand competition among countries is ongoing everywhere. It’s not just a slogan or a logo.

“While people are assessing where they want to take their business and with whom they want to do business, we have to be able to project to them who we are... and we need to pitch something that’s credible,” he said.

The NCC will this year also advocate the creation of a national branding council, which will be tasked to ensure coherent implementation of strategies to promote the Philippines.

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