Integrating nation brand values and investment attraction

The Place2Place podcast brings together two place leaders worldwide for an insightful, honest discussion about how city, region, and nation brand and marketing organisations can tackle their biggest challenges. We've synthesised the key discussion points from a previous episode to give you top-line access to these discussions. This episode was originally released on July 21st 2021.

Whether you’re a city or a country, your values should be at the heart of your place brand strategy. Asbjørn Overgaard Christiansen, CEO of Copenhagen Capacity, joins Constanza Cea, then the Director of Marca Chile, to discover how Chile is connecting values and social entrepreneurship to drive investment into the country.

The focus of the Marca Chile Brand 

Asbjørn started the conversation by asking how Chile balances their focus on different cities within the country to ensure that the focus isn’t solely on the capital city. This is a challenge that many places face – the capital is often more established in international perceptions than other cities, for example.

For Marca Chile, the strategy encompasses the whole country, but specific programmes are designed to help cities embrace the nation brand. Constanza highlighted their licensee programme as one such example that works throughout the country in this way, with approximately 900 brands and institutions proudly using the brand. Of those, half are in the capital city, Santiago, with the other half spread across the rest of the country. Moreover, the institution deals with specific requests from locations that need guidance on branding their destination and using the nation brand to highlight their unique advantages. The wine industry is just one example of the work that Marca Chile is doing in this area.

The shift to digital-first campaigns

Digital transformation has been front and centre for many years, but the recent COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for a digital-first approach. However, for Chile, this approach had already been a core tenet of their strategy for several years.

“Some five years ago, there was this shift to the digital world. We have built the strength, and luckily, when the pandemic came, we already had a community of around 3 million followers,” Constanza explained, sharing that in 2020, they hit their target of having 75% of their digital reach be international and 25% local. “That was a target we had - being able to reach an international audience is key for us, and we did a lot of research in order to be able to tackle topics that were of interest for that audience."

Like many others, while the pandemic created numerous organisational challenges, it also opened many opportunities for the brand: for example, they strengthened their website, making it the heart of the Marca Chile digital ecosystem. Furthermore, Marca Chile helped other stakeholders to build their digital strengths that all had lacked before the pandemic. As well as strengthening Chile’s overall digital presence, it also created new opportunities for the team to work with their private sector and demonstrate the value that the Chilean nation brand is bringing to their businesses.

Nurturing the start-up community in Chile

In 2010, Chile launched ‘Start-up Chile’ campaign, a first-of-its-kind governmental programme that focused on building an entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in Chile, offering capital to people no matter where they are from and attracting talent internationally. “They started talking about Chile-con Valley, rather than Silicon Valley!” Constanza exclaimed, before going on to explain that the model was then exported to around 50 countries around the world.

Ten years on, Chile has built a strong environment of social entrepreneurship that has seen over 2,000 start-ups supported by the programme. "There is a way of thinking in Chileans related to starting up. We are one of the countries with the greatest number of startups in Latin America, and it is pretty big even in looking at the entire world. It was a detonator of innovation and startup," Constanza continued.

In 2020, Chile began to build off the back of this success and launched a new strategy focusing on the creative capacity of its people as a key differentiator between Chile and other countries. The organisation highlighted a few cases in the "Chile creating futures" campaign to showcase the startups created in Chile to the international market and demonstrate the entrepreneurial spirit and the capacity for innovation in the country. For instance, Chile was able to talk about their sustainable ambition through the lens of Chilean organisations working to make the world a better place. Constanza referenced a business that made furniture from rescued wood from the bottom of the lakes and oceans in Chile and an exercise app that as allowed you to turn the number of calories burnt whilst running into donations that went directly to destinations suffering from hunger.

"It is one of the values we communicate as a country brand. Start-up Chile is now a part of the country's identity, and it is part of what we are showing to the world."

The focus on sustainability and quality of life 

Asbjørn highlighted that Copenhagen shares many of the same values as Chile, such as a focus on sustainability, quality of life, and fostering an innovative business culture. These attributes become the core tenets of your city or country brand, and Constanza highlighted that Chile’s pillars are sustainability, quality of life, and innovation for better citizenship. “As a country, we are connected to the world,” Constanza continued. We believe we are building its future with our hands and contributing to a better world where our purpose is to contribute with our creativity and resilience to build a better world for everyone, but responsibly.”

Chile has started shifting to renewable forms of energy, with the vision that 70% of the energy matrix will come from renewable energies by 2030. Chile also engaged their citizens in the process of creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Chile at a personal level – for example, to stop using single-use plastic - and at a business level. Local brands that have environmental sustainability or social purpose at their core and align with the values of the Marca Chile brand are well-supported.

Managing the relationship between your nation brand and your country’s politics

Nation brands often have a complicated relationship with the political situation in their country, whether that’s because policy decision are made that don’t align with the nation brand values or because new leadership want to change the direction of the nation brand strategy.

Asbjørn broached the topic of Chile's political situation by asking how the country’s constitutional process was impacting the nation's brand marketing. While Marca Chile is not a political organisation, Constanza did acknowledge the importance of being a source of accurate information about the country’s political developments, as well as being able to evaluate the perception of Chile internationally to uncover potential harm to the country's reputation.

“It’s a big issue for us, and it’s something that’s called the attention of the world. It’s a process that’s been decided by the people, and we’re focused on showing how our people are a big contribution,” Constanza explained. “We’re building our future as a young country.”

If you'd like to learn more, you can listen to the conversation between Costanza and Asbjørn at Place2Place | Episode 4: Copenhagen & Chile: Integrating nation brand values and investment attraction.

Missed the event in person? Don't worry...

The Place Brand Portfolio is City Nation Place's searchable portfolio of Awards case studies from the past five years.