Interview with Kristina Plavšak Krajnc, M.Sc., Director at the Republic of Slovenia Government Communication Office

Steen Holse Andersen Steen Holse Andersen Chief Operating Officer, LB Forsikring

We caught up with Kristina Plavšak Krajnc, Director at the Republic of Slovenia Government Communication Office to discuss how collaboration is the key to successful place branding.

What impact is the increase in “fake news” having on your own approach to place branding?

I truly believe that place branding should be based on objective facts and real values - one cannot fake a brand in the long run. Though there have been various attempts to do so, including the use of fake news, sooner or later these were revealed. However, one has to be aware of the increasing trend of fake news, and how this can be potentially damaging to one’s image and reputation. Therefore, efficient techniques and activities to counter fake news should be put in place with every organisation.

Do you think the job of place branding is easier or more challenging now than it was five years ago? And why?

On one hand, it is easier due to constantly developing communication channels, offering so many more options and ways to reach diverse audiences and consumers around the world. On the other hand, it’s also more challenging! The world is changing so fast and the competition among states and nations is thus even more severe. You have to be constantly alert, responsive, diplomatic in just the right way…

How do you think an effective place branding strategy for a city, region or nation can contribute to that place’s economic resilience?

In terms of economics, I’m sure that products and services originating in a certain state which puts effort into effective and persuasive national brand strategy can significantly benefit from a better image and greater recognition in international markets. We have achieved some excellent results with several co-branding arrangements between the national brand and Slovenian companies, both large exporters and start-ups.

What is the key to successful collaboration between stakeholder teams and departments engaged together in a place branding strategy?

It is most important to set common objectives and framework for regular consultation and cooperation. Different stakeholders, teams and departments have to share common goals and values, believe in them and be prepared to be engaged. The process of collaboration has to be well managed, activities and projects well planned and also evaluated in a broader team. Working with various actors requires a lot of understanding, listening, patience.  

What is the key to maintaining the momentum of your place branding or place marketing strategy?

The key is always staying positive, persistent, curious and creative. If a place/nation brand is well conceived, the branding should work in the long run. However, one has to remain open to new challenges and global dynamics, constantly researching, analysing, evaluating, re-thinking, trying to find new ways, being inclusive. We’ve been through many tests in the past ten years since Slovenia has its own national brand I feel Slovenia. We had some hard times during the financial and economic crisis, but we remained persistent with the brand and got through successfully.

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.