The strategy for presenting Lithuania abroad
Since 1996, Lithuania has made several attempts to build a national brand. Unfortunately, historically, these efforts have not been very successful. Taking into consideration the previous lessons learnt, the Brand Lithuania Group has decided to build a new strategy for presenting Lithuania abroad based on strict nation brand methodology surveys, involving general public and ministries as well as public institutions responsible for presenting Lithuania abroad, also involving experts of nation branding and other key areas.
Though it has taken longer than it might otherwise, the decision was made to take a sustainable path that involved all stakeholders. It was key to ensure that the brand was clearly related to real life and the vision and values held by Lithuanians. Equally, it was important to ensure the strategy was practical and achievable, and also fit for the goals of the public authorities and of stakeholders. Another goal was to discover what it was that Lithuania could offer to the world to ensure that the chosen positioning would meet the expectations of Lithuania itself, as well as those of the target countries.
Identifying existing nation brand perceptions
From January 2019 – January 2020, the Brand Lithuania Group carried out a large scale project to identify the international and domestic perceptions of Lithuania, and to uncover the existing reputation and identity of Lithuania. Within this framework, qualitative and quantitative surveys were conducted locally and in a selected sample of 14 countries. Concurrently, the Brand Lithuania Group organised five conferences for the public sector representatives to strengthen stakeholder involvement with the strategy. The Brand Lithuania Group also participated in six large-scale public events to implement the Lithuanian DNA campaign, aimed at closer public involvement.
From February to April in 2020, the proposed positioning of Lithuania was analysed in comparison to Nordic and Central European brands, along with SWOT analysis of the communication of Lithuania abroad. Then from May through August, the team refined the country positioning and key communication strands, creating a 10-year action plan and a 3-year tactical plan. Looking forwards, from October 2020 to October 2021, trainings and presentations of the nation brand strategy have been planned for key stakeholders.
Ultimately, the team finalised a strategy for presenting Lithuania abroad 2020-2030, incorporating communication goals and planned actions – and all agreed between the national institutions. The close cooperation helped to build an inter-institutional team, which is planned to continue in the future to coordinate the nation brand marketing activities and deliver a uniform, synchronised presentation of Lithuania abroad. Ultimately, extensive data analysis enabled the team to achieve an outcome that is line with the national values, the direction taken by the state, and the institutional objectives.