Russian way of branding vs Soft Power

Does Russia has a Branding Strategy? The image of this powerful country in the common imaginary is rather clear and has little to do with what we see a Country Brand. Russia may have a plan to disseminate his ideas in the same way they used to several decades ago. They appear to be living in a new cold war, but in an asymmetric way: developed countries design their Branding Strategic Plans with common coordinates, but Russia has not been able to overcome the concept of propaganda.

If we flew back to the 60s, we would find no major differences in what Russia is doing today and what she did then. Only tools would essentially change.

We cannot forget the brutal social change that Russia had to face since 1989, forced to an almost one step evolution, without a process that allowed its population and structures to assimilate their new scenario.

We can conclude that Russia has no Brand in the terms of modern Branding; its propaganda has been working in a wrong place and when trying to act within its limits, they have failed. Their interference in others´ home affairs (US and France presidential elections, among others), their state-sponsored doping programme…, a way of acting in which traps are a fundamental weapon… together with its iron hand against the rights of gays… have not helped to soften its reputation in the world. We can say that Russia has a highly recognizable image, but not precisely a good one.

Related article: Professor Nye details Russia Information Warfare in this interesting article.

“Branding” a new Empire: China “One Belt, One Road”

The vast economic growing of the last 2 decades was driving China maybe to nowhere. There was no plan, at least not a clear one that aligned a global vision with targets and actions.

Africa is a good example of the invasion of the Chinese industry in key infrastructures. An invasion in the full sense of the word, as it arrived almost in a sudden and with no other permission but that of the local establishment and without any transparency, surrounded by the shadow of corruption.

Hordes of Chinese workers have been the visible face of it for local populations in countries like Angola, some years before the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) plan was born.

The plan has reunited the Chinese intentions to become an empire again, its ambition to colonize economically. President Xi Ping knew how to create the escape valve to a overproduction that did not find its partner in internal consumption. The crisis or underdevelopment were cannon fodder for this Chinese aspiration. After years of investing billions of dollars to improve its image (i.e.Beijing Olympics), Chinese President Xi Jinping aligned aspirations and actions and created a Master Plan for a new type of colonialism that we cannot call branding, as it lacks the core of it.

Anyway, China is doing it its own way: there where a country needs infrastructures and has no money for them, they go and build, “leveraging their own capital to get involved in helping other countries to get wealthier so they can become customers of Chinese products”, as stated by Nick Marro, an analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The OBOR has had the ability and power to get 68 countries involved through one reason or another.  A new Silk Road, both terrestrial and maritime, configure this ambitious Chinese plan that has landed in many countries and that seeks to integrate China in far markets, from central Europe to Africa and Asia. A giant network of ports, infrastructures, companies, road, and key investments aiming to shape a new map under a Chinese crown.

The lack of transparency of the Chinese way of doing brings serious doubts to the consistency of this huge global action.


Recorro las imágenes de décadas de la historia común de los españoles, imágenes de la carrera de Ángel Nieto, y siento cómo yo, como cualquier compatriota que lo haga, se sumerge sin querer, pero queriendo no salir, en un Cuéntame. Un Cuéntame por lo común de lo vivido, por los años que atraviesa esa historia tan entrañable y reconocible.

De Zamora a una chabola en Vallecas. Reconozco que, aún siendo admiradora de siempre de Ángel Nieto, desconocía esa vida de pobreza material que le tocó, pero también reconozco que no esperaba una muy diferente de su relato de determinación, de esfuerzo y de constancia que ahora nos cuentan.

El motociclismo es, desde hace años, parte del ADN español. Lo es como es el fútbol; con menos impacto global, pero con una raigambre popular tan profunda como las propias raíces de nuestro deporte, de todo nuestro deporte, el que nos ha catapultado como marca.

Ángel Nieto fue el mejor en lo suyo, cuando lo suyo ni siquiera existía. No existía como lo entendemos ahora, con el eco de los medios y de las redes sociales. El motociclismo como deporte y como un día a día común a todos.

Las motos, como deporte y como habitualidad, son parte de nuestro sistema nervioso, de ese que compone pieza a pieza lo que finalmente llamamos Marca, Marca España.

“Yo no sé cómo aprendí a ir en moto”, escucho estos días a un Ángel Nieto grabado, en blanco y negro. Pero de Vallecas a Barcelona surgió como si fueran sólo uno, él y una moto, cualquiera, ya Derbi, ya Ducati… A los jóvenes de las redes sociales, a los que ni siquiera vieron ese mono de Ducados, esas motos imposibles de comprender hoy de 50 cc, de 125 cc… las victorias de Ángel Nieto como orgullosos podios de la marmota… tal vez Nieto les suene a la nada, a historias del siglo pasado que nada tienen que ver con ellos.

Somos, si embargo, millones los que nos sentimos parte de aquello, que no es otra cosa que parte de nuestra conciencia, nuestra marca común.

Into a Bonfire of the Vanities

For many, and strong reasons, communication is now more necessary than ever. The absolute lack of essential messages in the global society is driving us to a mortal emptiness. Mortal because it kills the nature of human being. Emptiness because we can surf the world and find nothing that leads us to any worthy place (understanding worthy as real and human).

I am sure I am not the only one that feels that we, the world, are wandering and wasting a precious time. Communication is life, as it is what links one to another. We should be aware of the huge potential we have now to boost those links. The World has suffered deep moments of crisis of all types, and it has overcome them without the tools we now have at our disposal.

Look at the World now. We are in the Global Village and we use it to destroy, disagree, disgust… The new means of Communication are misunderstood, managed by pseudo-leaders, driven by their own vanity. All this has thrown society into a devastating Bonfire of Vanities.

I used to write in a newspaper and I learned that the more you listen to your vanity, the less you serve the truth. Many, too many, people are convinced that Twitter, Instagram… is not a way, but The Place.

I am not entering the topic of the lack of real, personal, communication through the social networks. They are really incredible if they fulfill their role in our society, but vanity has infected them. And, remember, as vanity increases, truth decreases…

Truth understood as a real message: communication, debate, progress, and never a permanent battle for the power, be it the power 2.0 or any other.

World is struggling against vanities, and not taking the responsibility of this momentum. I feel we are immerse in a strong global revolution, comparable in consequences to the Industrial Revolution. This moment will change the World definitely, and we should say it is in our hands to take the right way. But it is not so clear that it is up to us, as we are no more us but a Babel Tower of vanities -at all means and levels- without a converging point.

We feel wars are far from us. We do not feel others´suffer as we should feel with all these instant and global communications means we now have. Social media make us to position ourselves in one side or its opposite. USA-Iraq-Siria-Daesh-Russia-Alepo-Refugees-Europe-Terrorism-Trump-Mexico-Venezuela-Riots… How many -and so different- phrases will us be able to compose with this chain?

Millions of compositions that showcase how messages, communication, are invaded by the vanities of anyone who takes part (fighting, telling, communicating…).

The impossible European brand

When the Malaysian plane was shot down in Ucraine, the European Union failed again to react as it had to. The EU has shown once more that it is not a real country, but an economic and little more meeting of 28.

The United States reacted immediately and Obama spoke loud and clear. Russia was the one to blame for the disaster and maybe there were too many crossed interests in Europe to allow Brussels to shout firmly with one single and unique voice.

While that silent was the only sound arising from the EU, the bodies of dozens of Dutchmen were received in Amsterdam. British Prime Minister was the one to take the EU voice and claim for exemplary actions against Russia. But that was a suspicious voice, in a time of European rivalries of the strongest towards the continental leadership.

This is the last sample of the lack of authority of the EU in the global context. Although the Lisbon Treaty tried to amend this strengthening the head with a new Presidency and created the position of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, nothing has effectively changed.

The result is European foreign policy keeps being the same. Too many different actors with too many different interests.

I can guess that Europe will not be able to shape its own brand, as there is not a shared and uniform reality. The lack of identity and character is enough to turn it in an impossible dream.


República Dominicana: cómo ser una marca diferente

Hemos trabajado durante meses en el análisis del potencial de República Dominicana en el ámbito de la Marca País. De entidades privadas en la península de Samaná a la promoción de una National Brand, todo busca el mismo objetivo: diferenciarse del resto del Caribe, mostrar su identidad singular, hacer de RD un lugar que atraiga por lo que realmente es. Cuna de la Historia en América, inicio de su cultura, memoria de unos lazos que perduran. Un país singular.

> Ir la artículo publicado por Marta Vallejo Arenaz en (principal medio del Caribe)

Emitir mensajes o comunicar

Los planes de comunicación de cualquier tipo de organización suelen fallar por falta de proactividad, dinamismo, compromiso y entusiasmo. La mayoría ni siquiera tienen en cuenta estas condiciones para hacer que sean efectivos.

Especialmente cuando se trata de políticas de comunicación institucional, la carencia de estas actitudes es siempre la causa principal de sus fracasos.