In any national branding strategy, we cannot ignore intellectual property (IP), an effective tool to maintain a positive national image.
Currently, the world is a huge market and each country needs to know how to operate as a business. In this globalized world, competition between countries is increasingly fierce to welcome more tourists, to sell more goods at home and abroad, and to attract more foreign investment and foreign talent.
This is one of the main factors that determine a nation's position in the world, whether it moves forward or falls behind.
Brazil reminds us about the carnival
It must be affirmed that to be able to improve competitiveness in the market a country must find an identity for itself to attract "customers" around the world.
When we talk about France, for example, we think of luxury goods, wine, and travel. Regarding Italy, we think about well-known fashion brands, pizza, and cheese. Germany reminds us about discipline and mechanics, while we admire Japan’s high-quality consumer electronic products or sophisticated, beautiful cuisine. For Brazil, we think of the carnival, Amazon forest or football.
The impressions, images and emotions that we have for a country are its national brand. For years, this concept has attracted the attention of many countries around the world.
National identity is an economic value that must be exploited, and therefore we need to build and advertise a national identity. However, it is necessary to clearly distinguish between the concept of a national brand - the national image and identity in the eyes of international friends - and the concept of trademark that is applied to products or services, which distinguishes between goods and services and is protected by intellectual property rights (IP).
Simon Anholt, one of the fathers of the concept of National Brand, stated: “The fate of nations is not only in relations between governments, it is increasingly dependent on relations between that country with the international community as a whole. Being loved by the people of the world is a very meaningful thing for a country, a city or a region, and also for businesses and products of that country."
This leading expert of Nation Branding says that “a national brand is the image of the competitive identities of a country”. To clarify this concept, he emphasized "only one global superpower these days: the public opinion of 7 billion people". This means that a country's reputation will be enhanced, and its economic competitiveness will be higher, when people around the world are more sympathetic to that country.
An effective tool for maintaining a positive image of the nation
It cannot be denied that nation branding is a true "marketing" strategy for many countries.
It could be a strategy aimed at increasing exports, attracting tourists or foreign investment, implemented by a trade and tourism authority, in coordination with domestic social and business organizations. It could also be a diplomatic strategy to enhance the national reputation on the international stage. Many countries do not hesitate to implement a mixed campaign, including the two types of strategies.
When looking through these core points, we see that in any nation branding strategy, we cannot ignore IP rights, an extremely effective tool to maintain a positive image of the country.
First of all, it must be emphasized that a national brand is not a specific sign that can be protected like an IP right. However, a national brand can be built and strengthened through the protection of IP rights of domestic enterprises.
Specifically, trademarks and geographical indications are tools that can not only ensure the distinctiveness of a business's products and services in the eyes of each individual customer, but also can create a unique nation brand through the process.
K-pop, Korean dramas are everywhere
Copyright also plays an important role in promoting a national brand. When copyright is properly and effectively protected, it has the effect of strongly promoting the development of the entertainment industry - one of the most effective means of bringing national images to the world.
If K-pop and Korean dramas are present all over the world, becoming part of the national brand of South Korea, it is partly thanks to South Korea's copyright policies. Patent rights are the same - the number of patents registered in a country is an indicator of the level of scientific and technological development of that country.
Promoting and encouraging the patent sector is to create a lasting attraction to talent and to foreign investment, promoting a dynamic and creative national image.
Working group for Japanese Brand
Understanding the role of IP policy, when Japan built its brand, it was the team of the Intellectual Property Policy Headquarters of this country that was assigned the task of creating a working group on national brand.
The purpose of the working group was to discuss the constituent elements of the Japanese Brand and measures to promote the image of Japan in the world, through the diffusion of its unique values. Japan then focused on the entertainment industry, culinary culture, domestic brands and fashion as the constituent elements of Nation Brand.
In any field, measures to promote national brands are always associated with IP policies. Another example is Switzerland: in order to ensure its image as a country with high quality products, with high reputation, the country has used IP policy measures to ensure quality criteria of products that meet the "Swiss Made" (made in Switzerland) standard as well as prevent the "Swiss" indication from being used to advertise non-standard items.
Obviously, an effective and reasonable IP legal environment will be a solid foundation for building the National Brand. Unfortunately, however, IP rights are not really respected in Vietnam, nor have they played a key role in the National Branding strategy. In order to be able to build and promote the National Brand, a more dynamic IP policy, in line with new requirements in the new technology era, is indispensable for our country.
Dr. Le Thi Thien Huong
The national brand will help build a new flag to turn all Vietnamese people around the world to look forward a common vision.
Vietnam is seen as an attractive destination for investment. We are introducing ourselves as people who "want to play" with the world in a transparent, legal manner.