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I feel Slovenia

1.

Why the need of a brand?

To begin with, the concept of branding plays a huge role in any countrys touristic
activity and not only. Everybody understands this concept, even if at different levels. For
Slovenia, the need for a strong-built and impressive brand was of utmost importance. And there
are plenty of reasons to support this affirmation.
If we take a look at Slovenias history, we notice that only recently it has become an
independent country, more precisely since 1991. Until then, Slovenia was one of the Yugoslav
republics. Obviously, this big step triggered the need of standing out of the crowd, of making it
known as self-standing country. Slovenia is actually a small young country, with a population
encompassing less than 2 million persons and an area of about 20.000 km 2. It was difficult at the
same time for its population to develop a personalized attitude and feeling towards this country.
On the other hand, there was the competition with other countries (for instance, Austria,
Hungary, Croatia etc, represented a bigger competition than other European countries). As being
a brand new country in Europe, Slovenias name did not have a big echo, as a consequence, all
the strategies for branding this country needed to start from zero.

I mentioned above that Slovenia had bigger competitors, in matters of what it could offer
to the tourists as a country. I refer here to touristic attractions, to natural resources, namely
landscapes and natural destinations, places special designed for tourists. If we consider Austria,
for instance, it is easy noticeable that Slovenia resembles to it in many concerns, such as natural
riches or landscapes. Since Austria and Slovenia are neighbors, it is obvious that they both have
alike geography.

Also, another reason that stands relevant when it comes to Slovenias need of a good
brand is the often confusion to Slovakia. As a matter of fact, these two countries names are very
alike, which explains the unintentional confusion. As a relevant example of this nature, George
W. Bush and Silvio Berlusconi have called Slovenian presidents and Prime ministers Slovak
by mistake in front of the journalists. It was revealed that every month members of the Slovenian
and Slovak embassies meet to exchange wrongly-addressed e-mails.
What is more, not only the names, but also the flags are highly alike, same colors, but in a slight
different

distribution.

The

differences

are

pictured

Slovenias flag

in

the

following

images:

Slovakias flag

In conclusion to all these, it is clear that Slovenia needs to develop a strong country
branding. Not only it is a young country with weak recent history, but the confusion with other
European countries and its misleading name and flag require serious changes, both in these
visual elements and in long-term strategy.

2. Previous attempts in building a country brand

The broad campaign in 2007, I Feel Slovenia is not the only one in the campaign
history of this country. As a matter of fact, there have been several attempts in building a
brand for Slovenia, but all failed, due to different reasons.
The first campaign, Slovenia my country started in 1986, while Slovenia was
still part of the Yugoslav Republic. It had two slogans: Tourism is people and On the
Sunny side of the Alps, directed to inside market, respectively to the external one. The logo
was represented by a green linden leaf and even today is seen as the best campaign of all the
previous ones. Its purpose was to boast peoples confidence in Slovenias development and
indeed it managed that. The campaign lasted until 1996, when the linden leaf was replaced
with a bundle of flowers. This campaign had the strongest impact on the citizens, since it
managed to induce them the idea that each and every person has the power of influencing
tourism and making tourists feeling well in their country. Ever since, the linden leaf remains
important for the Slovenians.
Since 1996, Slovenias logo was followed by more slogans, but none was as deep as
the previous one. Nonetheless, the most frequent used slogan was Slovenia The green
piece of Europe. The logo remained the bundle of flowers. This campaign was not more
successful than the previous one, since it was replaced, in 2004, by a new one.
Slovenia invigorates started in 2004, the same year with its accession to the
European Union and it was designed to serve not only in tourism, but in other areas too. The
biggest failure of the campaign was the difficulty that people showed in understanding it.
Not only the Slovenians, but also the tourists did not fully understand it. Indeed, what the
campaign meant had political aims at the same time, inducing the idea that Slovenia
invigorates the European Union. At the same time, this was Slovenias hope of positioning
itself abroad, of connecting with other countries politically, in short, to create a good
impression, good enough to raise interest among other countries.
Unfortunately all these campaigns failed in offering Slovenia the chance of
becoming an important touristic destination. Among the most common reasons, the
campaigns focused more on visual elements than creating a successful strategy. The slogan
change was so often, that no campaign proved strong enough to last more than the previous
one. Not to mention the lack of a story behind each campaign, something supported by good
arguments and facts.
Fortunately, Slovenia still has a chance: the last campaign, started in 2007
and it is still in use: I feel sLOVEnia demonstrated that long term work and research can

conclude in success, since it has shown that lately Slovenia counts itself among the countries
with the best branding campaign. After all, it is all about the greenrepresenting the
country, representing anything Slovenian!

3. I feel sLOVEnia - How it all started


First of all the Government Communication Office (UKOM) announced in 2006 an
anonymous competition for the design of a new logo and slogan of Slovenia. The winning idea
was the slogan I feel Slovenia. The jury was composed of members of the Council for the
Promotion of the Republic of Slovenia and four external experts. After this, UKOM also
designed a graphic image for the slogan. The idea wasnt created with the purpose to become a
brand. But because it was a nice idea they started puting this slogan on t-shirts, basseball caps,
etc. One important man of the country, the prime minister started to wear a basseball cap with
the slogan in his public appearances. National media started to talk about it a lot, in a pozitive
way and thats how from a simple slogan it become a country brand. The Slovenia brand was
developed and designed in 2007.
The ministry of economy was encharged with the creation of the brand that will represent
Slovenia abroad. For the entire process he received 200 000 euros. In october 2007 the Slovenia
Brand Manual and the Business Document was created by a company named Pristop. The
identity couldnt be created from the bottom up because the slogan was already created. So they
used a free style process for creating the brand.

The process of developing the brand was complex and contained four phases:
1. Proposed country brand identity model. In this phase they realised that the brand
should contain the folowing elements: vision, mission, values, personality, benefits and
distinguishing preferences.
2. Review of relevant secondary data contained the review of previous efforts to build
Slovenia as a brand, a review of Slovenias brand equity in the eyes of foreigners,
strategic documents about the country. They also examinated the brands of other selected
foreign countries wich revealed good and bad case practices of a brand process.
3. Collection of primary data methodology of a three-step approach. In this phase
the primary data was collected whith a complex methodology:
Delphi method - 30 opinion leaders from key areas (economy, tourism, culture,
science, sports, state and the civic sphere
a questionnaire - 707 representatives from the key area
questions on the web site - the view of the general public (about 700 000 )
4. Development of brand identity

The elements of the brand identity are common to all areas mentioned above and
represents the foundation of the Slovenian experience. (what Slovenia and Slovenians mean).
Distinguishing preferences that dfferentiate Slovenia from the other countries are:
preserved nature(unspoiled nature), a cross roads of natural variety(Alps, Mediterranean Sea,
Panonia Land), safety and the importance of Slovenian language and its dialects.
Regarding Personality slovenian people have a big desire for recognition and aproval for
their work and consider themselves as tenacious, active and hardworking individuals.
The Slovenian Values are: family, health, attachment to their local environment and
responsability towards the environment and the human beings that surround them.
The Benefits that Slovenia has to offer for its people are wonderful. First of all the
accesibility, the small area whith a pristine nture, the rich history and diverse culture provides a
very good quality of life. Secondly, the slovenian lifestyle promotes activity , stimulates giving
the wish to do something remarcable, to be involved in everything that makes a difference(the
wish to contribute). And of course an important benefit of Slovenia is the fact that people are in
touch with nature and have a great awareness of responsability towards environment.
The Mission is going forward with nature, that means focusing on organic
development, promoting a niche economy, welcoming diversity , and attracting the best
technological and human potential.(vision)
The Core of Slovenias Brand is the emotional promise of pleasant excitement, the
functional promise for the elemental and of course the Slovenian green. This green is more than

just a color, is the expression for the balance between the calm of the nature and the tenacity of
Slovenians; the expression for all the elements mentioned above and for the balance between all
senses in which people had experienced the country.
Moreover, for Slovenians the green color is like the smell of a forest, a babbling brook, a
surprising taste of water or like the softness of wood. This is the visual image of I feel Slovenia.
The story of the brand is visualized by the slogan I feel Slovenia (Slovenijo utim)
which was chosen in advance and a logo designed for it after the brand identity characteristics.
The logos green color speaks about the typical experience of Slovenias brand and the inclined
sides speak about the pleasant excitement among the nature.

The slogan wants to transmit for the Slovenians patriotism and the feeling that they are
connected with their country and for the others/foreign public the pleasant excitement of
Slovenian people when they are involved in what they enjoy, in what they consider a part of
themselves.
When was the right timing to launch the brand? After the brand was totally created in
2007 the following step was that the Government Communication Office (UKOM) was named as
the guardian of the brand. Because the creation of the brand was finished just before the
Slovenias Presidency for EU they choose not to promote the brand internationally only
nationally. They started spreading flyers about I feel Slovenia to every single house in the
country to inform and motivate the public about the brand and the people were also asked to say
their opinion about the brand. All of them had positive thoughts about it and the purpose was
achieved: people started to identify themselves with the brand.
Communicating the brand. They choose to promote themselves in English all around
the world because they think the world love that is unique in their country name is understood
by everyone, even if they dont speak English. The promotion was continued with brochures and
promotion on tourism websites at fist.
Passing the years, the brand was mostly used in tourism area. They started to participate
at trade fairs, at events that took place in Slovenia and abroad, to have more publications, more
advertising on the subject, more souvenirs and promotional gifts with the brands identity and
logo that contributed to a greater recognition of the brand and the country itself.

Starting with 2010, the brand (the visual part) was also used in other areas. The brand's
visual elements were included in major sports events, such as the Olympic Games, the FIFA
World Cup, and the World Basketball Championship.
Even today increasing efficiency and awareness of the brand I feel Slovenia represents
one of the Countrys priority by providing Slovenia a clear position

and an effective

management and implementation of the brand. In 2011 they celebrated 20 years of independency
and they updated the market field and the communication field (especially advertising tools) in
order to increase the communication efficiency of the brand.

4. Brand analysis
The ever-evolving media landscape of todays consumer society is changing the way
companies position their brands on the market and differentiate themselves from competition.
On one side, consumers are exposed to a sheer amount of information, on the other side, through
the internet, this information can be filtered and compared, creating major challenges for brand
custodians to develop strategies that sustain competitiveness and resonate with their customers
values. The more information is available, the more knowledge consumers obtain about a brand,
the more difficult it gets for a brand to differentiate itself from competition.
Successful Brands are conceived as entities who impersonate major lifestyles, cultural
trends and the zeitgeist of specific times. They do so, by carefully listening to their consumers
and by crafting a product, quality, or an experience that proposes emotional satisfaction.
Developing coherent and comprehensive country brands is of vital importance for transitional
countries as branding can contribute to the success of transition. Central and Eastern Europe is a
typical transitional region where the evolution of country branding provides valuable insights
and experiences for other transitional regions as well.
Every single expression of a brands message comes to symbolize the host of values that
build its multifaceted identity, though constantly classified and reflected by its customers over
experiences with the brand. Thus in order to build preference and affinity that goes beyond the
features, benefits and even the performances of products, strategic branding establishes
experiences across all touch points and constantly engages in dialogue with a brands consumer.
The 21st century is an unprecedented time of marketplace innovation where technology directly
mediates consumer behavior and participation, habits and interactions, web-based advertising, etailing and virtual branding. Successful brands will continue to come and go. But the great ones

will develop methods to leverage on the new marketplace. However, the internet changed the
fortunes of print publishers in most countries, generally for the worse, as print no longer
uniquely satisfied many of the objectives which advertisers relied upon. Brands seeking
engagement are presented with measurable engagement online and the desire to associate with
trust-worthy content can also be fulfilled there.
Media coverage pays a crucial role in shaping investors' or tourists' attitudes and
perceptions. International media are systematically monitored by the Ministries of Foreign
Affairs usually through the embassies on the daily basis. National tourism organisations through
their network also carry out media monitoring and reporting. Systematic media content analyses
are carried out less frequently although they can reveal much more about the tone and nature of
coverage than a pile of press clippings. Negative coverage about a country, its government,
politicians are not rare phenomena although countries react differently depending on the nature
and extent of the negatives issues covered. Negative coverage can influence investors as well and
even jeopardise any branding initiatives. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International published an
open letter as a whole page advertisement in the Financial Times on 21st May, 2005 in which
they warned the companies that were considering investments in Serbia. The open letter was
addressed to the Serbian deputy Prime Minister and warned potential investors about the risk of
investing in Serbia, by sharing their negative experiences as investors.
Mass media has an important point of view in our lives. From simple things to major
events, media by its presence, exhibit an enormous influence. Concerning Slovenias country
brand, media opinions are really spread. Significantly strong brands need to be initially well
accepted among their internal stakeholders. According to the present theoretical background in
the field of country brands, awareness and acceptance of the brand is first detected among those
stakeholders who are also professionally involved in its development and marketing. Later, it
usually also accepted by the inhabitants of the country. Moreover, a prerequisite of awareness
and acceptance of the brand by internal stake holders requires an appropriate strategy, which is
carried and operated by the administrators of the brand. The results of a preliminary studie indicate that
the brand I feel Slovenia is well known to the Slovenian public. The familiarity and affection to the
brand are mainly due to its visual elements (logo and slogan). In the article, was examined the
extent to which identity features are known to the professional public and the people of Slovenia.
Slovenia brand manual.

The group of representatives and so-called opinion leaders in key areas of the country
knew the slogan and the logo very well, while some participants of the focus group knew the
slogan and the logo only roughly. Interestingly, most participants from both focus groups can
identify themselves with the majority of identity elements of the brand I feel Slovenia; however, it is
necessary to point out that those elements had been introduced to them previously in more detail.
Likewise, the results suggest that Slovenes could identify themselves with the contents of the
brand, if they would have been introduced with the appropriate content. The results we obtained
suggest that the brand has great potential, since most of the Slovenes could identify the contents
of the mark, if they were presented the appropriate content. Transmission of the brand content
and identity characteristics can be made by different opinion leaders and operators of the mark in
its key areas; however, mainly the administrator of the brand should provide brands systematic and long-term
development. Most important way to promote a country abroad and improve its visibility or
image is by using the so called nation-branding technique. This is the case also for Slovenia.
That this half-Alpine, half-Adriatic country decided to use more and more of soft power in
managing its reputation becomes obvious with the clear strong messages and slogans delivered
in recent years, such as I Feel Slovenia.
A fundamental change in attitude arises during the 18 th Century with the spreading of the
enlightenment ideas in Europe. Three central emerging ideas of this period is first a new vision
of the world away from the old division into classes (Nobility, clergy and the third estate)
towards a system of equality where each member of a society exists as an individual. The second
innovative idea is the concept of self-determination in opposition with the deterministic world
determined by God only. Those change in the way of thinking changes not only the face of
Europe in a tremendous way but also the use and how nation Branding has been applied. The
apparition of the individual their right of self-determination jeopardized the legitimacy of
different monarch who derived their power from God only and forced the elite of the time to
adapt their position by other mean.
The recent concept and idea behind nation branding has been invented by Edward Louis
Bernays during the 1920s in the USA. It first consisted to uses the ideas of his Uncle Sigmund
Freuds to subconsciously push people to consume certain products, what we nowadays
understand as marketing. One famous example was his cigarette campaign in the 1920s on behalf
of a tobacco company. The aim of this campaign was to make it socially acceptable for woman to
smoke. A campaign as we can testify was more than successful. But soon he realized that those

techniques could be applied to politics by controlling the masses from their own irrationally. The
horrors occurred during the Second World War was taken as a proof that people cannot be trusted
and that they are irrational. Where Bernays once used his uncle idea to increase corporate sales
by bypassing the mind of their consumers he then used his skills to sell political ideas and push
people to think was is believed to be right. The term public relation has been coined by
Bernays in consequence which he defined as propaganda in peace time. So is Nation branding
only about controlling people inside the country? Is it justified to show only the brightest so give
a huge gap between the suggested image and reality? Is it not also dangerous?
I feel sLOVEnia-is it only a game of words?
I Feel SLOVEnia summarizes the key elements of the countrys identity, expresses a
vision of the country, and conveys a symbolic promise. However, merely knowing al these things
does not suffice, one has to live it, feel it-through words, sounds, colors, touch, actions and
experience. The mission is clear: going forward with nature, which means focusing on organic
development, promoting a niche economy, welcoming diversity, and attracting the best
technological and human potential. Slovenia is a diverse country occupying a small area with
pristine nature, diverse culture, rich history and enviable quality of life. This is a small piece of
an article.
Regarding the question mentioned below, yes, I Feel SLOVEnia may be a game of
words if we refer to subliminal perception. (Subliminal perception occurs whenever stimuli
presented below the threshold or limit for awareness is found to influence thoughts, feelings,
or actions. The term subliminal perception was originally used to describe situations in which
weak stimuli were perceived without awareness. In recent years, the term has been applied more
generally to describe any situation in which unnoticed stimuli are perceive).
In international press it is mentioned that Slovenia tries to magnetize tourists applying to
feelings.
Another important fact mentioned in the media is Slovenia is presenting itself with a new
game on Facebook called Slo(www)Bus. The game is for all, who want to get to know Slovenia
and its sights of interest, regions, people, and customs in a playful way. The main aim of the
game is to make sure a bus full of passengers safely and merrily reaches the finish line, and to
gain the highest number of points possible in intermediate stations and win a super prize for the
full bus of friends (prize for 30 people).

With the new game, which is available on the new FaceBook site SLO(www)BUS, the
Slovenian Tourist Board is implementing its strategy of active and dynamic appearance on social
networks. Its purpose is to establish an active SLO(www)BUS community, supported by
attractive, current, and content rich information.
The Heart of Slovenia brand has good potential of development. The starting point of a
marketing strategy for the region is to identify the product families which could be developed
with reference to available resources and desired targets. Such strategy will have to be
implemented in strict synergy with the National tourism organization, to valorize the Heart of
Slovenia as part of I feel Slovenia brand.
STRENGHTS

presence of small active

entrepreneurs interested in

developing tourism business

unexploited authentic rural

environment

artistic and cultural medieval

features in Kamnik

authentic shepherd shelters on

Velika Planina plateau

local quality wine and food products

WEAKNESSES

lack of accommodation facilities

weak product consistency

shortage of Unique Destination

Proposition (UDP)

shortage of tourism services in the

rural areas

low accessibility to tourism

attractions

OPPORTUNITIES

possible cooperation with an active

and efficient national tourism

organization

proximity to Ljubljana

potential attraction to domestic

targets, as schools, groups and

families

growing interest in rural tourism on

the international market

growth of average income in

Slovenia and therefore of potential

tourists

competitive price policy

THREATS

competitive scenario

well known neighbouring Slovenian

destinations

unknown brand
Making the most of love from sLOVEnia is the best thing they could ever do.

Bibliography:

http://letsfeelslovenia.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/nation-branding-by-michael-schweda/
http://www.ukom.gov.si/en/promotion_of_slovenia/country_brand_i_feel_slovenia/
www.slovenia.info
http://nation-branding.info/2009/11/04/branding-slovenia/
http://miha2.ef.uni-lj.si/posiljanjenovic/Dokumenti/file/konecnikruzzier_dbb_ifs2011.pdf
http://www.slideshare.net/NationBranding/the-brand-of-slovenia
http://www.futurebrand.com/wpcontent/uploads/2010/11/CBI_BBC_2010_execsummary.
pdf