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    Developing and managing a brand: Case study of Scotland


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2003

    Scotland's economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, created a special project called 'Scotland the Brand' in 1994, to explore the benefits of integrating the marketing of Scottish trade, tourism and culture. They had noted that country of origin can be a key factor in a consumer's purchasing decision, and that countries such as New Zealand, Ireland and Spain had developed successful branding initiatives. The challenge for Scotland was to capitalize on an existing awareness, and become more cohesive in its marketing efforts.

    • Branding as an export development concept. The proposal was submitted to 150 business leaders at a conference, in order to determine whether it was a viable concept and would create commercial advantage. With support for the concept obtained, they tested the idea. They conducted a tourism drive, and simultaneously arranged a month-long pilot promotion in France with Marks & Spencer. Food, drink and cultural exports had a 200% rise. Over 30 such integrated marketing events have been undertaken since then.
    • Developing and managing a generic mark. Authenticity, quality and tradition were put forth as traits. They developed a 'country of origin' mark to offer a guarantee of quality. Scotland the Brand took on membership status, to ensure a consistent message and accountability for companies using the generic mark. Today, 350 Scottish businesses from 23 sectors are members, and the mark is evident on a wide range of products, services and marketing and corporate materials.
    • Testing international perceptions of Scotland. Previous research work from both public and private bodies provided materials on values and perceptions of Scotland. Working with the organization responsible for rebranding New Zealand, Scotland the Brand tested four core values - integrity, tenacity, spirit and inventiveness - in seven countries.
    • Managing a brand image. Several key management concepts have been integrated in the Scottish approach. Quality assurance has been a management cornerstone. Early on it launched the Scotland Mark and developed a process to ensure quality. Members are proactively targeted and the assessment process uses an external panel, quality standards and benchmarking. Assurance of quality standards was all the more challenging, given that operational targets for financing were numbers-based. Financial sustainability is another cornerstone. Originally funded by Scottish Enterprise, Scotland the Brand is member-owned and will be privatized in April 2003. There is a fee structure with membership benefits, and an annual licence. Awareness-raising through marketing has been another key element, with major promotional campaigns, marketing events and a web site. Public-private partnerships have been integrated in all the approaches to quality management, financial sustainability and marketing. Finally, the brand is based on solid research for core values that resonate with both exporters and consumers.

    • Measuring impact. Scotland the Brand set for itself several success indicators. These include: the number of companies applying for membership and using the generic mark; visibility of the Scotland mark in advertising materials, products and services (millions of opportunities); the number of integrated marketing events and their success in terms of press coverage, sales increase and new markets; increase in turnover, exports or market entry for member companies; increase in Scottish exports overall; increased awareness of Scotland and its products in the United Kingdom and international markets.
    Some of these factors are easier to measure than others. The strongest, most reliable impact assessment figures available are from qualitative feedback and evaluations of marketing events.

    Lessons learned.

    Management by a single organization and defined objectives and measurement helped create a unity of purpose and ownership in imaging, marketing and communicating brand values. A strong communications and marketing strategy to accompany the development was essential. Basing the core competencies and values on reality, and testing them through independent research was important. Finally, commitment, buy-in and funding from top-level decision-makers in the public and private sectors helped make the project a success.

    Based on presentations and a paper provided by Theresa Houston, Chief Executive, Scotland the Brand. See also http://www.Scotlandthebrand.com