Scotland the brand of the brave

Posted on September 10, 2010

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Everything: people, places and products are brands.  You don’t have to have a planned, structured and designed brand to have a brand.  Every individual has a brand – their brand is the way they look, the way they speak and the way they behave.  Every place is also a brand too, not only that, they usually have well understood and consistent brands.  Countries are probably the oldest brands in existence – so I’m going to do a few posts looking at the makeup of their brands and possible directions for a brand refresh.

Being a Scot, where else could I possibly start – well anywhere really.  But, Scotland the land of the brave – not as in Scotland is full of Red Indian Braves, but as in it’s full of hard nuts and obese angry midgets who have, let’s say, a brave attitude to their health.  So, a wee look at the brand that is Scotland and how we might tweak it here and there to make for a more compelling proposition.

The thistle is a weed for god’s sake.  No, what Scotland is good for is taking perfectly good food and ruining it.  So what better emblem is there than the battered pizza?

The haggis doesn’t photograph well so is ruled out and I think the battered pizza makes a great visual metaphor, of what I’m not too sure, but I like it.  It’s unique and it’s current – let’s move away from a Scotland that always looks to its great achievements of the past and embraces its current place in the world.

Scotland Logo Strapline Proposition
Existing Brand

Thistle

Thistle

Visit Bonnie Scotland The wilds of the British Isles.   Beautiful terrain, shortbread, haggis, tartanbagpipes, kilts and golf.
Proposed Brand

Battered Pizza

Battered Pizza

Visit Ronnie Scotland

(or alternatively Midgey Ure)

Come to Scotland to make you feel better about: your own food, your own weather, your own clothing.  Raise your own self-esteem by comparing yours with the average Scots’.
Reasoning Ronnie as in Ronnie Corbett.
Ronnie Corbett There can be no better embodiment of what it means to be Scottish than wee Ronnie Corbett.  Diminutive in stature, yes, but sharp as a tac and funny. He’s definitely a better representation than non domicile Sir Sean Connery, probably the last good looking man to emerge from Scotland – before myself of course!
Yes Scotland is beautiful, but you’ll be lucky to see it for the dreich and drookit weather.   If you’re going up against the likes of Hawaii, the Maldives etc, then you can’t really win on the message of “it’s beautiful here”.

You’ve got to play to your strengths and maybe Scotland’s weaknesses are its strengths after all?

Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit facetious, but all I’m saying is that a brand needs to be bold and it needs to be grounded in the product.  Not to say that Scotland isn’t all the things you probably already think it is.  But, if you go to Scotland and see a piper, the reason is that he’s there to reinforce the image you have and to make a few bob too.  Scottish people only play bagpipes (the few that do) to keep the brand alive, the same goes for tartan kilts.  If England did this (I’ll come onto them another time) all the men would still wear bowler hats, and they don’t.

So the brand that is Scotland seems to dictate the product that’s Scotland, rather than the other way around – which is exactly what brands do, they dictate how a company should behave.  You wouldn’t get Apple launching a cheap, plastic, computer because the brand dictates that it has to be top-notch design and build.   So Scotland is a bit parochial, but that’s one of Scotland’s irrefutable charms right there and it helps to reinforce a strong world renowned brand – so keep up the good tartan work!

Ah, I almost want to hop on a plane and go back to get some tablet, but then again it’s probably raining and I’ll get eaten alive by midge’s.

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Posted in: Marketing