5 Steps to a Positive Brand Pakistan

CNN’s review of the problems of “Brand Pakistan” comes shortly after the Newsweek’s unpleasant award to Pakistan (“Most Dangerous Place…”). After India’s successful Incredible India campaign, minds have thought harder about how to project the prositive image of Pakistan?

These are actually five progressive questions:

0. What does “positive” mean? Q-Zero is philosophical. Generally, positive is “anything that lends hope.” Some think it means “strictly happy” – to the point of including “falsely cheerful.” My definition is that positive is something that can be built upon. Right now, it can be half-built, even broken. But it’s positive if something can be made out of it with effort. Simple!

1. What is positive in Pakistan? This requires an active identification and location of subjects. When Pakistanis look around with the latter definition, we will find more positives than we could see under the previous definitions. Let’s try a few examples:

Tourism is a positive area; there are so many unexplored territories in Pakistan that it’s a great place for travelers fatigued by crowded popular destinations. Agriculture is a positive area; there is such great demand for food and efficient delivery that a variety of businesses (seed banks, farmer training, storage, trucking, grocery delivery service) can be built out of it! (Then we march into the direction of building that thing, while creating a positive aura about it!)

2. What is the image of that positive thing? This step requires investigation of facts. Knowing the truth of the matter. Then understanding what’s the image at the moment. Without hiding (from) truth.

The subject can be positive, but the image can be negative if our definition is not correct in Q-Zero. Is an empty piece of land an area to build something upon? Or is it “vacant?”

I have a miniature painting – a simple turquoise blue rectangle. It’s titled “The Vacant Blue.” While it caught my attention as a purely inspiring blue box good for aiding meditation, the artist told me it’s a “window” where a person would appear to the lady who was dreaming in another painting! I couldn’t secure the painting of the lady, but this description assures me that my blue little box would one day have a character of its own!

3. How to create a positive image? Creative industry kicks into gear here. This is where visualizers and journalists shine. Where motivators work. Where good thoughts are thought – unapologetic, youthful, and enthusiastic!

In Pakistan, our creative industry needs to think fresh and find new positive subjects (see above). Rehashing others’ believes – often truthless – is one problem with information that floats around in our country – so let’s find our own subjects!

4. How to project that image? This is where communication and marketing techniques come in. We can only communicate what we have, and we have to know what we have. Answering this question first reverses the pyramid; so it’s critical to go through the sequence above. One thing that we can do even as individuals is to post any positive news or idea about Pakistan that we can think of on the Internet, and share it via email with friends in Pakistan and abroad. That’s how the biggest news network also pick news, so don’t underestimate the power!

So. I agree with Osama – image comes after the “real thing.” What real things that can be built upon can you think of in your field of study or work?

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8 Comments

  • Very nicely put pragmatic analysis. Great premier article

  • Hi Ramla, a good one. yes, I have something to say on this note.
    I quite like “Positive is something that can be built upon” … I have always believed that with “positive” & “sincere” efforts, even negativity can be turned into psitivity.
    From a marketing / brand POV, yes, a brand has to deliver what it promises and finding the truth is very important for any brand/product.
    Currently, “perceptions are reality” about pakistan throughout the world … and let’s face it, for quite sometime we just will not be able to transform it the way we want. and i wouldn’t mind facing this “perceptive” truth in front of the whole world.
    I may not add too much to (#1) of your write up … but i wouldn’t mind initially showing the “other” perspective also … e.g., “We may have been PERCEIVED as an unsafe destination, yet, we are a host to XXXXXXX tourists every year” … “we may have an average educational system, yet we have the talent to inspire the entire world” … etc. etc. etc.
    And just to touch on another thing which you also have subliminally mentioned … we have millions of brand ambassadors (Pakistanis) across the globe … It is how your project your image as a pakistan wherever you are…
    keep up the good work.

  • ramla:

    tourism as a “positive”?

    yes we have natural places away from the usual “attractions” offered by other countries in the region

    but we also have insurmountable hurdles for the “tourists” that need to be knocked down first

    they have to enter the country, stay somewhere, travel internally to get to their destination – in all of above they have to interact with Pakistanis

    –we do not have the infra structure in place for that

    –we do not have the personnel to service them

    and most importantly

    –we do not have the “climate” that nurtures tourism – from law and order situation – cell snatchers – intolerance of citizens towards others (need i elaborate?)

    “creating” and “projecting” this image will take years of concerted efforts

    years!

    first we need to take care of Emergency, Judiciary, Executive, Uniforms, Elections

    :)

    ps: congrats

  • ramla:

    tourism as a “positive”?

    yes we have natural places away from the usual “attractions” offered by other countries in the region

    but we also have insurmountable hurdles for the “tourists” that need to be knocked down first

    they have to enter the country, stay somewhere, travel internally to get to their destination – in all of above they have to interact with Pakistanis

    –we do not have the infra structure in place for that

    –we do not have the personnel to service them

    and most importantly

    –we do not have the “climate” that nurtures tourism – from law and order situation – cell snatchers – intolerance of citizens towards others (need i elaborate?)

    “creating” and “projecting” this image will take years of concerted efforts

    years!

    first we need to take care of Emergency, Judiciary, Executive, Uniforms, Elections

    :)

    ps: congrats!

  • Temporal:

    One thing leads to another. The picture you potray and present to the world, is the picture that your tourist percieve.

    Do you have any idea, the number of foreigners who travel to Pakistan, and are living up in the Hunza Valley, and the villages surrounding it, for months, infact some over a year.

    People who visit Pakistan religiously for hiking and mountain climbing?

    Speak to the locals there, get your facts and start making a progressive start towards making Pakistan a better and a more comfortable place to visit from tourist across the globe.

  • Me Junaid Raja
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    Doing Master from Punjab University
    in Computer Sciences
    Want an honest and sincere friend
    Plz mail me at
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