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?