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Pure Grenada vs. Isle of Spice: Battle of the Brands


Lately I have been hearing of Grenada being branded as “Pure Grenada”. I didn’t give much thought to it; I thought it was merely a marketing campaign.  However I came across a post on Facebook that stated that the Minister of Tourism in Grenada said that” everyone is on board with Re-branding Grenada to Pure Grenada”.  This got me very interested, and I decided to do some digging on my own.
I believe that change is always good, especially if these changes will bring about positive feedback and lead to greater things. When I think about Grenada as the Isle of Spice, I get a clear picture of what the country is communicating, I automatically see Grenada as a country that is known for spices, and where I can find all different variety of spices. I guess that the persons responsible may have asked themselves, “Why should companies invest here or tourists come here, rather than go to other countries for investment and tourism?” and maybe spices weren’t a good enough answer. However this critical self-assessment is necessary and will lead to recognition of what needs to be done to make the country more attractive, after all this is the starting point of any branding process.
The purpose of nation branding is to position your country in the best possible way to the world, given its strengths and weaknesses. And I can only imagine that is what the brand “Pure Grenada” intends to convey, after all it was said that the intention is to re-position the island’s brand identity to more closely align with the core niche sectors that have been identified as target markets. I keep wondering what exactly that means, since a national brand needs to cover and represent all the diverse positive elements that make up a nation and not just a few sectors.
In order for the brand to be successful there needs to be buy in from stakeholders at all levels in the country.  Once there is support from stakeholders internally, these persons will tend to become natural promoters of the brand.
With the advent of Social Media, it is very easy for anything to be communicated to the outside world. Social Media will definitely be a viable avenue for pushing the “Pure Grenada” brand to the outside world. However I am concerned that Grenada is already being branded through Social Media. There are many persons, (and I am sure they may have good reasons) who seem to have purposed in their heart that they will project a negative image of Grenada because of their political views. Also many persons are using Social Media to express their lack of support for the “Pure Grenada” Brand. This leads me to conclude that there may have been buy in from persons in authority about the new brand. However a lot of persons have not yet been bought into this and this can affect the brand.
I myself have some questions, that I am sure can be answered by the persons in authority, questions such as; Why is the brand color blue?  What are the core-niche sectors that have been identified as target markets? What am I supposed to think when I hear the slogan “Pure Grenada”?  Is this mainly a tourism brand? How do outsiders see Grenada at the moment?  Who is the video that was used to launch the brand speaking to?
On the topic of the video, I love the video, I think it was well done and the vocals were incredible, when I watched it I saw a beautiful country. I am impressed. However I am concerned that the video is speaking mainly to persons like myself, Grenadians. It says “Sweet Grenada, this is home” off course its home for me, but not for the other millions of Canadians I see on a daily basis, so will it attract them, I doubt.
I will not get into an argument as to whether we should continue using “Isle of Spice” I like Isle of Spice, I can identify with it. However I believe that the Government must lead the national branding process.  Branding is a complex process and unless the Government gets buy in from stakeholders at all levels, then their efforts will not succeed. When I first heard “Pure Grenada”, I didn’t quite understand what was being communicated and I think that’s the part a lot of persons are having problems with. I urge the Government to sensitize persons more and get them to appreciate this new positioning that is being attempted for Grenada. Even though I like “Isle of Spice” I do believe it is sort of limited and doesn’t fully represent all the things that Grenada has to offer, however if we are to re-position ourselves then it must be done properly and must address all the shortcomings of the old brand. Remember branding is NOT advertising and according to Thomas Cromwell “nation branding is not simply coming up with a cute logo and tag line. It has a much deeper purpose: to position a nation so that it can achieve the maximum success in the world system, including garnering the maximum international recognition and clout, robust business relations with the world, and a healthy tourism industry. By doing this, a nation brings the maximum benefit to its people by giving them dignity, and by creating jobs and wealth.” (Cromwell, 2014)

I wish to also say to all my Grenadians both at home and in the diaspora. Please stop making it your duty to paint a negative picture of Grenada. It is OK to have your views on things; it is OK to support a political party of your choice. It is OK to voice your opinions on things in a diplomatic and respectable way.  But when you start attacking Grenada and the integrity of Grenadians, you are instrumental in ensuring that a negative picture is painted. This is not helping; true Grenadians will not go out of their way to paint a negative picture of Grenada to the world.
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8 Comments
  • Javis Apr 23,2014 at 11:04 am

    This definitely is a good read which raises eyebrows about “Grenada” as a brand and the intended message to the various groups of interest.

    I personally think branding is important and both brands have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses. You guys pretty much nailed that.

    What I’m not sure about is the strategy behind branding Grenada.

    Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject:
    1) We all know that the geographical disadvantages being located at the southernmost part of the archipelago makes the cost/value proposal of the country comparatively less attractive than most of the other islands. Proper branding is good but it won’t change our cost/value proposal to our shareholders. Shouldn’t our strategy focus on that as well? How can are we influencing there?

    2) I think tourism in the Caribbean is a “piranha pit” where everyone tries to bite whatever they can at whoever they can. If you look at the other islands brands, they pretty much say the same message, a little more here, a little less there, but pretty much says; natural, beaches, people, carnival, food, sun etc. There’s cannibalization everywhere and well… the smaller (and poorly located) piranhas will get smaller bites.

    Maybe only in an utopian world each island can provide a completely unique experience and that visiting one doesn’t undermine the experience of visiting the others, but I believe our strategy should tend towards exploring and exploiting this…

    I honestly believe that a joint effort towards tourism and investment in the Caribbean will be greater than the sum of its parts. Problem is the big (and well located) piranhas may not agree. So maybe our focus should be on win win strategies with the big fishes… #EasierSaidThanDone #IKR

    In short, branding is important but I believe our tourism and foreign investment problems has it’s roots somewhere else. Strategically, we’re at a disadvantage. So Maybe it’s time to look at changing the game and not trying to “catch up”

    We’ve been busy figuring out how to brand Grenada and not the why…

    • N. Kimron Corion Apr 23,2014 at 7:24 pm

      That’s some good food for thought. Thanks for the feedback, you definitely have me thinking. We need to think outside or maybe think inside a new box on this one.

  • unanswered one Apr 15,2014 at 2:41 pm

    i think you did a wonderful assessment of the situation, most importantly it was unbiased.Also andy raised a good point

  • Anonymous Apr 15,2014 at 2:23 pm

    Well put Mr.Corion. The question I would like answered is: was it necessary to do a rebranding instead of launching an additional brand?

    In regards to the Tri Island state and the promotion of the smaller island, I am in total agreement that the smaller islands are not promoted/addressed as well as they could and should be. At the same time we should remember that the official name of the tri island state is Grenada and when promotions are done it is for the state and not the lager island which also boasts the same name as the state.

    • N. Kimron Corion Apr 15,2014 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you for your feedback. You raise an interesting point, that i myself haven’t looked into.and that’s the power of getting feedback through stakeholder consultations, there will always be interesting and different point of views.
      Thank you

  • Andy Kevin Lendore Apr 14,2014 at 7:29 pm

    Quite a comprehensive view on the topic at hand I must say. While you raised some valid points such as the appeal of the new brand to the outside world, the choice of logo, the integration and input of stakeholders, I believe there are also some other important matters which must be addressed.

    As you mentioned, nation branding is a complex process, just as in business, it is not equivalent to advertising; rather advertising forms only a part of the bigger picture. The point I want to focus on moreover, is the stakeholder inclusion and what is the message that we are communicating to the world.

    Grenada is a tri island state formed by the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The old brand did not sufficiently integrate what Grenada´s sister isles of Carriacou and Petite Martinique has to offer, and the new brand does not address it adequately either, although I do recognize some parts of the video where footage was taken in Carriacou.

    I emphasize this because we must recognize the valuable contribution to the general tourism product that the TRI ISLAND STATE of Grenada Carriacou and Petite Martinique has to offer. Why is the new brand called Pure Grenada, and not “The Purest isles” or something of the sort? Or even if the logo says “Pure Grenada”, which aspects of the rebranding showcase the sister isles´s rich culture and traditions? Are they not to be considered?

    I do not mean to be biased; I am indeed a kayak, but my main concern is to address the issue of unity and integration as a true tri island state, where our tourism product can be marketed as an aggregate of all what the individual islands can offer, not just Grenada! Carriacou has often being referred to as the “cradle of culture”, yet nothing has been done to promote its rich traditions and history. I find this simply disheartening and a desilusion of what we as a nation claim to be.

    • N. Kimron Corion Apr 15,2014 at 1:32 am

      I totally agree with you. For too long the sister Isles has been left out of the picture and like you said this new brand doesn’t fully represent the trio. I do believe that something needs to be done about that, and i believe its about time it is addressed. I believe that i will also publish a post on the same.

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