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.