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Industry Insights with Brand Scotland

Industry Insights with Brand Scotland Review by Lisl MacDonald

Cat Leaver, the Director of Brand Scotland, collaborates with several government departments. The hugely successful “Scotland is open. Scotland is now.” advert shows they value bold creative work. It’s not an easy task, but the group have hit their stride. Check it out at www.scotland.org.

We enjoyed an informative presentation from Cat, who then introduced: John Booth, Director of Corporate Affairs and Marketing, Scottish Enterprise Government; Dr. Keith Dinnie, Head of Management and Marketing at the University of Dundee Business School; and Andrew Burnett, founder of Helleau. They represent some of the stakeholders and specialists called on to gather insights and ideas. Together they craft strategy and develop campaigns targeting both people and organisations who are already based in Scotland, and others outside our borders. 

The business case is written and includes objectives to drive economic value. This includes targeting people to live, work and study in Scotland, and growing exports, investment, and tourism. Individual campaign successes promoting Scotland are being transformed by Brand Scotland into collective international heft. A key part of their role is providing truthful, credible answers to questions such as: 

  • What is it like to live, work and study here?
  • Why should organisations invest and do business here?
  • What particular talents and resources do we offer?
  • Why buy our products?

Here are a few things which stood out for me:                                                       

  1. Our values lie at the heart of it all. To quote the late Donald Dewar: it’s about “who we are and how we carry ourselves.” The challenge is to find out what makes us unique and make it widely communicated and understood.
  2. Avoid cliches (like the plague). It’s not a rejection of the past, but building upon it for the future. Tell stories, new and old, keep the narrative fresh.
  3. It’s organic. You can’t control it all. However social media and other tools provide critical mass, and allow authentic personal narratives in support of the values to be shared.
  4. Dr Keith Dinnie: “we need our own approach to the unique challenges of building Brand Scotland”. Countries and cities are increasingly mounting very well-funded, sophisticated brand campaigns. Remaining competitive requires the support of professional marketers and we must be prepared to add value to the process.

The health of our economy, culture and society depend on Brand Scotland’s success. It was inspiring to hear their vision. We are all firmly behind them.