As a former public diplomacy officer, I approach the concept of place branding skeptically. Trying to brand the United States is futile — especially in our political environment.
Yet a recent article in Public Diplomacy magazine opened new perspectives on the topic.
Darius Udrys, Ph.D., was the founding director of Go Vilnius – an agency chartered by the city of Vilnius to develop the Lithuanian capital’s brand and attract business, talent, and tourism. Go Vilnius’ methods exhibit the best practices of public diplomacy.
- First, a focus on three distinct audiences: business, talent and tourism. “Defining our values, getting our strategy right, and staying focused on targeted communication with our three key audiences is paramount.”
- Second, good research. “Bringing relevant stakeholders and interested parties into the process from the outset proved key to the necessary insights and buy-in for the direction we would take.”
- And substance, not rhetoric. “Especially in today’s media-saturated world, the people we want to attract are too sophisticated for exaggerated claims and hyperbole. We focus on identifying and reaching those who already like or will probably like what we are or are fast becoming.”
Fellow PD practitioners, especially U.S.-based — read this article, and take a lesson from it.
Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service. He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy. Read More