For tourists, the most common associations with the Czech Republic were Prague, beer, monuments ... while many of the bare essentials are lacking
The Czech Republic has done a poor job of presenting itself to the outside world according to a study of the country’s ‘brand’ recognition abroad.
The study was carried out by 15 students at Charles University’s department of Marketing Communications and Public Relations in the Social Sciences Faculty, in cooperation with experts from Czech ministries, institutions such as CzechTourism and CzechInvest, and businesses during the second half of 2011. Results were presented this week.
They showed that the Czech brand image had failed to make an impact across the board in the areas of tourism, quality of life, business and culture. Countries with strong, positive brands often have a significant competitive advantage across all sectors, the study added.
“Countries compete for the attention and respect of investors and commercial partners, tourists, consumers, donors, immigrants, the media, and governments of other countries,” a statement about the study stressed.
For tourists, the most common associations with the Czech Republic were Prague, beer and monuments. There was, however, an insufficient linkage between Prague and Czech Republic in the minds of foreigners with the country’s reputation also suffering from perceptions of low quality of service and poor food.
‘Countries compete for the attention and respect of investors and commercial partners, tourists, consumers, donors, immigrants, the media, and governments of other countries.’
In business, the label “transitional market” still often stuck, as well as perceptions of the failure of the state and private business to work properly. A few flagship companies helped redress the balance somewhat.
The overall image of Czechs appeared to be shaped by a few sporting celebrities in the absence of other national ambassadors and was tarnished by fears of sharp practices by the population and the lack of foreign language skills of the older generation.
Distrust in the political elite, the negative agenda setting of domestic media, and reputation for bureaucratic hurdles helped round things off as regards government, the study found.
Attempts to get a positive message of the country across had failed, with 75 percent of responses from visitors saying that they had not seen or heard any publicity about the country before their trip.
One of the problems faced in getting a positive message across was the confused mix of logos used by different state institutions and ministries in their promotional efforts and the failure to build up a central approach or image. Foreign networks for communicating the Czech Republic’s messages were duplicated and up-to-date information often absent on official websites, the study said.
It called for a much more unified message stressing a few themes, such as the country’s safety, education of the people, inventive business environment, fairytale castles and other tourist attractions, along with a stable government.
The essence of a new brand should be built on safety, friendliness and inventiveness with perhaps the slogan “Good Idea” accompany all the different promotional efforts.
The Czech Ministry of Regional Development is currently working on a foreign promotions strategy that should address some of the flaws in the country’s current marketing.