By Varoujan Avedikian
Just like businesses in the marketplace, countries compete in the global economy too. And yes, that competition is fierce. As Harvard Business School Professor Richard Vietor, who is an expert on business regulation and the international political economy puts it, for this competition to bear fruits, “Countries, like companies, need development strategies to succeed in a world of growing globalization.” So, in reality there is no significant difference between a company and a country in terms of attracting investments, bringing in new clients, expanding the market niche, suggesting better services or products with more competitive prices. To successfully do these, a business or a country in our case not only needs strategy, but also a brand. Yes, a brand. The brand shows the brand-owner’s values, dreams, mission, character and openness to the public. The brand should attract, engage, sooth and give confidence. A brand should tell a story and a bright one for that matter.
How many times have you found yourself in a foreign place where you desperately searched for your favorite hotel, food joint, coffee shop or website? Why? Because people are generally cautious of the unknown. People like to feel safe, stable and welcomed. The familiar brand gives all that to the people.
Many might not like what I am going to say, but what’s our brand for the past year? Revolution. Really? Revolution? I’m not a branding expert. Not even close. I’m just a humble business-owner who wants to see investments flow in to my country. Just a simple guy who wants to see the economy boom and jobs created. Because (not to sound egoistic) that’s exactly how my business will grow. That’s exactly how my children will live in a better future. As simple as that.
Yes, the revolution or change of government (people like to call it in different names down here) gave many Armenians globally hope, unity, a fresh start and a glimpse of a better future. Few will argue the opposite. It is time though to get over it and figure out how we want to bring in businesses, investments and jobs. Bring the real glory home.
Until now what were the brands or the “tag names” associated with Armenia (do your usual google search), except for “landlocked”, “small”, “poor”, “genocide”, “conflict”, few others and now “revolution”?
The word “revolution” is a powerful word. No doubt in that, but it invokes a strong sense of instability, danger, chaos and mayhem. At least to an investor or a business partner. Now is that what we really want? I doubt that. We need a brand that shows the world that we are business oriented, friendly, stable, advanced, fearless and open to new opportunities. That’s exactly what we want to reflect and how we want to excel from the rest.
So yes, ladies and gentlemen: please drop that “revolution” brand.
Varoujan Avedikian is Managing Partner at TK & Partners and former Head of the Legal Department of Armenia's Central Bank.