The truth, Simon Anholt, founder of the National Brands Index, holds, is that "places can’t construct or manipulate their images with advertising or PR, slogans or logos – and although some governments spend large amounts of money trying to do just that, there is absolutely no proof that it works. The only sure way places can change their images is by changing the way they behave: they need to focus on the things they make and do, not the things they say."
And what makes brand Italia so mamma mia? "In the end it's the Italian people who brand Italy, and they do it so damn well", Simon Anholt argues. Ironically, if we take into account how the image of Mauritius and the self-confidence of its citizens ought to have benefited from the years of "miracle" and "reform", there should not be any justification for a branding exercise!
There is more than meets the eye. If only magic bullets were available to satisfy our needs and desires! More realistically, Simon Anholt identifies the key drivers that can potentially be conducive to achieve image benefit:
through courageous and enlightened social, economic, environmental and foreign policies;
through the dynamic development of tourism, foreign investment and exports;
through carefully chosen international cultural, sporting and political events;
through improved cultural and academic relations with other countries;
through a strategic commitment to international development and poverty reduction;
through productive engagement with multilateral institutions, regional organisations and with NGOs at home and abroad;
through effective coordination between government, industry and civil society;
through enhanced public and private diplomacy overseas;
through a visionary long-term approach to innovation, investment and education.
In short, "the best way for a country to generate a good image is by implementing good policies".