Monday, 15 July 2013

France as a brand

By Catherine Maminska

On 28th of June, the French Cabinet for Economic Development created a think-tank aiming to analyse the value of France as a trade mark - an avant-garde idea that the French government is willing to conceptualize within the next 6 months.

Opinions will be collected from the general public until 7th September. Any French speaking person can participate to the think tank by responding to the questionnaire provided online.

On 28th October a final presentation will be given and there will be a possible launch of brand France in the beginning of 2014.

The idea behind this concept has been largely evoked in Simon Anholt’s latest books - Places: Identity, Image and Reputation and Competitive Identity: the new brand management for nations, cities and regions. For him, branding a country is a way to recover economically against the today very competitive market.  It can help a country to distinguish itself from the crowd.

This concept has already been put into practice by the Anglo-Saxons. The Americans and Canadians have used the concept of Nation Branding to build and manage their reputation. The British have been relatively shy and preferred to incorporate nation branding in their public diplomacy.  However France is probably the first country that explicitly mentions the concept of “trademarking itself”: The website address itself is evocative, marque meaning trademark in French.

In the paper presented on 28th of June various French personalities from the sector of tourism, industry, research, design or culture have been consulted to define the mission of the think-tank.

It has been trying to expose the value of France as a trademark: what does France evoke to others? Un certain, je ne sais quoi? Un art de vivre?

It also tried to determine the extent of the branding: should children in school be taught the value of France as a brand?

There has been no mention however to the trade mark legislation as such.  No lawyers have been consulted per se, which is quite worrying knowing the power a brand has. 

Let’s wait until the 28th of October to see the outcome of the questionnaire.

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