As Pakistan celebrates its 70th birthday, Aurora asks advertising professionals which key attributes they would keep in mind if they were to re-brand Pakistan.
Here’s what they had to say:
Faraz Maqsood Hamidi
CE and CD, The D’Hamidi Partnership
Brand identity reflects a whole series of applications beginning with foundational values all the way to visitor/stakeholder touch-points. The coordinated and effortless orchestration of all of these interlocks is the brand. If there is a starting point, I’d personally like to develop a style guide that reflects the core assets of Brand Pakistan beginning with signature typography, stretching all the way into incorporating the national airline as its flagship showpiece. I can already sniff the cynicism. But, to be fair, if a country doesn’t tell its story, if it doesn’t have a brand narrative to showcase to the world, then it must own the risk of someone else telling that story. Instead of being the narrator of our journey, we become the subject of some other plot line – where we may be cast, as we often have, in roles less suited to our national integrity.
I think Pakistan is the underdog of the international community. The country is not the oldest nor the newest, not the biggest nor the smallest, not the strongest nor the weakest; we have come to terms with the fact that we don’t have a ‘native’ USP. Pakistan does, however, have ambition. This, coupled with our reckless abandonment of systems and rules, makes us an unpredictable and tenacious nation. We will make a mark or we’ll go out in flames. We’re a risky bet and we know it. Either way, expect us to be in the news.
Shahvaar Ali Khan
CEO, Chief Creative Officer & Managing Partner - Farigh Four
Young, mercurial, unpredictable, emotional, perseverant and ready to spring a surprise against all odds, Pakistan is not a brand. It's more like a restless band, either ready to break up or about to belt the next super hit song!
Regional Creative Director (Middle East and Pakistan), Impact BBDO
“Branding Pakistan would depend a lot on the target you are reaching out to: a financial investor would typically be attracted to a different sort of message than a tourist would. However, if you’re looking for an umbrella statement, the closest I would come to being accurate to the country is: ‘Surprise Yourself’. It’s a phrase that would work across all segments: investors, travellers, researchers, even a visiting sports team. The phrase doesn’t over promise, it doesn't BS the audience with false claims, it’s not full of itself, it addresses the folly of preconceived notions, and it is open-ended enough to be adapted to a number of executional treatments depending on the target audience, ranging from the dramatic to the inspiring to the comic. Pakistan. Surprise Yourself.”
Zohare Ali Shariff
CEO, Asiatic Public Relations Network
My creation of Pakistan’s brand identity will be based on objectively answering four questions:
1) Where are we (Pakistan) now?
Required here is a frank and clinically analytical review of the status, issues and challenges of Pakistan’s political, social and economic realities, and an appraisal of Pakistan’s USPs and domestic and international opportunities.
2) Why are we here?
Here we’ll need an analysis of the factors that contribute to Pakistan’s present realities.
3) Where do we want to be?
This involves goal setting of what is to be achieved through the brand identity created.
4) How do we get there?
Through the development of a realistic strategy to achieve the defined goals.
Based on the above, I would brand Pakistan by creating empathy and understanding for our challenges, while presenting Pakistan’s USPs and potential in the most appealing, credible way possible. The core of my brand identity will be giving Pakistan a human and a humane face, principally through the unsung heroes of Pakistan.
Executive Creative Director, Synergy Dentsu
“I would start with changing the name of the country. There is an element of ‘holier than thou’ in the name Pakistan and it’s very one dimensional. Pakistan has so much more to offer to the world and to its people. Many countries have successfully taken on these rebranding exercises; Persia became Iran, New Holland was renamed Australia. Keywords for the new name would include wonderful, diversity, hospitality, tolerance and patience. The next step would be to work on the flag. I would consider a design uplift rather than changing it totally. More of a UPS kind of a logo update. Making a brand is like creating a Lego structure and not matching luggage... Overall the name, flag, national anthem all need to fit to create an image of a peaceful and diverse country.”