Panama as a Brand

Marketing has become the cornerstone of doing business and one of the elements used in marketing is branding.  A brand is a promise to the consumer.  With a symbol and a name, a brand gives a prospective buyer a perceived image of what they are getting.  The tourism industry is making use of this marketing strategy to market countries as destinations.  You may have seen on TV ads for certain countries.  For example Colombia has an aggressive marketing campaign, that says “The danger is that you will want to stay” and the brand is “Colombia is passion”.
Panama jumped on the bandwagon but the Panama brand created by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry during the administration of President Martin Torrijos, “PANAMA DESTINY NATION”, will be scrapped and a new one created for launching the Panama brand.  The slogan and symbol are intended to help position all national products and services, not only the tourism offering.  The Panama brand is intended to help the country gain international positioning in order to attract investments, promote exports and garner market share as a tourist destination.

The Panama Tourism Authority is in charge of selecting a new brand for Panama and it is expected that the brand will be used consistently throughout to convey all a country represents.  Neighboring countries who have done this such as Chile and Colombia use their brands in everything from stationery to product branding.

Another aspect of marketing is promotion and one of the ways of promoting a product or a brand is publicity.  In that sense Panama is also moving forward with a new publicity campaign.  For the new publicity campaign Panamanian boxing star Roberto Duran is the lead.

Roberto Duran is a five time world boxing champion and has lent his image to promote Panama’s new tourism campaign.  The campaign is composed of 52 video clips which show different tourist spots in Panama.  The campaign slogan is “Panama Sorprende”, (Panama Surprises).  Some of the video clips have already been shot and are intended to reach a target of 50 million people by showing in Canada, United States, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

Another aspect of promotion that Panama aggressively intends to pursue in 2010 is attendance in international tourism fairs.  According to the Panama Tourism Authority calendar Panama will be represented in 35 international tourism fairs such as the World Travel Market in London, ITB in Berlin, Fitur in Madrid and SeaTrade in Miami, to mention some of the most important.

Pursuing the European tourist market Panama will also be present in fairs in Poland, Russia, Finland and Sweden.  These fairs are important because they introduce the country to tour operators who prepare the packages that tourists finally purchase.  The ATP has a budget of $2 million dollars for this years events.  It is hoped that all this aggressive campaign will set the stage for more growth in the tourism sector in Panama reflected in higher numbers for the 2011 season.

For more info on Panama:  PanamaQmagazine

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