Can a country ever re-brand itself?

Austria’s reputation has suffered a battering over the past week because of the Josef Fritzl incest scandal. Now the Austrian Chancellor, Alfred Gusenbauer, has said his government plans to launch a campaign to rectify the damage done to the country’s image.  But how can  a country re-brand itself? Denmark went on a PR drive after the Muslim cartoon scandal. In the past Belgium has had its image damaged by child sex scandals….but how can a country recover from such bad press?

24 Responses to “Can a country ever re-brand itself?”

  1. 1 stevencoran
    May 1, 2008 at 16:22

    Wow, don’t you think Austrians are taking this a little too seriously? I mean, it’s one case. I’m sure this happens in every country. Some countries are so closed they would never let the outside world know what happened, they would just hide it. Even though the statute of limitations has run a LONG time ago, I would be far more ashamed of Hitler being an Austrian than of this guy being an Austrian. Was Germany in a shameful mood after that one guy consented to being killed and eaten by another guy? You as a people are NOT responsible for the actions of some crazy person’s actions, unless you know something about your society that I don’t know, that you tacitly approve of fathers locking their daughters up in basements in having sex with them. Somehow, I don’t think you guys approve of that, so why are you ashamed?

  2. 2 selena
    May 1, 2008 at 17:01

    Now I am intrigued! What has that tragedy got to do with Austria as a country? Control freaks live everywhere… in every country, in every town, in every city.

    Austria, if you want to do something useful with the money you would spend on a re-branding campaign, set up a mansion for the family that lived underground for 24 years.

    Give them everything that money can buy plus give them all the professional help that they need.

    This way you can set an example for the rest of the world. Re-branding is brainwashing. It is also the latest silly fashion. The world doesn’t need that! We know what Austria is and isn’t!

  3. 3 VictorK
    May 1, 2008 at 17:30

    If this kind of thing were systematic in Austria then the country would be shamed. It’s not, so it isn’t.

    A country isn’t a brand and it’s only cheap Blairesque (‘Cool Britannia’) politicans who act as if it were.

    ‘Muslim cartoon scandal’ to some; Danes exercising there traditional liberties to others.

    A bad press in itself won’t damage any country, though weakness and a lack of resolve before external critics will.

    If WHYS wants to run with this subject then why not look at examples in which one can really point the finger of blame at governments and entire societies. What prospect of re-branding for:
    *China re its occupation and subjugation of Tibet;
    *the Burmese military;
    *the government of Zimbabwe;
    *the people of Somalia, who have given ‘anarchy’ a bad name;
    *Iraq, whose people were presented with a golden opportunity for freedom and prosperity, and completely blew it;
    *the Palestinians, who took a cause that had world-wide sympathy and decided that the one missing ingredient was electing terrorists to govern them;
    *most African countries, with their reputations for mismanagement and corruption;
    *those African countries that have committed genocide in the past;
    *Germany and Austria;
    *most Muslim countries with their reputations for despotism, gender apartheid, and religious bigotr and fanaticismy;
    *Spain, which has been open to the charge of cowardice ever since it voted out a government to appease Islamic terrorists; and
    *Holland, with its reputation for decadent liberalism.

    Now, those are serious reputational issues.

  4. 4 Will Rhodes
    May 1, 2008 at 18:23

    I don’t think Austria has anything to answer for – it was one man in a population of millions – over-kill in my eyes.

  5. 5 selena
    May 1, 2008 at 20:50

    What causes a country to be shamed?

    The current Maclean’s magazine has a huge cover headline “Why Israel Can’t survive”.

    In the story, Nadia Matar (belgium born, husband American) says, “Islam is the new Nazism.We have to do to them what the Americans did to the Nazis. Kill their leaders, Kill their collaborators.”

    Nadia believes Israel must annex the West Bank and Gaza and says, “I am not going to give them voting rights. I will give then the basic of basics and do everything to make them want to leave. Democracy isn’t something holy. What worries me is you worry about their rights.”

  6. 6 McCoy
    May 2, 2008 at 00:17

    What was the name of the PR expert you had on this show?

  7. 7 Katharina in Ghent
    May 2, 2008 at 13:23

    The problem with Austria and its people is that today it’s such a small country, but 100 years ago it was still the big empire. Believe it or not, but at the very bottom of the Austrian soul lies still the loss of the empire.Therefore, Austrians in general may be very proud of their country, but they actually have quite low self-esteem and always worry what the others might think of them. They also tend to think that what’s big news in their country must also make it big in other countries, and are very surprised when they find out that actually noone cares.

    This here is now the same: Austrians are shocked to the bones about what happened in Amstetten, but while the whole world reported about it, it would not necessarily connect it to what little other associations it has about Austria. One of the biggest economic sectors in Austria is tourism, so they are extremely worried that less tourists may come, but the one thing has nothing to do with the other, it’s just in their heads.

    I happened to be in Nagoya/Japan Three years ago when there was the World Expo, and the Austria pavillon featured: Valse lessons, “nature”, a glacier, a Viennese cafe and a tabogganing ride. That’s our self image… can it come as a surprise that Austrian politicians are worried about it?

    Katharina, Austrian living in Ghent

  8. May 2, 2008 at 13:47

    This man wo kept his daughter undeground and raped and beat her for years and years should get the electric chair.
    Ausria as a country should not be ashamed that one mad maniac in their midst vey cleverly got away with such behaviour.
    It has nothing to do with the psyche of the country and/or its ciizens. They are too worried about this.
    On the othe hand, I believe that Denmark had no business re-running a cartoon tha they already knew would be hurtful to millions of people. Wht on earth were they thinking of. Surely freedom of the press does ot extend to this kind of genuine hurt..
    I must say I lost a lot of respect I had had for the press in Denmark and for the country of Denmark itself which I had always thought of as kind, and careful type people.

  9. 9 Ana Milena, Colombia
    May 2, 2008 at 15:12


    Now, instead about caring about the safety of its population, they just care about their image!!! 😦
    And who on earth mentioned it has to do with the image of their country? As far as I know, no one’s overgeneralizing this situation to Austria; it might happen anywhere!

    And, whenever they think the image of the country might be affected, the answer is: the only way to re-brand its own image or condition is simply by taking steps to solve the problem. Try campaigns of social awareness, stop making the same mistake if there was one – attacks, violence or an evil policy, for example -, and demonstrate your country can overcome the situation in an authentic way.


  10. 10 steve
    May 2, 2008 at 15:27

    @ Selena

    Just like Mr. Fritzl is one person and doesn’t represent and entire country, neither is Nadia Matar. Unless these people are elected leaders….. Mr. Ahadminejad, the PRESIDENT of Iran calls for other nations to be wiped off the map.

  11. 11 Brett
    May 2, 2008 at 16:17

    I’d like to see the US try to re-brand itself haha. Then again I think our ‘leaders’ don’t really care what others think.

    A country can re-brand itself, sure. In the heart through actions. In the minds [of some] through PR campaigns.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  12. 12 Ana Milena, Colombia
    May 2, 2008 at 17:05

    While we’ve got countries which struggle to have the best image around the world after any incident, there are other counties which make mistakes again and again, and they never mind.
    US is one of the most popular cases. The government is the one doing wrong things one time after the other, and I should sadly say that the American population IS criticised because of its government actions. It happens in my country…

    So I agree with you, Brett… Your leaders do need to re-brand.
    Talk about the people involved in the act, not the country!

  13. 13 John Smith - Jamaica
    May 2, 2008 at 19:07

    How does one sick twisted individual = loss of a countries reputation. Everyday shocking things are discovered about various faucets of a society and yet, people move on. Can re-branding be done? Ask the following:
    1. Germany
    2. Italy
    3. Spain
    4. U.K.
    5. United States of America
    6. Japan
    7. Czechoslovakia (Now 2 countries)
    8. Poland
    9. U.S.S.R. (by extension Russia and the satellite states)
    10. China (for all the furore, we still eat, sleep and live China)
    11. Canada
    12. Australia
    13. South Africa
    14. Liberia (and all other African countries who have had blemishes in their lives.)
    15. Arab states (who in the past and some currently, have bad records and yet are embraced by the west)
    16. Japan

    etc. etc. etc. The question isn’t whether or not a country can re-brand itself, we know human nature is such that a country (or more correctly it’s citizens) mistakes will never be fatal to the overall state of affairs of a country. I think the real issue is how much value do we place on a country’s brand in the face of the resources it has that we need.

  14. 14 Dennis Cote
    May 3, 2008 at 06:38

    We had The Jeffery Dahmer Murders in the United States, From 1978 – 1991 with some particularly gruesome murders of 17 young men and boys, yet we managed to pull past that.

    I’m sure Austria is going to do just fine and will themselves, pull past it, as has any other country, and I’m sure there are many.

    Loonies are in every country, like it or not.

    I don’t think less of Austria because of bad deeds done by one person, it would be foolish and unfair to think like that.

  15. 15 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 3, 2008 at 19:41

    Branding & rebranding depend upon idelogy, religion, culture, colour, race & issues, It is a continious process like ageing & civilisation, totally depend on available society along with contribution of each & every person which may be classified ” TRANSFORMATION”.
    Public support & appeal always plays an important role during transformation process this is why so may ideologies are still alive along with recognisation of leadership, Budha, Arastodal,Jesus, Moses, Mohammad, Markest, Akbar(Secular King) Hitler & Bin Ladin are still alieve in our society, no doubt we have good size of impact of our available leadership too.
    Now a days we are facing clash of societies & dispute on cultural values, this is a part of transformation,because of migration, rapid transportation & fast communaction. we are real busy in transformation of current human society, after a decade we will see a better society & cultural values, no doubt current transformation process is faster then past as world is shrinking because of easy communication via digital media.
    After all this reserch & development is human nature as social, cultural & moral sector’s been ignored in the past because our priorities were Industrial revolution.

  16. 16 edo edwin
    May 4, 2008 at 05:40

    the man is a heart less animal bcos it is only a male animal that goes about chasing his sisters,mother and grand mother and sees it as normal.that will never happen in my part of the world as our ancestor will not let such an animal last for more than a month

  17. 17 thelegendali
    May 4, 2008 at 13:50

    A single man who is not a leader in the society cannot give the entire society a bad image. However, the Austran society needs to send people like those to USA or China to be executed since they have a law on execution.

  18. 18 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 4, 2008 at 19:12

    As we being resident’s of Global village are going through with transformation process, instead of blaming to each other some thing solid to be done to help out this trnsfomation process in a peacefull manner.
    In this regard we may form study groups from top to bottom, from villages to big cities with due involvement of each & every religion & ethnic group under command & controll of world class netural body.
    This study group provision is available in Islam with the name of “IGHTAHAD”, I am quite sure othe prevailing religion’s should be having this provision too.
    No doubt this is tough time for entire humanity as the speed of modernasition & industrialisation is widening the gap among moral, cultural, social & religious values.

  19. 19 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 5, 2008 at 05:38

    Yes! a country can re-brand itself but it will take time…..

  20. 20 bjay
    May 5, 2008 at 11:30

    YE ! The Belgium have done it, why not the Austrians!?
    People has short memory.
    This is MANkIND or kind of MAN and NOT a REGIONAL PROBLEM.
    bjay connotation with accent

  21. 21 Tom
    May 5, 2008 at 12:19

    It doesn’t make any sense to me that a country ever needs “re-branding”. A confident country attracts attention merely by its culture, dynamism, natural endowment, and historical achievements.

    A country’s greatness is usually spread organically by writings and words-of-mouth from travellers, and not by any “clever” artificial marketing campaigns. Cool Britanica or not, I would love to visit the UK purely because of its massive global profile and strong historical root. China reeks in ugly bureaucracy but I am still captivated by the physical and cultural achievements of its people past and present. Australia’s history and its achievements (other than sport!) are relatively shallow, but I would still like to go there for its beaches, bright sun, and friendly people.

    Indeed, the contemplation of a re-branding immediately conveys a sense that the country feels inferior and needs a facade to cover its hidden shames. That is enough to detract me from wanting to go there… were it not for the artistical fineness of Vienna.

  22. May 7, 2008 at 06:18

    If this is not propaganda of westerners then that 42 years old woman will stupid like his monster father. How did that monster man enter to her in that underground room? She was old enough by the age of 18 when she taken in house and she know whatis going out on the world she will not escape when that monster is sleeping or fight with him during time he confuse for his sexual evil time as you said that he had many children with her.If she was taken in that underground house in 1984.Do government of Austria and her others families looking for her since time she lost? Does that monster man has any knowledge of midwife? If not how did he managed to give birth for those 7 children you said?At least your are try tell people the satanic way of sexual immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah.This all evil you tell.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: