If Egypt is going to be a competitive nation brand globally, the country must make better use of digital communications and marketing – The sentiment was a common theme amongst the communications and marketing experts who were speaking at the second Narrative Summit last month in Cairo.
With an agenda that was focused on how Egypt could improve its brand image both at home and abroad – Several dozen national and international experts spoke on how the country could re-establish itself as a leading destination for trade, investment, and tourism.
Comparing Egypt to other key regional markets, Kailash Nagdev, CEO – MENA and South Asia – YouGov MENA, shared research on how Egypt and Cairo performed in terms of mentions and overall content shared online – Over a set period, Dubai, Istanbul and Turkey received 57, 47 and 30 million mentions respectively. In contrast, Egypt and Cairo received 10 and 3 million mentions respectively.
On the vacation website Tripadvisor YouGov’s research painted a similar picture. Where Dubai had over 360 thousand reviews for things to do and 315 thousand restaurant reviews, Cairo had just over 50 thousand reviews for things to do, and just under 30 thousand restaurant reviews.
“It’s clear that Egypt needs to do more to create and curate content, which better reflects the country’s various attractions to improve how the national brand is showcased globally,” said Nagdev. “In effect, Egypt’s marketers and communicators should seek to tell the country’s story themselves, through effective online content marketing.”
The audience heard various examples of how other nations have sought to brand build online, including #MyDubai and VisitSweden’s experiment to allow Swedish residents control of the @Sweden Twitter account, to tell their own national story.
Hany Mahmoud, chairman of Vodafone Egypt, spoke of the need to look outside the country, to learn from others and emulate their branding successes.
“We must use the tools used by other countries to create change, promote a distinctive self-image and foster an international reputation that serves the nation’s interests in a positive and effective way,” said Mahmoud.
Egypt’s brand custodians may have their work cut out for them. According to Brand Finance’s recent rankings, the country’s brand value and ranking has actually slipped over the past year, from 55th to 57th, even as the economy and tourism recover. One attendee summed up the challenge.
“There’s so much talent in the country, and we’ve transformed the country through using online tools,” explained the person who wished to remain anonymous. “However, we need to change the mindset of those at the top, so that they let our marketing and communications experts get on with the job. Let our talent loose, and they’ll show you how good a job we can do of branding Egypt online.”