In one of his movies, Jack Nickolson, or the character he plays wholeheartedly admits that to do business in Egypt he had to “bribe an Egyptian”. In Egypt’s defense, the sentence referred to the Middle East at large. The question is, for a high-profile movie played by a veteran like Nickolson, this is how Egypt- from an investment/ entertainment perspective is being portrayed, whether a reality or not, is enough to mandate one. This is ample to contribute to shaping a nation brand and create an impact- not so many events, government statements and solid promises can change. “ if Jack Nickolson said it in a Hollywood movie- it must be somewhat true” screams a believer- like me- in the un-calculated impact of soft powers.
Nation Branding Impact on Economy
“Canada is considered one of the top performing countries in nation branding as most of the searches made about the country’s tourism, investment, exports, talent and nation prominence are positive and indicate that the country is appealing to live in.” – Digital Country Index 2017. “Top 5 countries searched for globally in terms of “Investment:” 1. China, 2. India, 3. USA, 4. Japan, 5. Germany” – Digital Country Index 2017 “Top 5 countries searched for globally in terms of “Tourism:” 1. Spain, 2. Italy, 3. France, 4. United Kingdom, 5. Japan” – Digital Country Index 2017.
For decades Egypt has been known for tourism! For its historic state, iconic monuments, the pyramids! and lately its amazing white sand beaches. When you read this quote about a specific country “The Fashion is unbelievable. The people are stylish and fit, the beaches and the nightlife is out of this world. It’s a real fun country” by Wharton Marketing professor Dave Reibstein, do you think of Egypt? Spain? Brazil? No, the professor is referring to Israel. Yes Israel. Egypt is currently not on the index. When culture icons, academic experts are quoted, it becomes a reality to millions of people because for many people, those people actually are very believable. If people like us speak, people with no agenda, bearing only our professional skills, abilities, regional and global exposure; many would listen.
As professional Egyptians, we live in our office bubble, go back to our homes possibly in another gated compound bubble or in a district like Maadi or Zamalek! – the bubble of all bubbles- talk to our friends who also live in a bubble, go out on weekends and complain to our bubble. We complain from not being appreciated as we should, from how we and the country are being negatively perceived globally- we read it in the New York Times, we watch it in Jack Nickolson movies and we grasp it in the eyes of most foreigners we meet- we can’t help but ask and receive the same question over and over; what happened to Egypt? What happened to Egyptians? While at the same time, the digital index is screaming; Spain! Japan! Italy, Canada! Dubai.
If we care so much to have a voice, locally and globally, we must get out of the bubble, meet up, present our thoughts collectively under one roof. We must have well-crafted direction on how skilled labor can be utilized, how education must be enriched, how Egypt can get on the internet with compelling stories? How policy makers should include Nation Branding in their plans.
Narrative 2016 brought the best local and global narrators to discuss PR topics and personal stories under one roof. In 2017- Wait for a lineup of more than 30 speakers- among whom are Jason Mackenzie, President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), Hany Mahmoud, Chairman of Vodafone, Jean Marc-Harion, CEO at Orange Egypt, Patrick Jephson, Chief of Staff for Princess Diana, Eric Trager, Esther K. Wagner Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Maya Morsy, Head of Egypt’s National Council for Women, Hossam Badrawi, Chairman of Nile Badrawi Foundation for Education & Development, Mohamed Khodeir, Former President of GAFI, Heba El Sewedy Founder of Ahl Masr Mohamed Shelbaya, General Manager at PepsiCo Egypt & Jordan, Yasser Abdul Malak, Chairman and CEO of Nestle North East Africa Region, Ehab Mostafa, Ex Microsoft and president of ITIda and current Chief of Strategies & New Revenue Stream, Alkan CIT Group, Alexis Moyrand, Managing Director, Sanofi Egypt & Sudan, Hatem Safei, Managing Director, Bayer Egypt, Libya, Sudan & Yemen. All coming to shed immediate light on Nation Branding. A not fully tapped topic that must get us out of our professional bubble.
More speakers from entertainment, culture, NGOs all under one roof speaking the same language, narrating their stories and giving a road map on how Egypt can be perceived and how a nation should be branded.
Register now to have a voice, listen to a voice and make a change on a whole nation and more give a persuasive answer to Jack Nicholson.