Once the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the Covid-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 11th 2020, Bloom Consulting knew, as a consulting firm specializing in Nation and Place Branding, it had to help Countries, Regions and Cities better understand the impact of the new virus on their Nation Brands. With D2 Analytics (Bloom Consulting’s sister company), we carried out a detailed study that aims to provide resourceful data and comprehensive guidance to Country, Region and City Brands on how to manage the crisis.

The new study will be presented exclusively by our CEO, Jose Filipe Torres, in a free webinar on May 27th. The webinar will be held in partnership with City Nation Place. Rebecca Smith, Director of the New Zealand Story, and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, will also be attending the session. The study will be available online for the public on Bloom Consulting Journal the same day.

The webinar will be held in partnership with City Nation Place

The study aims to identify the real-world impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Nation Brands. The goal is to understand whether the way nations and governments are handling the global crisis is affecting the perceptions of their brands.

The software, Live Quanti – D2© and Digital Demand – D2©, analyzed the perceptions of 140 Countries. This offered us a unique perspective from which we were able to understand the extent and impact of the situation on Nation Brands and the five dimensions of Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Wheel © – tourism, investment, talent, exports and prominence.

The impact of the crisis response on Nation Branding

The Covid-19 crisis tested the ability of Countries to respond to the rapid progression of contagion like never before. The actions of institutions, governments and citizens have been drawn to the center of public opinion across the world.

Based on how the emergency was managed, have perceptions changed for better or for worse? Will this be reflected in how citizens view Countries around the world and their brands? These are some questions the Bloom Consulting study help clarify.

In the webinar, Jose Filipe Torres will address some of the 140 Countries nominated along with other specific analyses that shed light on the current situation. For example, the study showed a significant difference on perceptions of public governance and those of Identity and Culture.

The webinar’s speakers

From this discovery, the following question was to understand how these perceptions are affecting Nation Brands and what the arising consequences of Country appeal would be in terms of citizen willingness to visit, live, study, invest and buy in those Countries. The answers revealed that 68% of respondents said the crisis has changed their perception of Countries, for better or for worse.

Jose Filipe Torres will use concrete examples of the Nation Brands affected to illustrate how the R0 or R-Nought, which symbolizes the level of how infectious a virus is, can be applied to Nation Brands as a B0 or Brand-Nought. Tailored to Nation Brands, a perfect ratio of positive perceptions is required to balance negative perceptions and restore or ensure their good reputation. This is an innovative formula provided by Bloom Consulting so nations can evaluate where they stand in times of crisis. However, it is not limited to times of crisis; it can also be applied to any Nation Branding strategy.

Lastly, the webinar will cover intuitive recommendations and key strategies Nation Brands can adopt to proactively manage their brands in crisis situations and better prepare for the future.

Impact on Tourism

(A second report to be released the day after the webinar: May 28th)

In just a few weeks, we saw an unprecedented halt of a vital sector of the world economy, tourism. There was a sudden drop from 1,500,000,000 tourists in 2019 to none. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO) data, there was also an 80% reduction in commercial flights around the world resulting in airline’s potentially facing bankruptcy if the downward trend continues. This has proven to be the largest known coup in tourism, notably at a time when there were talks about too much tourism in certain parts of the world.

Although the study encompasses a thorough analysis of the five dimensions of Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Wheel ©, there was a need to create a second report dedicated to tourism, which will be released on Bloom Consulting Journal shortly after the webinar. Since this dimension is one of the most affected worldwide, we believe the collected data is a fundamental starting point for rethinking and redefining the tourism industry.

Several post-crisis scenarios were analyzed to get an idea of when tourists would be comfortable travelling again and the results were very surprising! Similar to the situation Nation Brands are faced with, there are some recommendations for DMO’s in regard to management of the current situation, preparing for the aftermath of the crisis and, above all, planning for new crises that may arise.