Hamish McRae: Ireland - A brand to make the rest green with envy
Sunday 17 February 2013
Some good news about Ireland. No, it's not that austerity seems to be working and that Dublin is regaining access to the financial markets and is now less dependent on life support from Europe. Austerity may indeed be working, but the social costs are huge and continuing, and they are falling largely on people who had nothing to do with the disaster. So any success has to be set against those costs.
No, the good news is quite different. Next month, on 17 March, St Patrick's Day, there will be a greening of the globe.
Many famous sites of the world have been floodlit in green on previous years, including the Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Empire State Building in New York. But this year for the first time they are joined by a number of firsts, including the Pyramids of Giza, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Welcome sign in Las Vegas, the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, City Hall in Houston, the Citadel in Jordan, the Tower of Hercules in Galicia in Spain, the new EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam, the International School in Bonn, the Allianz Arena in Munich – and HMS Belfast in London.
This is about the power of the brand. No other country is able to project an image (literally, actually) on the most famous sites of the world. The US can't do it, nor can the UK, though both have very strong cultural brands.
Scotland has got the words of its national poet, Robbie Burns, sung by upwards of a billion people every New Year – even if "Auld Lang Syne" does get pretty mangled in the process – but even Scotland cannot get itself on the pyramids.
What does it mean in economic terms? Not as much perhaps as it should, but in a world where everything is increasingly the same, any country that has a brand that can stand out will gain more and more.
It is just now a question of extracting more value, even if St Patrick would spin in his grave at the thought.
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...