“Consistency has a lot to do with effort. (…) Success must always be treated as provisional. Not as a fruit of chance, but as something that easily expires if you lose the consistency that you based your first successes. Consistency causes few to remain, and only those who know how to combine ambition with humility know how to sustain it over time”. (1)

In the words of Professor Xavier Marcet, “consistency is the sum of results and adaptation”.

Consistency is the expression of authenticity. A person – and also a brand – plot their consistency in the sum of strategic decisions, not guided solely by short-term tactics. There are no more secrets to achieve consistency. The concatenation of small strategic decisions shapes a widespread perception of consistency around that person or brand.

Consistent national brands, therefore, are those that know how to combine a strategic vocation with a bold proactivity to detect opportunities.

Sometimes the opportunities are opened from a accurate reading of the socio-political context. The paradigmatic example is Iceland and the “Inspired by Iceland” campaign, launched in the wake of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in spring 2010.

All national agents – public and private – rowed in the same direction to make this possible. (2)

At the institutional level, the operation started right after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, with the decision of launching “Inspired by Iceland” campaign. Her manager, Inga Hlín Pálsdottir, lifted her in 10 days. The eruption resulted in the cancellation of many flights and reservations, and the Icelandic tourism industry, together with the institutions, had to react quickly to remedy the situation.

“Actually, this was the first time many companies joined forces. The [Inspired by Iceland] campaign was a cause for pride for them. The government had invested so much money – more than we expected to invest in a startup. that companies also decided to put in the same amount of money. They felt like this was their campaign, “explained Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir.

The fact is that in a few months, the banking crisis and the depreciation of the local currency – the crown – led to the rapid growth of tourism. (3)

Throughout 2019 numerous indicators showed that the Icelandic wow effect was stagnating. (4)

What is clear, in any case, is that tourism has reversed the relationship between the country’s productive sectors. While tourism represented 10% of Iceland’s GDP in 2008, it now stands at 40%.

Teamwork, intuition, daring …

Teamwork, intuition and audacity were involved in the construction of the “Inspired by Iceland” campaign.

And since then (2010) there has certainly been consistency. A consistency in brand building that even years after the Inspired by Iceland campaign launched, private companies would gather the testimony and play in their productions with the clichés that productions like the video “Ask Gudmundur”, One of the highlights of the Inspired by Iceland campaign, was framed in its time (2014).

And since then (2010) there has certainly been consistency. A consistency in brand building that even years after the launching of the campaign, private companies collected the testimony and play in their productions with the clichés present in productions like the video “Ask Gudmundur” (2014), undoubtly one of the highlights of the “Inspired by Iceland” campaign.

“Ask Gudmundur” humorously portrayed the supposed manner of Icelanders while showing some of the country’s dazzling landscapes. The influences can be seen in pieces such as the promotional spot for the Midgard Hotel (2018), a tourist attraction in southern Iceland. The profile of the traveler who chooses Iceland as a tourist destination seems to have been studied perfectly by the hotel team. It’s a video that strikes not only with local clichés, but plays openly with the “typically” family-friendly accommodation stereotype.

Over the years, “Inspired by Iceland” continues to be the paradigm for successful territory image campaigns. To make that possible, institutions and companies worked side-by-side since minute 0, along with the decisive contribution of advertising agencies such as The Brooklyn Brothers.

On the “Creative Brief” portal, campaign managers explained the procedure used:

We needed a brand idea with enough power to connect with the “core target” of millennials and undo the negativity that they might have, and turn it into a virtual social movement by itself. Instead of directly targeting tourists, we wanted to encourage Icelanders to share their inspirational stories with the world”.

And talent

You need to be brave to start your campaigns at the right moment. Iceland showed daring. And he relied on the talent of professionals, who used humor as a universal element to connect with the targets.

Humor, in turn, was a perfect catalyst for conveying the essence of the campaign: inspiring, magic, imposing territory that is worth discovering.

From humor to love

As “Inspired by Iceland” showed, when the message is clear and involves the audiences in defining the image of the territory, national brands have a great capacity for mobilization. Direct and honest communication helps make this possible. And social media works like a mass distribution tool. As Philip Kotler, Herwaman Kartajava, and Iwan Setiaman described in Marketing 4.0, “[connectivity] has been the factor that has changed the rules of the game the most in marketing history”. (5)

In 2018, the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Development International / Scottish Enterprise and the universities of Scotland combined significant proportions of their international marketing spend and resources to create Brand Scotland and support a marketing initiative house called Scotland is Now.

To that end, Scotland presented itself as a “country of first choice” for living, working, studying, investing and visiting. Choosing a radius of action was based on the nation’s recognized strengths, while highlighting Scotland’s determination to lead the world over major challenges.

“We are working with the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International / Scottish Enterprise and universities in Scotland to create a brand that focuses on four pillars: living and working, investing, studying and visiting.

This new collaborative effort will leverage our national history, technology and talent for all of Scotland to benefit and stimulate international growth.

We have fantastic products – world-renowned universities, incredible talent, history and landscapes, hospitality, entrepreneurship and a high quality of life – in combination with affordable living. This new campaign, Scotland is Now, will showcase these products to the world. Scotland is a bold and positive country, rich in history and heritage, but moving forward, pioneering and inclusive. We want Scotland to be at the top of everyone’s ‘NOW’ list”. (6)

In early 2019, the main challenge facing Scotland was the uncertainty created by the Brexit. Scotland is Open was a dramatic and heartfelt message of love for Europe from the shores of Scotland, slated to launch on March 29, 2019 (the original “Brexit Day”). The slogan was direct and suggestive: “Europe, let’s continue our love affair”.

With less than 30 business days to create a great pan-European campaign, Brand Scotland’s strategy was bold … and it paid off.

In just two weeks the campaign generated a staggering 25 million completed video views, and reached almost 40% of all people in Germany, France, Spain and Ireland (against a target of just 10%). Most importantly, Scotland’s message of love for Europe was wholeheartedly reciprocated, inspiring 8.8 million campaign engagements, with over 90% positive sentiment.

The campaign was colossal in scope:

· Over 52 million video views (over 25 million of which were completed)

· Reached more than 80 million people around the world with the ad (in the two-week period)

· All KPIs goals had been exceeded

Love, the most powerful insight

According to Brand Scotland, “the ‘Scotland is Open’ campaign illustrates what’s possible when separate organisations align behind a common goal, and dare to go fast, go big, and go bold”.

Scotland chose to seduce the European public with the most powerful insight, love. (7) Faced with a sociopolitical phenomenon that set in the European audience the mental framework of a separation or divorce – the Brexit -, Scotland was not afraid to penetrate this mental framework and offer an alternative message.

Researchers Araceli Castelló-Ramírez and Cristina del Pino-Romero recall Pascal, when he said that “the heart has its own reasons.” Insights have an enormous capacity to “establish relationships with the consumer on an emotional level (Álvarez, 20212: 179), as they refer to a vision of the interior of the consumer to immerse in his mind and heart: in (within) + sight”. (8)

With its strategic decisions, Brand Scotland has installed Scotland on the lovemarks bandwidth. (9) The architect of this concept, Kevin Roberts, was asking himself, “What makes brand loyalty go beyond reason?”

Brand Scotland meets all the goals of a lovemark and demonstrates that advertising storytelling helps build experiential communication, which involves curiosity, empathy, trust and influence. (11)

With its “Scotland is Open” campaign, Brand Scotland seems to have found the Sweet Spot (Fortini Campbell, 2001), “understood as the confluence between consumer insight and brand insight, that is, the of the consumer where the brand will make a faster connection, with less effort and more effectively”. (12)

Finally, with the video Happy Valentine’s Day, posted on social media on February 14, 2020, Brand Scotland confirmed its interest in not leaving love as a mental frame of reference. A decision that reinforces the strategic path taken and that is definitely another step to consolidate its consistency as a brand.

Photo by Evgeniy Grozev from Pexels


1 MARCET, Xavier. “Dodge mediocrity.” Editorial Platform, 2018.

2 Iceland was still a country in the midst of a financial crisis – in October 2008 – it collapsed with the country’s main commercial banks and managed to save the national economy in exchange for dropping them.

Both facts, the financial crisis and the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, are frequently mentioned when discussing Iceland’s recent tourism success. To finish framing the notoriety of the Nordic country, however, a third, and not the least, element should be added to the success of the national football team, both at Euro 2016 and at the 2018 Russia World Cup. In fact, the ‘soccer-national identity’ binomial was exploited in a very interesting way by Icelandair national airline Icelandair in a promotional spot published on the occasion of the 2018 World Cup. The slogan chosen couldn’t have been more successful : “Never stop dreaming”.

The truth is that Iceland, an island of just over 300,000 people, has reached the all-time high of 2.4 million tourists this 2018. The secret of the equation is manifold, but one thing is clear: Iceland has taken advantage of the juncture (economic shifts, unpredictable natural events and undeniable sporting achievements) to claim its place on the map and strengthen its position as a tourist destination. natural.

3 Icelandic Tourist Board: A total of 2,300,000 people spent the night in Iceland in 2018. In 2019, despite a reduction in the number of tourists compared to the previous year, the cost per night of foreign tourists increased https://www.ferdamalastofa.is/en/recearch-and-statistics/numbers -of-foreign-visitors

4 https://skift.com/2019/09/11/the-rise-and-fall-of-icelands-tourism-miracle/


6 visitscotland.org

7 Roberts (2005).

8 CASTELLÓ-RAMÍREZ, Araceli; DEL PINO ROMERO, Cristina. “From advertising to integrated persuasive communication: strategy and empathy.” ESIC, 2019

9 CASTELLÓ-RAMÍREZ, Araceli; DEL PINO ROMERO, Cristina. “From advertising to integrated persuasive communication: strategy and empathy.” ESIC, 2019

10 CASTELLÓ-RAMÍREZ, Araceli; DEL PINO ROMERO, Cristina. “From advertising to integrated persuasive communication: strategy and empathy.” ESIC, 2019

One thought on “Teamwork, intuition, daring and insights. The success of Brand Scotland and its message of love towards Europe

  1. Pingback: Nous temps per al Travel Marketing - PVS media

Comments are closed.