Nation Branding: Turkey

Currently, I am working on my thesis proposal, I spend hours and hours on the internet, trying to find branding theories and case studies. To my surprise, I ran into a case study from Turkey (link is in Turkish). I have gone through the website, there are many prominent social figures involved in the project. Basing my claims on the presentation they have, many talented work on the project for two years and came up with a highly structured branding plan for Turkey…

The Association for Public Relations was supporting this project, I believe this is why at the end of the day, the project produced four main branding “slogans” for Turkey (to be delivered to EU audience):

  • Turkey is a young power for you
  • Be fresh, be cool
  • It is time to get together
  • It is time to make business

Although, these are acceptable messages; if we are going for a national brand – we need more than just an image of a “good” business partner.

Eventually, an esteemed Turkish national brand will indirectly affect the business. However, if the brand is defined on business, it will be extremely difficult to expand the effects of a good brand to political and social areas.

Perfect recipe for me:

There is a need for branding in Turkey. I am a strong advocate of grass-roots public diplomacy attempts. I believe individuals can create a “change”. All my research is focused on nation branding, implementing marketing principles to political communication and public diplomacy. I am enthusiastic about these subject and I can take risks! For the first time in my life, I will do my best to start a project by myself without an institutional sponsor!


For a similar project for Israel, please take a look at this link.

I will keep posting about my progress!


4 thoughts on “Nation Branding: Turkey

  1. Neva says:


    I agree with the branding… In a manner whether it is done intentionally or not a certain image is created of each country, which in turn reflects on its citizens. Now the question is, why not make this image a more purposeful one? Why leave it so much to chance? With certain deliberate actions to work on creating a stronger image for Turkey, Turkey can in turn be provided with a stronger soft power. Currently, for instance, there are 150 million Turkic people that live beyond Turkich borders but the majority are attracted more so to the Russian soft power appeal then that which Turkey presents. In 2001 at the Turkic summit in Istanbul only Azerbaijan spoke Turkish for instance and the other representatives spoke in Russian… Now in no manner do I mean to advocate a pro-nationalist stance but through the above example I hope to illustrate the weakness of Turkey’s image when compared to various powers that lie close to Turkey’s territories….

  2. Josie says:

    This is a very interesting project. New Zealand profits a lot from its prominent brand – Clean, Green New Zealand, recently exalted in a global 100% Pure campaign. Im not sure if this image was naturally developed, or if the origins can be traced back to a purposeful effort at national branding – but it is sure that it now pervades all areas of social, cultural, political and economic life, from grassroots to the top level of government. In addition, individual cities have become increasingly aware of a need to “compete”… this has resulted in a surge of independent branding and catchphrase slogans – to varying degrees of success. The most effective campaign in NZ was: Absolutely Positively Wellington! .. less so, was Palmerston North “Young Heart, Easy Living”, and understandably so. (Global examples include I AMsterdam, or I ❤ NY). Trying to reconcile the rising competitive city scenario with national branding would be an interesting aspect to explore…

    I look forward to following how your research progresses!

  3. Aylin says:

    Exciting project and I believe the “grassroots” will be of much help to draw the image you are looking for. What does their Turkey look like? What do they appreciate? How do they communicate their Turkishness (esp. when in other countries)? Like Neva, I don’t promote a nationalist approach, it’s rather figuring out positive aspects and potentials of a country.
    Interestingly, I found a slogan homepage ranking the 100 most used words in German advertisements; maybe doing something like that for Turkey will also help on the way for a branding: (I am happy to translate words you don’t understand, but it’s more about the idea itself). Basarilar and keep us up to date!

  4. Arda says:

    Hi Efe. Emin sent me your pages link yesterday. I think this is a quite a promising research topic and a challenging one as well. Its challenging as there could be endless approaches to achieve a successful outcome or Here is my two cents.
    First, the notion of branding and its scale must be at the top of your agenda. One can describe and item, e.g an apple, its nutritional info then promote its health benefits and few more. Whereas a nation is an intricately woven fabric of multi-cultural,economical, historical heritage of its people,and at the of course top its living people. it’s not an easy task to picture every facets of a nation in a single framework. So you need to ask yourself who’s my audience? corporates? tourists? or just educate foreigners about Turkey and its people? Then you gotta ask what’s needed to be emphasized to that audience? and finally how to the convey my message. I guess creating a set of sub-brands with different emphasis and messages is a sensible approach.

    Second,the idea of creating slogans… Its old school. Its 80’s and 90’s thing and I believe its not so effective in this so-called information age where you get your news in near-real-time (considering the availability of mobile devices and internet). You can easily forget a slogan if its not interesting enough. Lets see. The first item on your slogan list: “Turkey is a young power for you”. This reminded me the poster when Poland was bidding for EU. It was conveying a similar message as far as I remember, it depicted an eager polish construction worker with helmet and tools and ready to work. It caused quite a stir in EU with the criticism of influx of cheap labor power can lower wages, can replace native labor etc. I couldn’t find the original but i also found this, something more recent. See how polish tourism office reacts 🙂

    So the ambiguity in a slogan can easily cause adverse effects. This why how to convey message is very important.You wouldn’t want to send a message to EU and intimidate them by saying our young labor force is ready to take all the jobs in EU, get ready. The second item “Be fresh, be cool” sounds more like a shampoo or aftershave ad to me 🙂

    Anyone can be a self-proclaimed reporter nowadays. The tools of the trade are cheap and accessible. A cheap digi-camera or phone and social network websites such as youtube,liveleak, twitter personal blogs etc. is all you need to be heard by masses. The only thing is finding out something smart and unique to attract people. In this sense, I agree with your idea to take action by grass-roots policies and use real ordinary people and their stories.
    Remember the “Best Job in the world” ad, which was on the news few months ago. Anyone all around the world, who has access to mass media heard about it.The task is to blog about your daily life in paradise-like island and let the people know around the world. In my opinion, that’s probably the most clever publicity stunt in recent years. Behind this whole the thing is the Tourism office of Queensland, Australia. Makes you want to go see the Great Barrier Reefs.period.
    I think a task like branding a nation is not an overnight process. As Josie said above, it is naturally developing in time, which is shaped by the actions of governments and the collective behavior of the nations citizens and also other daily occurring events. (accomplishments in tech, art, science, sports, disasters etc.)
    So i guess as a marketer, promoter or branding job guy its a continpus process to think out of the box, come up with something unique and attractive ways to present the the actual bits and pieces of life in a nation, its culture its history. You ignite the spark and let the others spread the news and contribute the “branding” process.

    Just like the real guitar hero 🙂 Joe Satriani did in his last album by naming a song after the to famous Turkish bard and humanist Asik Veysel. He was handed a CD of the famous bard during a tour in Turkey, later on when he got back home he listened it and influenced by his music and his life story and dedicate his song. No one paid him to do so.
    joe satriani

    I just found this on wikipedia:
    Looks like Turkey has not a plausible rank in the list. actually not all. good luck with your research, let us know how it goes!

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