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Baltic Journal of European Studies

Tallinn Law School, Department of Law, School of Business and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology

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Country Branding and Country Image: Insights, Challenges and Prospects. The Case of Estonia

Siiri Same / Maria Claudia Solarte-Vasquez
Published Online: 2014-05-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/bjes-2014-0008


Gaining understanding about customers ’mindset and information on their experiences is a precondition for the formulation of an effective country branding strategy. What potential tourists might learn and how they can be made to feel about a place can help small and not very well-known countries compete with bigger and more popular tourist destinations. The article focuses on the effectiveness of Brand Estonia and claims that it is still a challenge, despite the existence of an ongoing strategy. It also favors the revision of the brand identity selection and the promotion of Estonian brand, and supports a customer-based approach for their assessment. Documentary and empirical evidence show that the image of Estonia among its most important target audiences in the field of tourism does not match the Estonian brand identity. The gap in-between was evidenced by the results and content analysis of 24 in-depth interviews made with a selected group of people well acquainted with the country as well as some branding experts. This article contributes to the existing case study literature with findings that also manifest opportunities to strengthen the country brand, if its formulation develops a realistic brand identity and its promotion is based on accurate, unique and appealing ideas. It proposes academic support to innovative or alternative concepts for the country branding, and comments on applications of this study to more specific fields and further research.

Keywords: country branding; country image; destination; Estonia; experience; place marketing


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About the article

Siiri Same

Siiri Same is a PhD candidate at Tallinn University of Technology (TUT). She is a sales and marketing manager at Âripâev, a member of the Bonnier Business Press Group, and is actively involved in organizing marketing conferences. She received her master’s degree with honors from TUT on Business Administration in 2006 and has been a successful practitioner for over 15 years. She has also taught Brand Management to graduate students and contributes to academic activities at the university. Siiri has worked for both the private and public sectors at institutions such as Enterprise Estonia, Swedbank, Kalev Chocolate Factory, and Santa Maria, and has been Head of Marketing and Communication at TUT. Her main fields of interest are place marketing, brand management, and experience marketing techniques. She currently focuses on country branding and customer experience management research.

Maria Claudia Solarte-Vasquez

Maria Claudia Solarte-Vasquez received her LLM degree from the Washington College of Law of the American University. She obtained a BA in law and political sciences from the Law Department of Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellin, Colombia. Her professional activity has developed in the field of international transactions and risk management. Since 1996 she has designed courses that incorporate preventive law approaches and alternative resolution methods for dispute resolution. For 16 years she has lectured ADR, introduction to law, comparative legal systems, and legislative policy, with focus on its convergence with technology and innovation. Internet governance has been the subject of her latest research. Her main concerns regard regulatory legitimacy and the limits of the rule of law doctrine.

Published Online: 2014-05-17

Published in Print: 2014-06-01

Citation Information: Baltic Journal of European Studies, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 137–165, ISSN (Online) 2228-0596, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/bjes-2014-0008.

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© by Siiri Same. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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