Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Can Europe be sold like a beer?

Perhaps not like a beer, but what about a designer brand? Make the Council of Europe the Chanel of Europe. It’s trendy, fashionable, exclusive, durable, and easily identifiable – all things the Council of Europe brand needs. There ought to be elegance in simplicity. All of the bureaucracy, technicalities, projects, and court cases could unify under a single banner of the European Guardians of Human Rights. From this image of “Guardian”, the brand is associated with notions of honor, intelligence, justice, strength. Legitimacy is built through its longevity and the work it has done in the past.

Like Chanel, the Council needs to stand out among other similar brands. Although there are other well known European brands – Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabana, etc – the double crossed C’s of Chanel are identifiable and distinct. Those who are not in tune with fashion may not know the particular style of Chanel, but even so, they recognize Chanel to be a separate entity. Similarly, the Council’s brand must stand apart from the European Union, the OSCE, and other European institutions. Not everyone knows that Chanel is French, but it is certainly European and certainly a very classy brand. That’s enough for it to sell its image abroad and similarly, the Council should sell its name to the US, Russia, and the rest of the world.

The difficulty arises when the brand must sell in Europe. Here is where the analogy of Chanel breaks down because unlike Chanel, the Council must sell itself as something pan-European but not monolithic. It can’t seem partial to any particular country but it also cannot swallow up individual countries because there are those who are wary of being dominated by the whole of Europe. The brand needs something to show that it appreciates the diversity of European countries while also demonstrating the need for cooperation and unity among them. Perhaps the symbol of “Guardian” can be used to be a guardian of individual countries through the effective cooperation and protection of all.

This is all a general concept for a brand the functions the brand should carry out. It does not go into much detail about how to make these things happen, and honestly, I’m not sure how PR does that. But as an overview for the goals of the brand, I think it would be best for it to be legitimate and esteemed as well as classy and attractive, like Chanel has accomplished.

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