Dutch marketing ace proposes ambitious nation branding for Estonia

Peter Kentie, the Dutch marketing and branding specialist, has proposed an ambitious and clever nation branding for Estonia, where emphasis is on an “-est” concept and a new slogan, “just estonishing”.

Kentie is the managing director of Eindhoven365 and he is responsible for the place branding and marketing of the city and region of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Having spent some time in the country, he is a long-time fan of Estonia and recently became an e-resident.

peterkentie-1462653019-69“I am a convinced and proud e-resident and really thankful of Estonia. The country and the people touched me deeply and have such a positive impact on me that I decided to actively contribute to inspire and ignite the discussion on nation branding of Estonia,” Kentie said.

Kentie told Estonian World that he was inspired to suggest a new branding for Estonia, after seeing that the country is struggling to find a coherent nation branding and marketing strategy. “Estonia has invested in its future by transforming the country and is performing globally on a high level in specific areas. The country is improving steadily in creating global awareness. Yet the image in international media has to better fit its ambitions and potential.”

Kentie said that prior to creating the concept, he did a lot of research to capture and understand the essence of Estonia. “Estonia offers a state of mind, a philosophy that any country, region or city state can follow. e-Estonia truly inspires the world. It’s a unique way of thinking and acting in this modern digital age, being the ‘est’,” Kentie explained.

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Kentie said the international usability of the “-est” concept is underlined by the fact that many more languages feature or use the three letters ‘est’, like French (C’est formidable), Italian (sud est) and even in Latin (Est! Est!! Est!!!).

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“Interesting words like ‘guest’, ‘modest’, ‘protest’ and ‘invest’ create opportunities to enhance the idea to strengthen the Estonian image and position your country as a welcoming and future business-oriented startup destination. The ‘-est’ concept is not about bragging, not claiming to be the best. It’s simply being the ‘est’ as a mentality, a state of mind: in life, in ambition, in the world,” Kentie said.

Kentie asserts that “Brand Estonia”, first and foremost, has to be a brand that Estonians take as theirs and feel connected to. “It has to work inside out.”

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Instead of the current slogan, “positively surprising”, which is used to market the country, Kentie has proposed “just estonishing”. “‘Just’ is unique and ‘estonishing’ is a new word, created just for Estonia. Remember: a brand positioning is what you do to the prospect, a great lesson from marketing expert Al Ries. He favours a simple, single concept that is certain to get more important as the years roll by.”

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Among other ideas, Kentie has proposed .est domain name extension. “The monetisation of the concept can be realised by the new domain name .est. This is an effective method to spread the concept internationally and to introduce your own exclusive TLD (top level domain), as an addition to the commonly used .ee country identifier.”

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Kentie said his goal was to make it really happen and that the “-est” concept is picked up and embraced by the Estonian decision makers. “I think it can be of value to Estonia. Your branding must stand out and represent distinctive values and benefits. The ‘-est’ concept has captured this creatively and in a persuasive way.”

Estonia Nation Branding

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Pictures courtesy of Peter Kentie.

About the author: Estonian World

Estonian World is a global independent online magazine, founded in London in 2012 and headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia. The magazine has editorial representations in London, New York, Toronto and Tallinn, and contributors all over the world, on every continent. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

  • Leo Siemann

    A Great story and effort by Peter! I wrote about .EST domain & branding at Eesti Päevaleht in 2010 already: http://epl.delfi.ee/news/arvamus/loome-uue-est-domeeni?id=51279805 * Do we need always someone from outside to tell what is good for us? and why is it taking for so long anyway to grasp this simple concept? Take it or leave it, but here is another one for you – http://estonia100.com 🙂 L.

  • Alexander Schubert

    I am the co-founder of .berlin and the founder of .gay and I am currently preparing to create an applicant for the 2019/2020 new gTLD round. So I have a bit of background info from 1st hand experience:

    Right now the current AGB (the rules for the 2012 new gTLD round) is not allowing to apply for an ISO 3166-1
    Alpha 3 code element (or it’s permutation). That’s why Google had to can
    “.and”, “.are” and “.est” (they had applied for those – and then had to withdraw the applications). Who knows, maybe Google applied ON BEHALF of
    Estonia? But then they would have mentioned that.

    In its application Google wanted to do the exact same thing as Peter Kentie – but never mentioned Estonia!

    Excerpt from the Google application for .est in 2012:
    “The
    proposed gTLD will provide the marketplace with direct association to
    the term, ʺest,ʺ a common suffix utilized to describe the superlative of
    an adjective (e.g., smallest, fastest, smartest.) The mission of this
    gTLD, .est, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which registrants
    can enact second-level domains that provide content related to the
    registrantsʹ usage of the term ʺest.ʺ Charleston Road Registry expects
    these uses may include but are not limited to offering content that is
    centralized around a second-level domain name, such as fast.est or
    cool.est.”

    http://www.schubert.berlin