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.
“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.
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!!!).
“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Pictures courtesy of Peter Kentie.