Does Thailand's brand, "Amazing Thailand" still
cut it in the international marketplace? David Keen, CEO of KEEN,
a Bangkok-based global branding agency, told travel industry
leaders that "Amazing Thailand", first announced in 1997, needs to
Addressing the PATA Thailand Chapter AGM last
week in Bangkok, he cited dynamic campaigns such as "Inspired by
Iceland", "Incredible India", "100% Pure New Zealand", "I Love
NY", "Egypt – Where It All Begins", and Queensland's "Island
Caretaker -- Best Job in the World" as brilliant branding
"Amazing Thailand has been eclipsed and is now
out of date compared to other destination brands that are changing
all the time," said Keen. "The current 'Amazing' campaign doesn't
reflect the future of Thailand. It is also driving [tourism]
prices down. 'Amazing' is now a misunderstood brand in the
Keen told the PATA Thailand Chapter that
Thailand has to face up to the challenge. "The branding of
Thailand and Thai institutions should be done in Thailand. It
should be done with multi-dimensional thought and the interests of
the Thai people at heart," he said.
The CEO of KEEN, which has 90 staff at its
Bangkok head office, told the audience: "We have a responsibility
to define ourselves with truth. We cannot let people misconstrue
our country, our people and values."
Commenting on the presentation, PATA Thailand
Chapter Chairman, Mr Bert van Walbeek, said, "Inspirational
branding is of paramount importance for a country's success in
tourism and business. Thailand needs to be at the forefront of
people's minds in a positive way. We can't rest on past triumphs."
Keen told the audience that a successful brand
encapsulates the soul, spirit and aspirations of a people as well
as vital aspects of a country such as its attractions, charm,
history, music, language and culture. "When creating a successful
brand, the forces that are at stake are considerable. The aim is
to get to the core and represent it truthfully," he said.
There was an additional cautionary note for
Thailand, which has experienced political instability for five
years. "When the quality of a brand drops, the quality of the
tourists that visit your country also drops," said Keen. "It is
Thailand's responsibility to uphold and keep up its brand.
Otherwise it will find itself in a downward spiral."
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