Aspen Romania organized on June 27, 2012, the roundtable "Bursting with Creativity - A new Brand Proposition for Romania", having as keynote speaker Mr. Peter Georgescu, former CEO and Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam Inc.
The event was the third one in a series of debates on country branding initiated last year by the Aspen Institute Romania, with the aim of creating the circumstances for informed and continued dialogue and generating concrete proposals for creating a clear and coherent country brand. To that end, we brought together public authorities, public figures, representatives of the Romanian industry and business, and foreign investors around a one-day, closed-doors round table, to discuss shared challenges, perceptions and vision, instruments to better coordinate, necessary levers and conditions to generate a favorable environment for more efficient action. This builds on previous public and private Romanian efforts much inspired by Mr. Georgescu's ideas and input almost a decade ago.
Prior discussions focused primarily on national identity and on identifying the most powerful Romanian commercial brands. We now propose a debate that will include and develop topics the Aspen Institute has worked on in parallel - national economic competitiveness, skill and industrial policies. Country branding has become a strategic tool for competitiveness; that is why states all over the world are working on shaping and reshaping their perceived identities. Romania must embark on the same type of project if it wants to achieve competitive advantage in terms of exports, investments and positive image.
A country brand must exhibit a differentiating proposition. What will be Romania's proposition? The White Paper on National Economic Competitiveness published by the Aspen Institute Romania points towards information technology and creative industries as areas where Romania could have a competitive advantage. Further discussions with Carl Hahn, former CEO of Volkswagen explored the potential of the industry sector and the relevance of investing in the manufacturing sector. Also, the Aspen Romania Report on the Necessary Skills for an IT Economy offers identifies important ways to maximize what Romania has to offer in the IT&C sector, in terms of visibility, impact and capacity of the sector and how we can establish Romania as a primary destination for IT&C investments. We will therefore focus on the relationship between country brand, national competitiveness and industrial policies.
The debates explored how to create a balance between resources, natural and human potential, and an emerging and dynamic creative sector that corresponds to future economic needs at European level. The advantage of this approach is that it takes into account the Romanian context, including its weaknesses, and turns the latter into assets in a context in which the mix of skills, creativity, competitiveness, and the manufacturing - services link will be defining for Europe's economic prospects.
We have invited for this event a small number of branding and advertising professionals, creative sector representatives (design, arts & crafts, fashion, technology), investors and governmental actors.