SXSWi 2016: Building the Perfect Country

We hate to get political, but the fact is that Donald Trump has gotten farther in the election than most expected him to. Which means that many Americans are threatening to run away to Canada if Trump is elected -The Daily News just published “The complete guide to fleeing President Donald Trump’s America.” Canada- and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - have never been more popular.

But even if this year’s election doesn’t result in a Trump presidency, globalization paired with the freelancer economy has enabled a very mobile workforce - particularly among millennials.

A 2014 study by BCG found that “at 59 percent, Americans 21 to 30 are far more willing than Americans in general to consider opportunities abroad. There is now a surplus of resources available for those who are working remotely.

For example, the “Nomad List” helps freelancer find the best places in the world to live and work remotely. Global citizens now have the opportunity to “vote” with where they chose to work, and consequently where they choose to spend their money.

The bottom line: As borders become more blurred and people less tied to their physical space, active choice in country allegiance has become the new norm. Which means country branding is more important than ever.

The idea of country branding isn’t new – for years, Egypt has had its pyramids, Italy has been associated with the Roman Empire, and France has embodied the idea of chic indulgence. What is new is the Best Countries study with BAV Consulting, Wharton and U.S. News, which asks more than 16,000 global citizens, business leaders and influencers to rate 60 countries on 75 dimensions, allowing us to quantify and shape country brands. With this study, we set out to learn how countries are perceived as brands, what the “ideal nation” looks like, which perceptions shape a country’s social, economic, and political futures, and what countries can learn from each other.

Our panel at SXSW ‘Building the Perfect Country’ will explore just this. In a world where citizens have become global consumers, how can countries build the best brands? Our expert panel of leaders in Tech (Facebook’s Will Platt-Higgins), Communications (U.S. News & World Report’s Brian Kelly), Marketing (BAV’s very own Anna Blender), and Government (Israel’s Ido Aharoni) will unpack why traditional measures, like GDP alone, do not convey “best” in today’s world and how nations can best build their brands.

Building the Perfect Country Monday, March 14, 9:30 AM JW Marriott, Salon 3-4 110 E 2nd Street