With this article we initiate the reflections around the country brand concept and the present and future values that, in my humble opinion, it represents. I will not go about everything that appears in the newspaper archives and about what I have written extensively, but I will make four notes of what has happened since when in the summer of 2019 I decided to stop writing about the Marca Andorra (Brand Andorra).
Precisely on March 12, 2019, the Marca Andorra project was presented in the General Council room after years of effort by the Andorran Business Confederation, the Commons, Government and General Council. The video of the event is by the way posted on the internet. From that moment have happened elections, a coalition government, and a change of strategy in the promotion of the country, both in the tourism field and in the field of attraction of talents and investment. And as it is said in these cases, the project was kept in a “drawer” jointly guarded by the CEA and the Government, waiting to be released one day.
Meanwhile, progressive and motivated Ministeri d’Economia i Presidència (Ministry of Economy and Presidency) has approved an important economic promotion strategy applied through Andorra Business, Andorra Research and Innovation, and Andorra Digital, which has greatly helped to position Andorra internationally, especially with respect to the digital economy, entrepreneurship and innovation. This has led to the arrival of significant number of entrepreneurs and talents in recent years to legislate in this regard, even in pioneering issues such as that which refers to digital assets, what surely places us at the forefront of the Blockchain universe. Undoubtedly, all the bodies and institutions mentioned have “branded the country” and aligned themselves with the values that define a modern, innovative, and future-focused country.
But what about the “Marca Andorra project” of 2019 that is still in the drawer? Is its message still applicable 4 years later? In fact, the CEA (Confederació Empresarial Andorrana), as the main promoter of the project, both at the CEA Awards 2020 and 2022, has continued to maintain the Marca Andorra Award, that is considered to have best contributed to promoting the values of our country´s brand by rewarding,
for example, young people as David Aguilar Handsolo and the skier Joan Verdú, and participating in the jury as a “promoter of the Andorra Brand”. Now, the project itself, the one that we defined with multiple surveys among all the citizens of this country and even those from outside who also wanted to contribute, and that chooses “Balance” as its central idea, defining us well as a country and which had to be developed with a whole series of projects, is still in the “drawer” waiting to be honored as it is: the opinion of people of an entire who, in an unusual gesture of global democracy for the country and showing a resurrected “sense of belonging”, opined and decided by majority.
Now that we are starting an electoral period that will culminate with elections on April 2, it is a good time to talk about country´s values, full democracy, respect for everyone’s opinion, actions in everyone’s interest and, perhaps, it is important to realize that we are not exactly free from political actions. At the same time, fewer and fewer people feel motivated to participate in an event as meaningful as electing the future presidents who must decide so much about the future of our country.
In 2019, there were approximately 18,000 voters out of a census of 28,000 and a total population of 80,000. How many will there be in 2023? This is the challenge! And to combat disaffection, what could be better than resurrecting the “sense of belonging”, which makes us feel from here, from our land and which makes us believe in its values and its people, politicians, rulers or ordinary citizens; what makes us think with optimism when we project ourselves towards the future; what makes us proud of our distinctive features, our mountains, our climate, our quality of life, our welcoming spirit, and what motivates us to be strong together in the face of adversity.
All these values and feelings are part of a country brand that defines and differentiates us from the rest of the world, that makes us unique and unrepeatable. That is why we cannot afford to accept that a significant part of the population lives with their backs to a reality that affects us all. For this reason, we need what is written and kept in the “drawer” of this country’s recent history, a Marca Andorra project that is based on the feeling of belonging to the territory, to its people and idiosyncrasies, to its culture and its history.
In short, we need instruments and actions that help us implement a new process of political re-attachment. The most essential and fundamental ones that encourages those affected to recover the feeling of being part of the day-to-day life, the problems, and solutions. We need the same energy that at a given moment drives us to fill pavilions to support our team, we need to recover our feeling of belonging to our country and feel, in favor of the values that derive from it, responsible for what happens every day.
So, I fervently recommend to our future rulers, that they pay more attention to all the good that is kept in “the drawer” where the Marca Andorra project was once deposited!
By Pere Augé, CEO and Founding Partner of Augé Holding Group
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