Previously, we analyzed the Czech Republic’s new promotional logo, which did not receive a warm welcome. Unfortunately, the campaign failed to convey unique and compelling messages to the three major audiences of any place branding campaigns: Visitors, potential investors and the locals. We think this campaign did the expected: Promoted “the stereotypical Czech Republic.” However, successful branding requires us to disregard the stereotypes and instead look at the archetypes of the place. In Roman times, it used to be called the Genius Loci: the protective spirit of the place. Our article ended by asking the following questions:
- Why is Czech Republic the home to Bohemia?
- Why the Velvet Revolution took place here?
- Why the 1968 Spring happened in Prague?
In life, “why” is the most powerful question we can ever ask. “Why” takes us on a journey, in which we are clueless about the destination and the itinerary. If we can liken the Czech archetype to an artichoke, then metaphorically speaking, asking “why” would allow us to peel the leaves of the artichoke until we reach its very heart: The Czech Republic’s archetypal meaning. Arguably, here are the key elements of the Czech archetype:
- The Czech culture values stability and it creates a balanced and caring environment: The “Velvet” Revolution, the Prague Spring and the Separation are all manifestations of Czechs yearning for harmony, order and peace. Actually, this is more than a yearning; it is a reality.
- The Czech culture is humanist. Case in point: Pluralism, an accepting society (respect for the man on the street is the corner stone of democracy), and countless festivals (the joy of living together and celebration of the ordinariness of communal life.)
- Czechs value artistic creativity and exploration. Countless innovations, famous Czech writers and artists as well as the notorious Czech beer tradition are all manifestations of the Czech genius loci, which constantly explores, envisions and innovates.
One thing that is worthy of our attention is the fact that Czechs haven’t been on a major war for almost two centuries. Obviously, this is not because they are not good at fighting, but because they choose not to do it, which reminds me a virtue of a warrior:
“A warrior’s highest task is not to pull out his sword, not to fight.”
Maybe we can imagine Czech Republic as a “wise warrior”, aiming to protect the peace. Mythologically, this is the role of Quirinus…
Quirinus, like Mars, was a war god. His role was to defend communities and their crops against disease. He drove off disease, rust on crops. He was the veteran warrior always on guard during the time of peace. So, if we liken Czech Republic to Quirinus, then what is the modern equivalent of crop disease? What can Czech Republic protect the world from? Here are three levels of potential enemies:
- At the political level: Czechs’ respect for harmony can be a beacon of hope for humanity and help heal the world, which suffers from conflicts, wars and sorrow. The Czech archetype can fight the root of all modern crop diseases: fundamental hatred.
- At the social level: In an ego-driven world, where individuals are taught and forced to fight for everything, the joyous Czech Quirinus can fight to reduce the world’s stress, boredom and ennui, healing our collective soul. It can also fight for the Aphrodite, our yearning for the nicer things and beauty in life and become a design hub.
- At the individual level: Globally, spirituality is on the rise. Pious people practice religion, secular ones turn to Eastern traditions such as mediation and yoga. Also yearning for creativity is on the rise. Individuals want to transform themselves and look for a North Star. Czech Republic can be the Mecca for innovation, where individuals as well as corporations could discover their gifts and create a better self.
Our above analysis reveals that Czech Republic could play the role of Quirinus, the guardian of peace. It can fight social diseases of modern era and help build a better world. This role, combined with good storytelling, and creative initiatives could be a unique, compelling and sustainable positioning for Czech Republic. What do you think?