Rebranding a Nation

A recent NPR article highlighted the recent efforts made by the Haitian government to “rebrand” Haiti. After living in Haiti for six years as a child, I couldn’t contain my excitement. For years, I’ve listened to natives, visitors, scholars, and policymakers speak about the troubled state of the nation. I never understand why Haiti was considered such a “basket case” of a nation. In just one moment everything can change from being tranquil to violent. Haiti has changed a lot and the country has experienced a great amount of stability, especially when compared to the early 90s and other years. Although it is suffering from the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, the level of stability has enabled the government to move forward in rebranding the nation.
Lessons learned in this class have demonstrated that communication can go far in rebranding a product or a country. In the past couple of months organizations in Haiti have taken real steps to show a different, more positive, side of the country. As illustrated by the NPR article, President Martelly insists on introducing the world to new Haiti—the Haiti that many have effectively kept out of the picture for centuries. Speaking about the country’s beauty and potential was just not the mainstream thing to do. However, with new media the Haitian government is fighting to change the norm when referring to Haiti. Many new organizations are establishing Facebook pages and Youtube videos that focus on the beauty of Haiti and the touristic opportunities provided by the country. Using new media will not erase the many stereotypes held about Haiti but it can began—and actually has begun—a new conversation about the country. The rebranding of Haiti is starting with tools found in communication strategies and new media.

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