DES: The 'velvet divorce' between the Czech Republic and Slovakia has created not only new opportunities for both countries but also a major recognition headache - particularly for Slovakia.
TINA: I think you're referring to the confusion between the Slovakia and Slovenia brand names.
DES: You may recall, when the then Governor of Texas, a certain George W Bush, was asked a question by a Slovak journalist, infamously answered "The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned from your foreign minister who came to Texas". Confusingly, Bush had met the leader from the Balkan state of Slovenia, not Slovakia.
TINA: Now throw in Slavonia - not a nation state, but a province of modern-day Croatia - and you have triple S-vision confusion.
DES: So what are the destination leaders of Slovakia to do?
TINA: Short of changing its name - a political hot potato - or reverting to its official name - The Slovak Republic - a 6-syllable mouthful - Slovakia is in urgent need of a big brand idea to propel it to the top of the leader board in the central European name game.
DES: Ironically, the clue for a big brand idea can be found within the names of Slovakia and Slovenia - as well as Slavonia - who have all preserved the ancient S-L-A-V name within their country names.
TINA: By creating and championing a new Slavic brand category, all three destinations have the perfect opportunity to re-position their brands within a new exciting category.
DES: The situation is very similar to that found in Central America, where a number of destination brands - from Guatemala to Belize to El Salvador to western Honduras to southern Mexico - are all poised to develop a category based on the ancient Mayan civilisation. Witness the Riviera Maya - a fabulous sub-brand of the Mayan category.
TINA: The big question here is: Which middle European destination will be first to claim pole position to champion the Slavic brand category? (See Footnote: Bratislava).
'Brand' the Marketect says:
"The expansion of European unionism triggers the opposite effect: The proliferation of European tribalism - opening up unrivalled opportunities for destinations - throughout the Continent - to re-position themselves within new, brand-building categories".
Slovakia's Bratislava is the only European capital city with the important four S-L-A-V letters within its brand name - an outstanding opportunity for the city to position itself on a global stage as the Capital of a virtual Slavic brand category.