by Fabiana Gondim Mariutti

Reviewed by Matheus Lucas Hebling

A country brand seeks consistency of national and international reputation based on people’s experiences – for competitive positioning. Many are the expectations in the mind or the behavior of each person (Brazilian or foreigner) about Brazil, its places, its citizens, and its products. The management of the place brand is based on the promise of the brand identity (communication) and the allusions of the brand image (perception) of the country, region, or city. This promise is planned and executed by the brand management, established so that the essential meanings of the brand name itself, its core attributes, characteristics, values, and culture prevail.

A brand, conceptually and briefly saying, includes a name and/or a symbol as a differentiating icon for communication, maintenance, and enhancement of the brand itself. In the case of a place brand – country, region, or city, classic brand theories, and contemporary advertising creation are not enough in the face of the very present and necessary historical, territorial, social, cultural, environmental, economic, diplomatic, and political dimensions. Dimensions that are complex and interrelated (surrounded by various actors), highlight the actions of ordinary people, professionals, and multidisciplinary teams in favor of managing the country brand – in addition to government organizations and consultancies in the area. Occasionally, a place brand management – works far beyond the visual identity, although it is an essential communicative element in brand building.

In February 2023, the Marca Brasil with the letter “S” is relaunched by Embratur in partnership with ApexBrasil, with the approval of the current government, to promote tourist and commercial activities in the country and to project Brazil abroad.

Historically, the 2004 Marca Brasil, discreetly changed in 2009, returns to the world to harmonize the diversity of tropical Brazilianness, strengthen folkloric cultures, and prioritize the national fauna/flora.

Since 2003, officially, international promotion of Brazil has been carried out by the federal government (at the time, the Ministry of Tourism and Embratur). The first temporary Marca Brasil has launched: a nominal visual identity with an exclusive font, with the name Brasil handwritten in green with background art in yellow. Due to the aesthetic legitimacy of the differentials of this logo being the representation of a country like Brazil and with the unprecedented National Tourism Plan (NTP), a different communication with a new logo Marca Brasil was launched in 2005. Thus, the creation of the visual identity Marca Brasil originated from Plano Aquarela, a PNT project, prepared by members of the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, which started in mid-2004 and launched in 2005. Based on the results of a mixed methodology marketing research (qualitative and quantitative), the team of the construction of the new brand and its management lists the following attributes of the Marca Brasil: joy, sinuosity, luminosity, shine, exuberance, meeting of cultures, a mixture of races, modern, and competent.

Continuing the creative process to highlight the new brand in color scheme, a contest for the creation (and inspiration) of the country’s visual identity was established. It had as an artistic base, for iconographic reference, an illustration of the suspended garden created by the Brazilian architect Burle Marx, in 1938. A worthy tribute to the greatest Brazilian landscape architect whose artistic legacy on the Brazilian fauna and flora originated works with contemporary narrative in defense of the tropical ecosystems and is confirmed until the present day, in the age of sustainability and environmental care.

Artistic Base of Marca Brasil (Burle Marx, 1938)

After being approved by a diverse jury, the winning icon by Kiko Farkas is chosen as a now figurative brand (changed in 2009 and relaunched in 2023), with sinuous, dynamic, and colorful, curves – the analogy of the main colors of the country’s flag prevailing – each color represents the main characteristics of Brazil, green represents the forests; yellow, the sun, brightness, and luminosity; the blue, the waters, and the sky; orange and red are folk and popular festivals; and white, cultural and religious festivals. Brand management is now used by Embratur and APEX in communication actions for advertising, gifts and packaging, and international missions. Since then, the multicolor Marca Brasil with a unique Brazilian character has reigned around the world, honoring institutional communication actions, participation in promotional events, media projections, and interest in academic research and scientific publications.

Marca Brasil from 2005 (original)

In 2009, the visual identity is minimally changed, in which the fonts of the name BRASIL are refined, and the colors of the symbol are toned for a shading effect, evidencing a curvilinear dancing dynamic. The slogan Sensational! remains, for the time being, applied to the logo.

Marca Brasil from 2009 (improved) and relaunched in 2023

With a creative concept based on the recognized curves of Burle Marx, the multifaceted logo acts as a marketing base in the communication and promotion of tourism and foreign trade to also foster competitive social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental positioning, as other nations in the world have done for decades. Or for centuries, with strategic governmental (or monarchy) intentions and/or qualified diplomatic elegance with the use of actions directed at different interested publics and of interest to the nation, whether soft power or not.

The concept of brand image to be projected on a country is convergent with the dimension of knowledge about the brand and the perception of primary and secondary associations to its country brand, regarding the perceptions of the nation’s name itself, about the recognition or remembering the main characteristics, moreover, the cognitive, affective, and conative attitudes towards the country, its products, and its citizens. Within this reputational scope, it is in the brand management that the level of the psycho-behavioral phenomenon of “cognitive dissonance” between the understanding of the intended identity (communicated by brand strategists) and awareness of the perceived image of the brand in people’s minds is monitored; it is expected to be balanced conditionally to solidify the reputation – by Brazilians and foreigners alike.

The image of a place acts as a set of temporary associations, perhaps superficial, subject to alterations in human perception, which can be accompanied by the reputation of the place (in constant construction), which takes time to be changed, as it is about a sum of the most powerful and repeated images, with a lasting historical perspective. Finally, an image of the country perceived as a consistent visual representation and reputational robustness of the homeland is sought.

However, since 2019, under the former government, the brand has been changed and a graphic design appears, reinforcing peculiar contexts of the years of bolsonarism. Therefore, Embratur has used the logo below, in which the name of the country is written with the letter “z”, in the English language, as well as the slogan “Visit and Love Us” (Visit and love us), whose text with an imperative tone with linguistic and grammatical ambiguity described in capital letters. Such a visual attempt adopted a stylized flag, with a prevalence of shades of military green – without portraying Brazilianness in its iconic creative potential, without favoring the cultural nationality, without the prestige of the Portuguese language in the name BRAZIL/ therefore, considerably lacking in communicating the majesty of Brazil’s multi-diversity.

Country Brand in 2019

For obvious reasons, the return in 2023 of the 2005 Marca Brasil is celebrated by Brazilians, institutionally, professionally, and personally, at face-to-face events in some Brazilian cities, in the news in the national and international press, producing commemorative publications in digital media. A new slogan and potential taglines are welcome to strengthen the brand as a strategic resource in the country’s competitive advantages. The reputation of a strong and exotic country brand is built and maintained over time at various points of contact with the country’s presence – alongside other symbols, such as the national flag, and with the citizens themselves, Brazilian men and women, as ambassadors of Marca Brasil in their different personal and professional actions, within the country and around the world.

In this moment of renovations in Brazil, a new Federal Government brand is launched in January 2023. Colorful, exuberant, and diverse like Brazil, the slogan “Brasil União e Reconstruction” reigns, whose shades were inspired by the Brazilian flag, along with red and black representing the diversity of the country.

Brand of the Federal Government (2023)

As an organizational priority of the bicentennial nation, the dialectical discernment between the dichotomous issues of the diversified and multifaceted micro and macro scenarios of the five regions of the country and the devoted search for improvements and investments in the country, for a Brazil continuously in order and progress. Urban and rural areas are still in urgent need of development, improvement, and well-being.

Long live Marca Brasil always with an S, with the historical heritage, cultural diversity, and environmental wealth of many Brasils in one, based on active colorful images in search of a solid reputation both nationally and internationally.

Fabiana Mariutti (2023) "The Brazil brand with an S is back". Brazilian Research and Studies Blog. ISSN 2701-4924. ISSN 2701-4924nameVol. 4 Num. 1. available at: https://bras-center.com/brazil-brand-with-an-s-is-back/, accessed on: February 28, 2024.