Governments have created brands for themselves since ancient empires stamped the king’s head on their coinage. Arguably, these coins carried the world’s first brands. In the 3,000 years since then, however, it is a private enterprise that has perfected the concept - particularly the super-brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, born in the US and unleashed on the globe.
Governments have long realized the importance of branding externally for attracting tourism and investment. Only recently they have seen the need to brand internally to shape the perceptions of their citizens and employees. Increasingly, they realize they need to use branding to make their messages heard in a world saturated with commercial advertising.
As a result, in almost every country government brands have proliferated as senior officials have sought attention for their policies and programs. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no exception - Strategic Gears’ survey found nearly 60 entity/agency brands at a national level, and more still for government programs with the total reaching more than 100 brands.
This report explores the cumulative impact of this proliferation of citizen-facing brands in KSA. It is a deep dive that explores its effectiveness in communicating government services and national unity. It also looks at global trends in government branding and explores whether the experience of countries such as Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland, and the UK can inform a more effective branding approach in Saudi Arabia.
The KSA already has experience in world-class government branding with the Vision 2030 program. One of the goals of this program is that the government should engage effectively with citizens. There are substantial benefits for Vision 2030, the government, and KSA residents if world-class branding is extended across the government.