Can government brand as does the private sector? Probably not. It’s not impossible, but to do so would require specific virtues that are not common in most governments. In the private sector, there is ownership. Not so with government. Most government employees are temporary, in place by political appointments, or those entrenched in a career. Many are in government for all the wrong reasons.
Virtues that might come into play are discipline, love of country, or a sense of nationalism so dear as to subject oneself to servitude. Unlike religion, however, where the driving force is faith, reality with government is the quest for subsistence and employment, rather than a sense of duty or an objective that is a virtue in itself.
The private sector has a sustaining platform called ownership, wherein the people involved are closely guided by a dictatorial leadership. The owner sees to it that all is in order. And what of public corporations such as those listed on the stock exchange? The driving force is generous wages, benefits and a sustaining measurement to check performance. Failure results in termination, unlike in government where meritocracy is avoided in lieu of tenure.
Does this mean our government can never perform for the people as long as there is legal representation called elections? Performance is a direct reference to branding. Consistent delivery of the brand promise generates the integrity that makes it the brand. So the question arises: is there integrity? At this point, we have to say “No.”
Branding may be a laudable objective for government, but it doesn’t seem feasible. The ideal situation would have a measurement mechanism and means of redress, but needed platforms do not exist (reference, the judiciary). So until the platforms are in place, there is no branding for government.
Can we brand the country with the efforts and money spent to generate awareness for tourists and local interests to jump-start tourism? We can try, but we will probably fail unless we can deliver on the promises made by the tourism department. “It’s more fun in the Philippines” is our slogan. Can we deliver on this promise if our tourists are inconvenienced by our poor infrastructure, poor security and a media bull horn shouting daily of government corruption and all sorts of peccadilloes?
Just as with developing societies all over the world, we remain in a feudalistic stage in which dynasties act as little dictators. The stage has a dash of capitalism that sucks up the overseas incomes that support our internal consumerism.
In any case, we must eventually brand. And unless we start, we will never generate the development needed to become a developed society at par with the modern world.