I have a list of ‘things of interest’ and some half written posts that I never got to finish. Perhaps if I were really part of the Facebook generation I would be better at sending scraps into cyberspace, but the old dame in me still craves considered text. And where does the time for some quiet consideration hide out these days?
Instead this collection of longed after thoughts, loosely woven:
Australia pays big bucks to advertise itself live on Oprah Winfrey – corporation trumps nation in the global bazaar. A great coup for Tourism Australia as, at measly price of AUD 4 million, Australia gets the PR boost of a decade. I know the idea of nation branding is not entirely new but this has really got me thinking about the extent to which it is now the exigencies of maintaining the global brand not the idea of ‘national essence’ that drives the political process. From that wonderful source of wisdom,The Age:
AUSTRALIA is viewed as the ”dumb blonde” of the world, attractive but shallow and unintelligent, according to a visiting British branding expert. …
”What you have is an image of a country that is considered to be very decorative, but not very useful” … ”Rather than waste time fiddling around with promotional campaigns, what Australia needs to do is to invest in the sectors which demonstrate its seriousness and its capability and education is one of them.”
Another such area was culture. Mr Anholt said Australia was unusual among developed nations in not having an organisation devoted to the promotion of culture, such as Germany’s Goethe Institute or France’s Alliance Francaise. Mr Anholt said the US did not have such an organisation, but arguably did not need one because of the global reach of its entertainment industry.
‘Attractive’ is important for the tourism industry – the dumb blonde obviously enterprises-up well. However, the essence of a good brand is not its surface sparkle, but a sense of depth, longevity, excellence, quality – all of which inspire consumer confidence and loyalty. But confidence in and loyalty to what exactly? Australia as a good business destination? The Australian Dollar? Invest more in education and culture to develop the depth of brand Australia and add buoyancy to the Dollar as it fights its valiant fight on the high seas of the global currency market.
And if at any moment one should feel like the odds are too high for one’s brand of choice, merely stop off at the local gold vending machine to exchange some flaky currency for an older more reliable brand – “something real”. Yet not real. A spectre of the gold standard tailored to meet the market demand for individual security in the swirling maelstrom of globalisation. Something solid, material, weighty, to hold on to – a psychic anchor – that, despite its tangible dimensions, is nonetheless just another piece of flotsam on the same seas.
I am reminded, in this instance, of the SI base units – those things to which we anchor all our most real and proper calculations of the material world – and in particular the beautifully poetic standard for the ampere:
“The ampere is that constant current which, if maintained in two straight parallel conductors of infinite length, of negligible circular cross-section, and placed 1 metre apart in vacuum, would produce between these conductors a force equal to 2 × 10?7 newton per metre of length.”
Our world is built teetering upon the impossible and the infinite.