Online businesses based in Ireland can gain a home game advantage by reminding their local customers that they are a local business, and Irish businesses selling internationally can also benefit from the country’s generally positive image. In a world of bland multinational corporations, having an identity can help you stand out. But that doesn’t mean you should position yourself as a plastic Paddy waving a shillelagh and clicking your heels!
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Forget everything you thought you knew about St. Patrick’s Day in the USA and take a good look around you. Not even Irish-Americans want over the top leprechaun images. People want something authentic, something modern. So how you can showcase your company’s place in today’s diverse Ireland?
First, ask yourself what makes your brand Irish. A connection to this island is an obvious answer. And that is a perfect starting point. Tourists cheerfully tolerate our miserable weather just to see those rolling fields full of sheep and low stone walls. From Dublin’s Georgian doorways to the dramatic coastlines from Cork around up to Connemara, Ireland has a distinct landscape. Make that part of your brand image. Show your audience where you are. It reminds Irish customers that they are supporting their own economy when they support you. And it conjures up some visual magic for those dreaming of visiting – or cherishing memories of time spent here.
Second, get a perspective on history. We have plenty of it here. Different eras and aspects of history appeal to different audiences. The key is always to know your audience. It’s also important to link the modern to the historic, to avoid portraying Ireland as a museum. The slice of diaspora who love the idea of Ireland as it was a generation ago is narrow.
Diaspora living in diverse, inclusive societies can relate to modern Ireland. We have marriage equality. Not all of us are fair-skinned redheads. And when was the last time you were dancing at the crossroads? When diaspora are given only a narrow slice of Irishness and they don’t see themselves in it, it doesn’t foster the kind of connection and engagement that leads to sales. Don’t be afraid to portray your company as it is today. Ireland is seen as a friendly nation that welcomes others, and that is a critical part of the positive impression people around the world have of Irish culture.
If your company is Irish, that can work in your favour for both domestic and international sales if you are thoughtful in how you leverage it in your brand identity.
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By Irene Hislop
By Maria Prendeville
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