Jamaica pending

It’s less than a week to go until I fly to Jamaica. It’ll be a long trek from Istanbul, with a hefty 7 hour layover in New York sandwiched in between two flights. I’m going there to give a talk at Jamaica’s very first symposium on nation branding, held in the capital city Kingston.

For the last few days I’ve been working on the talk, which introduces the concept of nation branding, goes over some case studies from around the world, and finally examines the Jamaican nation brand in more depth. Before doing my research for this event, I knew very little about Jamaica. So it’ll be interesting to hear all the various perspectives on the country from a range of Jamaican professionals. I’m envisaging some great discussions at this event and I can’t wait to dive in.

As always when a brand new journey is on the horizon, I don’t really know what to expect about the country. I have my preconceptions and associations in mind, just as everyone else does. But I’m hoping to discover more than just the stereotypical Jamaica of sun, sea, sand and reggae. And I think the symposium will be a good starting point for that.

I’m also hoping to land a couple of commissions from this trip, perhaps one for the BBC about Jamaican entrepreneurship. There’ll also be one about nation branding, although I haven’t figured out yet who to write it for. The capital city Kingston would be a good subject for a feature on city branding.

I’ve also got some kind of data-based piece in mind, perhaps a ‘This is Jamaica’ overview of the country’s vital signs using data sourced from the World Bank. The country has its own stats bureau, STATINJA, but when I checked it out yesterday things looked pretty confusing. Although perhaps that’s just me as a data newbie.

More to come on Jamaica shortly.