Image building for trade,
tourism, talent and investment

Bratislava, Slovak Republic
June 4th, 2024

Historic building
of the National Council
of Slovak Republic

International Masterclass
  • nations as brands
  • cities as brands
  • regions as brands
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Competitive Identity, Simon Anholt, Robert Govers
Simon Anholt


Simon Anholt & Robert Govers

Nation and City Branding Masterclass

is taking place for the first time in Central and Eastern Europe in 2024. Its aim is to bring state of the art knowledge and experience on the topic of reputation management to cities, regions, and countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The long-term ambition is to assist in building nation and city brand strategies across the region.

International Masterclass COMPETITIVE IDENTITY, Image building for trade, tourism, talent and investment is organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Slovak Republic

Ministerstvo Cestovného ruchu a športu Slovenskej Republiky



  • 08:55

    Welcoming word by moderator of the Event

  • 09:00

    Opening word, Zuzana Mikulášová,
    executive director of Brand Slovensko

  • 09:05

    Opening speech, Dušan Keketi,
    minister of tourism and sports of Slovak Republic

  • 09:15

    Welcoming speech, Nigel Baker OBE MVO,
    British Ambassador to Slovakia

  • 09:25

    Introducing Simon Anholt, Zuzana Mikulášová,
    executive director of Brand Slovensko

  • 09:30

    Simon Anholt
    Competitive Identity

    The new brand management for nations, cities and regions. How national and civic identity can be a useful foundation on which to build international engagement and a better image.

  • 10:15

    Q&A (Simon Anholt)

10:30  Coffee break

  • 10:55

    Robert Govers, Brand management and marketing

    There is much confusion as to how the concepts of branding and marketing are applied to places. Govers will provide a detailed introduction to the various concepts involved and their practical implications including the case of Estonia.

  • 11:40

    Q&A(Robert Govers)

12:00  Lunch


Case studies (Simon Anholt and Robert Govers):

For over twenty years, Anholt and Govers have advised, supported, and trained the governments of more than 70 nations, cities, and regions. Many of these case studies have resulted in useful learnings which will be shared in this session.

  • 13:00

    Short introduction (Martin Lidaj, CEO, Business Alliance of Slovakia)

  • 13:05

    What do Austria, Mexico and others do?
    Case vignettes

  • 13:40

    What does the Netherlands do?
    In-depth case

  • 14:00

    How do Slovakia and its neighbours do?
    Image analysis

14:30  Coffee break

Panel discussion with Simon Anholt and Robert Govers and selected authorities

  • 15:00

    Short introduction speech

    Milan Jursa, Brand Slovensko

    Rastislav Podhorec, Eximbanka

Panel discussion A:

  • 15:05

    General discussion on the topic how Slovakia works with the topic of strategic reputation management of the country.

    Dušan Keketi, Minister, Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Slovak Republic

    Rastislav Chovanec, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic

    Kamil Šaško, State Secretary, Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic

    Rastislav Podhorec, Chairman of the Board of the Bank and General Director of Eximbanka

    Simon Anholt

    Robert Govers

  • 15:40

    Short introduction speech

    Zuzana Mikulášová, Brand Slovensko

    Michaela Podoláková, Association of tourism organizations

Panel discussion B:

  • 15:45

    Slovak Republic, tourism, and the brand of the country.

    Dušan Keketi, Minister, Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Slovak Republic

    Marek Harbuľák, State Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Slovak Republic

    Michaela Podoláková, Association of Tourism Organizations

    Martin Novotný, general manager, Slovak Hotel and Restaurant Association

    Martin Lidaj, Managing Director, DMO Záhorie and Kopanice

    Simon Anholt

    Robert Govers

  • 16:20

    Peter Štarchoň, Dean, Faculty of Management, Comenius University, Bratislava

  • 16:25

    Closing address by Simon Anholt and Robert Govers - Anholt and Govers will present their main takeaways of the day.

  • 16:30

    Closing word, Zuzana Mikulášová, executive director of Brand Slovensko

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Simon Anholt

Simon Anholt

is acknowledged as the leading international authority on the images of countries, cities and regions and has pioneered a wide range of evidence-based techniques for the measurement and management of these critical soft power assets. He first coined the term “nation brand” in the 1990s, although his approach to curating and enhancing place image is primarily based on policy and strategy rather than on communications: on deeds rather than messages. Simon has written six books about countries, their images and their role in the world. His latest book, The Good Country Equation: How We Can Repair the World in One Generation, was published in October 2020 and was described by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, as “a masterpiece”.

His talk Which country does the most good for the world? is the all-time most viewed TED Talk on Governance, with over 12 million views on and YouTube. It was also ranked as the 4th “most inspiring” talk ever by TED viewers.

In addition to his best-known research project, the Good Country Index, Anholt also produces three major global surveys tracking public perceptions of countries and cities, the Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index, City Brands Index and U.S. City Brands Index, in partnership with the research group Ipsos Mori. He is Founding Editor Emeritus of the academic journal, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy and is an honorary Professor of Political Science at the University of East Anglia.

Robert Govers

Robert Govers

is a Senior Partner at Anholt & Co. where he has worked on numerous assignments with the Governments of the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and Qatar. He has also advised many other administrations worldwide including the national and regional governments of Luxembourg, three provinces in the Netherlands, and the City of Ghent.
Dr Govers is founding chairman of the International Place Branding Association and has been an adjunct or visiting scholar in Beijing, Hyderabad, Leuven, Rotterdam, London, Milan, and Dubai. He also teaches place branding on the UNESCO World Heritage at Work Master’s programme in Turin, Italy. He has written numerous papers and (co-)authored/edited five books on the topic of place branding. His award-winning book Imaginative Communities was published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. He is co-editor of the journal of Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, and is a frequent contributor to other publications including Apolitical, the World Economic Forum Agenda and The Economist Intelligence Unit Perspectives. Dr Govers co-authored the Good Country Index together with Simon Anholt in 2014.

Robert Govers has held positions in South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium and Dubai and has a PhD and Master’s degree from Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management. He has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences such as the Club of Venice, Kyiv International Economic Forum, World Cities Culture Forum, European Cities Marketing, European Travel Commission, Tel Aviv Cities Summit, and the International Association of Convention Centres.