Country gets new trademark/slogan for promotion

Government officials have announced a new trademark for the country that is supposed to promote tourism, increase exports and attract foreign investment.

After five years in the works, the government agencies and their professional experts picked a word that is spelled differently in Spanish and English.

The trademark announced Tuesday is Esencial Costa Rica spelled correctly in Spanish. However, the Promotora del Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica, known as PROCOMER, has registered, presumably for a Web site in English. The Spanish language Web site now contains an attractive video of the country.

The public agencies involved are the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. Private organizations include the Cámera Nacional de Turismo and the non-profit Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas de Desarrollo, known as CINDE.

An announcement said that the trademark had been in the works since 2008.  That was when the international firm of Burson Masteller interviewed some 2,000 person in 79 countries about their perceptions of Costa Rica. FutureBrand, a brand strategy and design consultancy of the McCann-Erickson World Group, was in charge of developing the trademark.

Testing was done in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Madrid, Santiago, London, Paris, Berlin and Rome, said the announcement.

No figures were given on the cost of the project.

Despite the effort, the chosen logo or slogan comes very close to the copyrighted name of a Costa Rican professional services firm, Essentials that has the Web site

The tourism agency has been promoting Costa Rica for years with the slogan No Artificial Ingredients.

The agencies say that the Esencial Costa Rica trademark or slogan will be used in commercial promotional activities in the United States, China and India and during a business meeting of executives in November. The tourism institute will phase in the trademark next year.

There also are plans to license the trademark to private firms, perhaps for use on export carton, and to tourism operators.

The adjective essential in English meansimportant, necessary, fundamental or completely realized, according to the Collins Concise English Dictionary online. But the word also refers to a vital amino acid and something derived from the extract of a plant.

The word also refers to a disease that has no obvious external cause, said the dictionary.

The announcement said that Costa Rica seeks to position itself as a destination of natural beauty, a concentration of high tech and innovative industries and high quality exports.

The trademark also is supposed to promote the talent and entrepreneurism of the country’ s people.

This type of trademark is not unusual. The U.S. State of Washington has its apples, several French regions market wine with distinctive geographical names, and Costa Rica is in a trade tussle with Italy over the use of regional names on exported cheese, like parmesan.

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