You might have guessed it, but Czechia is the ‘new’ name for the Czech Republic. The Government decided that the name ‘Czech Republic’ was too long and didn’t sound enough like a country, and so have created a new ‘brand name’ which they feel is more immediate and punchier.
Now in theory they have a point – the Czech Republic is quite a long name for a country and so a shorter name could be preferable. The thing is, it hasn’t really been warmed to by the Czech people and nobody wants to refer to the country as Czechia. The BBC visited the country and asked the public their thoughts on the name, and they were pretty clear.
“People are used to the name Czech Republic by now and I would say we should stick with it.”
“I would like a shorter name but Czechia doesn’t sound nice. It sounds too small, or like some dialect.”
It seems that, at the moment, the public opinion is clear. They’re not really buying into Czechia, and this is where the problem lies. In a recent article in Design Week, brand thought leader Michael Wolff was quite critical of some logo designs which he felt don’t really reflect or represent their brand in any considered way. In this article he outlined a great definition of what brand is:
‘a brand is a result – the result of people’s judgments and impressions of an organisation’s behaviour’.
Applying this definition to the Czechia issue, we might say that the brand is the result of people’s judgments and impressions of the country’s behaviour.
In trying to force a new name on the country, from the top down, the judgement many people seem to have made is one of resistance or denial. The judgement is that the name isn’t Czechia, it’s the Czech Republic.
Now, how does the leadership of the country deal with this? Well impressions aren’t set in stone and can change, and so possibly through time people may come to embrace (or at least begrudgingly accept) the new name. However, we might suggest that if the naming process had been more inclusive then potentially the judgement of the people may not have been quite as much of a rejection as it has been.
In the lifespan of a nation brand the time since the name change (around 6 months) is such a small amount of time, and so there is plenty of time for people to grow to accept the new name. Maybe with a bit more inclusion of those who actually shape the brand, the people, this process of accepting the name might become a little smoother.
Wolff, M. (2016) Michael Wolff: ‘Why all the poor logos?’ (Accessed: 26 October 2016).
Tait, R. (2016) ‘Nobody calls it Czechia’: Czech Republic’s new name fails to catch on. (Accessed: 26 October 2016).