After many years of valuable experience around the world, this cosmopolitan Greek marketing guru vows to change the perception we all have about Greece.
Economides has said in the past that his only contact with Greece was listening to his grandma talking in Greek while having family dinners every week. Being raised in South Africa, he started his career there, as a member of the marketing team of one of the most famous producers of razor blades.
His job? Teaching the locals how to shave.
A few years later, while in Hong Kong, an American ran into him and asked a simple question: “Do you speak Greek?” — Economides didn’t speak Greek, but he instantly replied: “Yes, of course.”
And this is how he went to Greece as the Head of Mc Cann Erickson, one of the largest advertisers in the world. He stayed in Greece for 6 years, before going to Mexico, New York, and elsewhere.
He worked for Apple, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Heineken, Audi, Volkswagen, the International Olympic Committee, and many other major players in the global and regional arena of advertising and marketing. But deep inside he knew, that his dream was to go back to Greece.
This is why Economides is now going around Greece, trying to mobilize people. Because he wants things to change.
He is asking for a new re-branding of the country as well as a ‘rebranding of Greeks’. He always believed that whenever we say, “this cannot be done,” it can be done.
That’s why Greece needs to ‘re-sell’ its brand, create a new identity based on its own uniqueness, regardless of what many may believe. The externalization of Greece’s advantages is the only way forward if the country wants to leave misery behind.
Greece needs to do what Israel did, a country much smaller than ours. Create a “start up nation,” Economides says.
Greeks are not 10 million people — they are 20. A second Greece is out there, in the diaspora, that needs to get mobilized and help the motherland with the assistance of the Greek authorities.
Greece had many opportunities to expand its brand after the Olympic Games of Athens, but it didn’t.
At a period when Dubai, for example, was creating a Media Center, Greece was converting its Broadcast Center to a mall.
But despite the mistakes of the past, the country and its people have the talent and will to create a new Greek narrative. To create, as the NY Times said recently, “Europe’s new, cool center.”