Google offers insights into yearly search trends. You can look at global trends, and more importantly and more tellingly you can search by countries.
I looked first into Croatia’s search trends and found that other than the World Cup the two most searched terms were Istanbul Convention and The Bride of Istanbul. A layer of sports, a layer of something that was supposed to be a simple continuation of human rights movement aimed at helping women to live a life free from violence turned into heavy ideological battle and layer of Turkish soap operas. Don’t really know what to make of all of that.
Anyhow, turning to the search trends in 2018 in USA revealed that the most popular search terms were voting, how to vote, where to vote and hurricanes, as well as the World Cup. I assume that search trends for the USA are the most comprehensive, as I have not gone country by country to verify this claim and offer the most varied results. One of the categories is named “Where is…”. The number one, the most searched place in the USA is Villanova University, whose Men’s Basketball team won the NCAA National Championship in 2018.
However, the number two, the second most searched place among the Google users, which is pretty much all the internet users in USA, is Croatia. That’s right! Where is Croatia?
Now, what to make of this. We can assume that almost nobody in the USA knows where Croatia is. I would say that this is probably correct to an extent, but not entirely. Americans are generally not famous as the greatest connoisseurs of geography, but then again Croatia is a small country in South East Europe and they generally do not have loads of reasons to look up where it is on the map. Until this year. This year Croatia was a runner up in the World Cup, the second-best football team in world, in the greatest sporting event on the planet.
That prompted millions, tens of millions of Americans to search for Croatia and to learn a thing or two about Croatia. That is simply amazing. Single-handedly, Croatian football players have placed their country at the top of the world’s interest, in a very positive manner, and now we have a statistical proof of that.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article entitled “What is our famous?“, in which I’ve asked myself and the readers just that, what are we famous for? And besides the natural beauty, which is unarguably a very limited and perishable resource, and not unique by any stretch of the imagination, there was little evidence that others consider us famous for almost anything else. Until football, that is. We are now officially famous as a footballing nation.
I do not pertain to know exactly how to translate this into marketable content which will drive both investments and tourism into Croatia, but it must be one of leading stories, something akin to New Zealand’s All Blacks, which is also famous among other things for its natural beauty, that should be central to the branding of the country.
The message about Croatia’s Vatreni (national football team), and their success, alongside the visual of the checkered dress carries intrinsically within it all the promotion emotions of actualization, success, happiness, elation and has a true human connection. And the future is going to be about emotions, and this story has all the right elements to it. With some of the traditional tourist markets coming back to the scene, after a few years of turmoil, we can’t be relying anymore on the prevention emotions of safety and security and rather non-descript emotion of natural beauty.
People are looking for more, looking for ways to better themselves, to achieve the most out of their human potential, and what better way than to invite them to come to the most sporting country in the world, to the country that has written some of the most amazing sporting stories of the XXI century?
Fixing Croatia’s overburdensome bureaucracy, easing one of the most heavily taxed systems in the world and increasing trust in the judiciary should happen alongside as well, but let’s focus now on the promotion of what is easy to promote – the greatest sporting nation in the world.