The Jamaica brand
Jamaica has a contradictory image. On the one hand, many romanticize laid back people who hang out on the beach all day and dance limbo. On the other hand, Jamaica has one of the world’s highest kill rates and the world’s fastest sprinters. These contradictions have helped to create a somewhat intangible, mythical, mysterious image of Jamaica. And it gives the island an image that in many people has an absolutely magical appeal. This is a lot thanks to Bob Marley, Rastafarianism, reggae and rum. This has been addressed by several large, international players – including Puma, Nike, Adidas, Dolce Gabbana, Dior – all of whom have their own, very lucrative collections that are both rasta and Jamaica inspired. Puma is the main sponsor of the Jamaican Athletics National Team, and when Puma launched its Jamaica collection in 2004, the company increased its revenue by 74 percent.
Jamaica’s name is one of the country’s most valuable, untapped resources.
And this is what Jamaicans are even grasping for now. Jamaica’s name is one of the country’s most valuable, untapped resources. There is a growing progressive movement that realizes that Jamaica’s brand is worth its weight in gold and that this should fall to Jamaicans themselves. In light of this, a growing number of artists, designers, artists, filmmakers and business people in Jamaica are investing as a brand – both in clothing design, applied arts, music and food culture. Jamaica has several well-known brands, but to a small extent has been good at protecting these brands. One exception, however, is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, which has become adequately branded, thanks to the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica, which has seen the value of securing this precious coffee in such a way that it continues to be one of the world’s most exclusive coffees.
According to Countryaah.com, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Organization (JIPO) works tirelessly with the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) to persuade Jamaicans to realize and cultivate the value of the Jamaican brand. It is believed that a significant portion of the country’s future income may come from just the industry related to the export of cultural products within food culture, beverages and other symbol-bearing products.
Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence in 2012, and has really begun to gain a strong, proud identity. Thanks to a large degree of emigration ever since the 1950s, Jamaica today has a diaspora the size of its own population – especially in the United States, Canada and England. Well-known and influential Jamaicans in the diaspora include Colin Powell, Lennox Lewis, Busta Rhymes, Naomi Campbell and Alicia Keys. These all help ensure Jamaica visibility on the international stage. In addition, there is a lightning-fast awakening from the island led by sprint comet Usain Bolt. As Jamaicans even say, “Wi likkle but wi tallawah” – we are young but we are strong.
Population: 2.97 million (2016)
Life expectancy: 73.6 years (2016)
Infant mortality: 13.1 per 1000 (2016)
Religion: Protestantism 64.8%, Catholicism 2.2%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1, 90%, rastafari 1.1%, other 21.3% (2011)
Official languages: English
GDP per capita (PPP): US $ 9,000 (2016)
Currency unit: Jamaican dollar
Main export items: Aluminum, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, sweet potatoes, beverages, chemicals, clothing and fuels.
Regional connections: Member of CELAC, PetroCaribe and OAS.