(photo credit: Courtesy)
KKL-JNF delegates from around the globe dove straight into the marketing strategies and branding tactics at the kick-off dinner for the third World Marketing Conference in Ashkelon, Sunday night. With 120 representatives from 21 countries, this is the largest turnout that the conference has seen since its inauguration seven years ago.
"We came from different countries and we speak different languages," said Avi Dickstein, Executive Director of KKL-JNF's Resources and Development Division. "But we share the same vision, the same passion and the same love for Israel.
"We came to Ashkelon to show solidarity and express our appreciation for the people who live here in the south and during the last 8 years, suffer from terror attacks day after day. It is our duty to care for them.
"In three years, when we get together in Israel, we shall celebrate the 110th anniversary of KKL-JNF. I don't know many other NGOs who are still relevant after that many years."
Certainly the survival of the organization is based on how well it has managed and continues to manage its marketing strategies.
Dr. Sydney Engelberg, KKL-JNF's marketing consultant, told participants that they should strive to be like Wonderbread, the first company to successfully market sliced bread to a consumer audience. "We are here at the conference not just to talk about our projects, but to learn how to market to a wider audience and ensure that people respond to our product in the way that we want," he said.
And according to Jacobo Adato, president of KKL Mexico, "KKL-JNF is the coca-cola of the Jewish institutions - we are the best brand. Despite the current financial situation worldwide, he adds, KKL in Mexico has continued to succeed in 'selling its product', or recruiting donations, within the Jewish community.
"When you're not fun as a brand, then you're in deep trouble," said Ido Aharoni, head of brand management for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, who gave delegates a more general lesson on how to make Israel attractive to people living abroad.
"Israelis think of themselves as very friendly, Western, modern and creative," he said, "but the world sees only the image of the boy versus the tank that is shown in the news."
"The solution is to create - as KKL-JNF is doing day in and day out - alternative channels of communication through which the real Israel can be communicated, such as science and medicine, lifestyle and leisure, environment, culture and sport. Now, we have a much more reliable depiction of life in Israel."
The message here is to show the world the productivity and positive output coming from this small country.