Digital Strategy

Scotland: Grow Global – Marketing to the World in the Era of Coronavirus

An interview with Brand Director Cat Leaver to discuss Scotland's changing international marketing strategy post Covid-19.

A central theme for Digital Scotland is ‘Grow Global’ – How can we support Scottish businesses to expand internationally?

Scotland is Now

In this short interview Cat Leaver, Brand Scotland Director, summarizes the national strategy to promote Scotland to the world. Headlined by their #ScotlandisNow campaign this communicates the identity of the nation and what it stands for.

Central to this strategy is the use of technology, harnessing it as a distribution channel to reach a global audience. To promote the tech sector itself key themes such as innovation, leveraging Scotland’s long history as a highly inventive nation.


In the feature video Chris Torres of The Tourism Marketing Agency interviews Cat to explore the strategy in more detail. From 4:20 they begin to explore how the strategy will adapt in the era of Covid-19.

The principle change Cat highlights is that they’ve had to turn more inwards, developing a focus on building the message of resilience for the Scottish people. Naturally they’ve paused all activities to engage an international audience given the travel restrictions and the teams have been re-deployed to help with emergency comms.

The big surprise for Cat was that she expected a big change in the Scotland is Now messaging, that it would seem inappropriate given the pandemic, however actually all of their partners thought that actually it was very important to continue theme, with a particular emphasis on how local Scottish communities are coming together to help one another.

From 11:10 Chris shares the very popular Scotland is Open video, and asks if that message has changed and how the future strategy may adapt. Cat replies that like every nation Scotland faces an unprecedented challenge with great risk to the economy, and so it only further strengthens the case and creates a compelling need to continue this messaging to the world so that Scotland will thrive in the hyper-competitive market that will emerge as all countries seek to re-establish their economies.

At 18:35 Chris asks Cat what advice she would give to Scottish tourism businesses going forward, how they should each adapt to the coronavirus situation that has devastated the hospitality sector. In response Cat suggests key activities should include collaboration, working with other industry partners and the public sector bodies that represent the industry, a great example being to leverage the ‘open source’ Scotland is Now campaign resource toolkit.

Naturally given the travel restrictions it is pragmatic to turn more of an eye to domestic tourism, but ultimately most importantly Scotland should retain its confidence, the nation is world renowned for its welcoming visitor experience and natural assets, and this offer will continue to resonate with a global tourism market.


Editor of On a mission to build a world leading Scottish digital nation.

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