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AN imaginative new Brand Ireland could help us out of our economic woes, says an agency boss.

And the media should look beyond bankers, economists, academics and politicians to find ways of getting us out of the mess, he adds.

Garrett Kinsella's KDNine agency studied Brand Ireland and got some useful insights. It says Ireland needs to promote itself as a creative hub

Inspired by musician Philip King's idea that Ireland should "imagine" its way out of the crisis, we should work to develop a proper brand image. How a country is seen by its own citizens and by people abroad is crucial to its success or failure.

Most countries stand for something. France is known for style and fashion. Germany is seen as efficient, an engineering powerhouse.

Brazil's image is one of carnivals, football and crime. Colombia conjures up images of danger, drugs and coffee. These images are cliches but they affect how a country and its people are defined.

KDNine's interviews with Irish emigrants provided the usual responses. Ireland is green and friendly, the craic's mighty and it's blessed with beautiful scenery and a rich history. But we're also known for our drunkenness, paedophile priests, the Northern Troubles and financial unrest. Fact is, there's little we can do to change these perceptions.

Ireland doesn't have mineral resources or a climate for growing world-class coffee. Plans for Brand Ireland must be ideas-based, with links to our culture. We must come up with a unique selling proposition (USP).

The USP should be credible, honest and attractive.

Forget about propaganda, Kinsella added, what is needed is an image rooted in truth.