Israel seeks to change its image

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2008

A top British re-branding guru, Fiona Gilmore, is currently on a fact-finding visit to Israel. Ms Gilmore's company, Acanchi, has been hired by the Israeli government to lead the campaign to recreate the country's international image.

The contract with Acanchi was announced last month. It is part of the campaign that Foreign MinisterTzipi Livni has been leading for the last three years to create a new international image of Israel, as far away as possible from its current Spartan, grim and war-torn one.

The aim is to have Israel's name more associated with technological innovation and cultural activity and less on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As part of this effort, Acanchi 's chairman and founder, Ms Gilmore, has been touring Israel this last week, meeting a wide range of politicians, officials, businesspeople, academics and social activists.

On Wednesday, after meetings at the Prime Minister's Office and Foreign Ministry, she travelled to the Negev to meet researchers and environmentalists at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva. Ms Gilmore headed the branding consultancy Springpoint before founding Acanchi in 2003. The company specialises in creating new images for countries and cities and has worked with, among others, Northern Ireland and Lebanon. The head of the brand management unit at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Ido Aharoni, confirmed the details.

Last updated: 5:10pm, September 24 2008