Brand Romania has a funding problem.

The famous General Patton is credited with the following quote: ‘if everyone thinks alike, someone is not thinking’.

Following the general’s logic in the context of Romania and specifically related to tourism or country branding, financing is one of the essential factors for success, as in any business. Underfunding, or misallocation of funds, is a sure recipe for failure for any business, which we see today with the naked eye concerning Romania. So, why did I choose Patton to begin this little financial analysis, and what does finance have to do with country branding? Simply put, all the successive governments and all the county councils and town halls of the last 30 years have allocated money to all possible activities, only to what is essential in terms of investment and tourism, not. Therefore, it verifies what Patton said about 75 years ago; they all thought the same, i.e., electoral. This can be easily checked on the website of any town hall by consulting the local council resolutions and allocating money to various associations, foundations, or institutions of all kinds. The amounts vary, from 5000 lei to sums with many zeros. The activities supported are also very diverse and bankrupt: cultural magazines with zero audience, sports associations with tiny activity or performance, environmental protection organizations that have no impact, environmental protection organizations that have no impact, environmental protection organizations that have no effects, etc.

Now I expect harsh criticism, but bear with me for a few more paragraphs. Follow the logic thread; it has two options: first, I fund an activity or organization, so I expect results; where are the results? Second, why does the state fund such private activities? Because it has proven that despite the size of its apparatus of civil servants and subordinate institutions, it is entirely impotent, with no notable achievements in solving the real problems of society. So it throws money left and right to justify that it is doing something. Both options of the logical thread lead us to the same conclusions: lack of accountability, lack of results, spending money without purpose, and lack of stake from the state. The only logical purpose we can deduce is the electoral one, to “buy” social categories, NGOs, and the media. The problem is that even these sums do not solve anything because society’s systemic problems are so profound that money is almost useless. Or, the projects of NGOs and those institutions are so weak that they make no difference. Or that money is given on “nepotism”. Or…

Or the state can say that in this way, it ensures a certain social protection, i.e., those who work in institutions or NGOs have a place in society. Read a job. True, they are on the poverty line (only some), but they still have something to put on the table at the end of the month. At a time when everyone is complaining about the lack of workforce, I think it would be beneficial for the state to establish a moratorium of at least five years on any such financial support. I guarantee we will soon have chain resignations from all these institutions and NGOs and demands for private employment.

In fact, all these so-called funding and sinecures do nothing more than nullify professional, social, and political competition, depriving the country of a significant budget, the stimulation and tumult of ideas and creativity, and ultimately, the proliferation of ‘just get on with it.’

Brand Romania is not an end in itself. It is an idea of better for all but can only be realized if there is a strategy. Strategy has an idea behind it and a list of priorities; otherwise, it is not a strategy. Then it has the list of implementation tactics – the plan – and the resources: material, financial, human, time, etc.

The second part of Patton’s quote is “… it means someone is not thinking”.