Culture is future » Territorial attractiveness and social cohesion


Francophone culture, « soft power » tool for competitiveness (La Baguette Culturelle)

Creative and cultural industries have managed to use soft power over the years to facilitate exports and boost our economy. Francophone culture should learn from them.

Striking paradox: all the means to win the 2012 Olympics organisation have been set up by France but Great Britain won the pot. As the French gambled on a quintessentially French application, the British benefited from international supports, Nelson Mandela, first in line. The French promotional video used Paris’ charm whereas the English one focused on the sport inside the city, with and dedicated to Londoners. It begins with a South-African kid living in a township dreaming of running in London in 2012. The end emphases the benefits gained by sport for young people.

English video


French video


Don’t be afraid to let Francophonie live. Through our culture and our language, we can assume and set up our soft power, a “creative recovery” power. According to the Council of Europe, “the creative industries cut and select and create chunks of meaning. These chunks of meaning inform, entertain, create desire, and influence choice and action.” We believe in this active scope retained by French language.

Thanks to its energy, its heritage and its global sphere of influence, Francophone culture should be used to foster competitiveness. To create a joint strategy – cultural industries and Francophonie – influence appears to be an efficient means based on people, creativity and innovations.

To gather all the French, Francophone and Francophile forces, a calibrated “soft power” answer should be considered:

1. Fostering collaborations and partnerships between creative industries and companies.

The Comité Colbert is a good example to follow: by gathering all the luxury industry, one of its goal is to spread the French savoir-faire all around the world. For instance, the organisation produced a semantics piece translating French values into Chinese ideograms in order to help the French firms setting up in China.

2. Incorporating local strategies

Local cultural competitiveness is growing over the years. In the Euro-region Öresund, « the Splab environments » gather innovative organisations in order to work together and share their creative experiences. Francophone cities should adopt this creative scope to foster their development – 28 of them house 1 million inhabitants.

3. Shaping a joint “soft power strategy”

Gathering all the creative industry stakeholders around an organisation to join exportations forces. How to do it ? Giving them a brand following the example of the French video-game industry brand “le- game”. Another example? The Beirut Francophone Book Fair which gathers Francophone writes and authors since 1992.

These first options constitute the innovation dynamics that should be injected into French and European economies. If other solutions could be conceived, these ones create non-outsourced jobs and foster national growth.


By Camille Delache (founder of the blog ‘La Baguette Culturelle’) and Damien Soupart

Image by © Bojan Kontrec 

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