Communication and Engagement
Edited By Guy J. Golan, Sung-Un Yang and Dennis F. Kinsey
Nation Brands and Country Reputation
11. Public Diplomacy and Competitive Identity: Where’s the Link? SiMon anholt This chapter focuses on the connection between public diplomacy and the less well understood discipline of Competitive Identity (or, as it is usually and, for reasons which I will shortly explain, misleadingly called “nation brand- ing”). How should we distinguish between them? Are they two versions of the same idea—one seen from an international relations perspective and the other from a more commercial angle—or are they entirely different concepts? And if different, to what extent are they linked or compatible? I first wrote about an idea I called nation brand in 1998 (Anholt,1998), and claimed that the reputations of countries, cities and regions are just as critical to their progress and prosperity as the brand images of products are to the companies that own them. A powerful, positive national image makes it relatively cheap and easy to attract immigrants, tourists, investors, talent and positive media coverage, and to export products, services, ideas and culture. A weak or negative image usually means spending more to achieve less. In the busy and crowded global marketplace, most people don’t have time to learn about what other places or their populations are really like. We navigate through the complexity of our world armed with a few simple cli- chés, and they form the background of our opinions, even if we aren’t fully aware of this and don’t always admit it to ourselves: Paris is about style, Japan about technology,...
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