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Nation branding and country image: Opportunities and limitations of a media-centric approach

Nation branding and country image: Opportunities and limitations of a media-centric approach

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Nation branding and country image: Opportunities and limitations of a media-centric approach

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  1. Nation branding and country image: Opportunities and limitations of a media-centric approach Keith Dinnie Temple University, Tokyo, Japan

  2. Nations have always competed with each other • The shifting balance between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ power • Investment attraction • Export promotion • Tourism

  3. Many countries do not know what to do • The use of brand management techniques is relatively new • Many governments are not familiar with these techniques • Every country should develop its own original nation branding strategy

  4. A blind faith in the power of advertising • Much public money is spent on expensive advertising campaigns • However, very little evaluation is made of the effectiveness of these ad campaigns

  5. Public relations consultancies • Generate positive media coverage • Develop ongoing relationships with journalists and editors • But reality must underpin the spin

  6. A more balanced approach is required • A media-centric approach operates via: • Paid-for advertising in relevant media • News management through PR officers and/or consultants • However, the range of nation branding tools extends far beyond a media-centric approach

  7. Complementary nation branding tools and techniques • Activation of diaspora networks • Improved coordination between different stakeholder groups • Cultural diplomacy • Increasing the entrepreneurialism of Embassy networks

  8. Key concepts in nation branding • Identity versus image • The identity-image gap • The facets of nation-brand identity • Deconstructing nation-brand image • Positioning the nation-brand

  9. 3 key elements of branding theory • Brand identity • Brand image • Brand positioning

  10. Identity versus image • A simple but robust perspective: • Identity refers to what something truly is, its essence • Image refers to how something is perceived • There is frequently a gap between these two states

  11. The identity-image gap • This tends to be a negative factor • Many nations struggle with the frustration of not being perceived correctly by the rest of the world • Stereotypes and clichés can dominate perceptions of some nations

  12. Would you allow this man to brand your nation?

  13. Nation branding attempts to reduce the identity-image gap • By identifying prejudices and misperceptions • By enabling nations to dismantle and oppose the negative forces that could: • Hold back the nation’s economic development • Damage the nation’s standing in the world community

  14. Constructing the nation-brand narrative • Narrative identity theory • Imaginative & creative input in brand identity development • Poets, novelists, and other creative writers could play a significant role in enhancing their nation’s reputation

  15. The facets of nation-brand identity • Nation-brand identity is built upon a limited range of all the constituent parts of national identity • External audiences are unwilling to process huge amounts of information about a country’s history, culture, society

  16. Deconstructing nation-brand image • The mental representations (images) that people have of countries can derive from various influencing factors • Nations have varying degrees of control over these influencing factors

  17. Image-formation factors

  18. Assessing brand image via brand personification • ‘Brand personification’ is a qualitative research technique • The question: “If brand X were a person, what kind of person would it be?” • Product brands have been using this technique for years – there is no reason why it could not be applied to nation-brands

  19. Perceptions of Brand Spain amongst Japanese students aged 18-25 “If Spain was a person, what kind of person would it be?”

  20. “Spain is a cheerful girl, she always smiles for everyone, she makes everyone happy.”

  21. “Passionate dancer. It is because the image of Spain is passion.”

  22. “A girl, aged 25 years old. Beautiful and sexy. Likes dancing and singing. She has 5 boy friends who are waiting for the day they can date her.”

  23. “Man, 30 years old, wears red clothes. He is confident in himself.”

  24. “A man in his middle age drinking and singing every day, all day long.”

  25. Perceptions of Brand Portugal amongst Japanese students aged 18-25 “If Portugal was a person, what kind of person would it be?”

  26. “A young very ambitious woman.”

  27. “Spain’s younger sister, but a bit more calm.”

  28. “Mysterious”

  29. “Thoughtful person who likes to communicate with others.”

  30. “Male. Quiet and a big guy. In his 40s. Wise man. Has a wife. The wife is very beautiful. Has few friends but very close.”

  31. Key components: History Language Territory Political regime Architecture Sport Literature Art Religion Education system Icons Landscape Music Food & drink Folklore Nation-brand identity Branded exports Sporting achievements The diaspora Marketing communications Brand ambassadors Cultural artefacts Govt foreign policy Tourism experience Prominent personalities Communicators of nation-brand identity Audiences: Domestic consumers External consumers Domestic firms External firms Inward investors Governments Media Nation-brand image Conceptual model of nation-brand identity and image

  32. Positioning the nation-brand • The concept of positioning is a key issue in brand management and strategy • The work of advertising agencies and branding consultancies includes: • Establishing effective positioning platforms • Designing campaigns for successful implementation of the desired positioning

  33. Positioning defined • “Positioning is the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market” • Kotler & Keller, 2006

  34. National tourism campaigns often lack distinctive positioning • Such campaigns score low on distinctiveness • They make generic, undifferentiated claims for their sandy beaches, sunshine, etc • Risk of commoditization • Higher-end cultural tourism offers potential for better positioning

  35. Nation-brand positioning platforms

  36. The New France – Breaking Through the Perception Barrier • Mr Philippe Favre, French Ambassador for international investment, Chairman and CEO of Invest in France Agency

  37. Background • Now the world’s 5th largest economy, France is a modern and dynamic country located at the heart of the largest market in the world – Europe • It has reinvented itself over the past few years: • Significant privatizations & reforms across key sectors to become more internationally competitive • Business formalities have been simplified • First-class infrastructure & talented workforce

  38. The perception gap • France’s leading edge technology and innovation in healthcare is familiar to investors in China and Japan • However, this is overlooked by companies in the USA and the UK, who are preoccupied with outdated perceptions that go against the modern actuality of France

  39. Changing the world’s opinion • The French government recognized that correcting the discrepancy between the myth and the reality of France’s image was important for: • The success of its economy • Inward investment levels

  40. Invest in France Agency (IFA) • Government organization responsible for promoting international investment and helping foreign investors succeed in France • As part of its mission, IFA has helped erase misconceptions about France over the past 3 years with the rollout of an image campaign: • “The New France. Where the smart money goes.”

  41. Collaborative approach • With a total budget of 35 million Euros, the campaign was developed & run by IFA in collaboration with several French government bodies, including: • UBIFrance, Maison de la France, information service dept, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French Economic Mission, Sopexa, EDUFrance, Treasury Directorate, etc

  42. Campaign goals • Raise France’s economic profile among 5 leading target investment countries: • USA, UK, Germany, Japan, China • Improve foreign investor opinions of France • Create solid relationships with foreign investors for long-term dialogue

  43. Campaign strategy • Focus on boosting visibility & credibility • Tangible facts and testimonials from international corporations already doing business in France • Senior executives from 12 reputable global companies (e.g., FedEx, Toyota, Xerox, GE, Sony) described: • The ease of setting up; the access to qualified talent; the convenience of a central location

  44. Emphasizing France’s attractiveness • Flexible labor laws • Superior healthcare system • Diverse business clusters • Statistical benchmarks displaying competitiveness in categories such as: • Real-estate costs, employee salaries, tax rates

  45. High-impact advertisements • Over 185 ads endorsed “The New France” in top economic news publications: • Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Handelsblatt, Nikkei • Billboard ads also appeared at major airports in: • USA, UK, Japan, China, and Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris

  46. Supplementary marcoms tools • Sector videos • A comprehensive multilingual communications kit • A book available in 5 languages • A microsite,

  47. Face-to-face contacts • IFA executives met with economic leaders and potential investors at nearly 150 high-profile events during the campaign, including: • World Economic Forum in Davos • Business Week Leadership Forum • Fortune Innovation Forum

  48. Campaign results • 61% of respondents in USA and UK said it made them view France in a new light • 40,000 new jobs created in France in 2006 from foreign investment projects, a 33% increase over 2005