Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nation-Branding: Don't Do It

In a recent article for the Economic Times, Simon Anholt critiques what he sees as indiscriminate use of the phrase "nation branding." Stationery logos are all well and good, he says, but you can't win hearts and minds with a swoosh. The key to improving a national reputation is to be reputable:
The message is clear: if a country is serious about enhancing its international image, it should concentrate on what it does and what it makes, rather than obsess about what it says or how it looks. There are no short cuts. Only a consistent, coordinated and unbroken stream of useful, noticeable , world-class and above all relevant ideas, products and policies can, gradually, enhance the reputation of the country that produces them.

In short, a nation's actions and exports should promote the reputation it wants to have. The rest is just window dressing.

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