Nation Branding in Europe
eBook - ePub

Nation Branding in Europe

João Freire, João Freire

  1. 110 páginas
  2. English
  3. ePUB (apto para móviles)
  4. Disponible en iOS y Android
eBook - ePub

Nation Branding in Europe

João Freire, João Freire

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This book provides an explanation of nation branding theory and practice within the European context, exploring how countries build and manage their reputations globally.

Each chapter focuses on a specific European country, selected from a cross-section of large, medium-sized and small countries to provide a breadth of cases from across the continent. The chapters are written from a wide range of academic and practitioner perspectives.

Nation Branding in Europe is valuable supplementary reading for advanced undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students interested in nation branding and will appeal to students from marketing, communications, and international relations disciplines. Outside of academia, the book will be of interest to those working in the areas of public diplomacy and strategic communications, as well as public relations and branding practitioners involved in designing nation branding campaigns.

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João Freire
DOI: 10.4324/9781003084051-1
The various editions of Nation Branding: Concepts, Issues, Practice by Keith Dinnie highlight nation branding cases from various continents. This supplemental book, Nation Branding in Europe, is based on specific cases of nation branding strategies in Europe. Academics and practitioners from various European countries were invited to participate and write a chapter on the branding of a specific European country. The chapters are based on the knowledge and opinions of these various experts.
Given that Europe is composed of over 40 countries, we were unable to include one case for each country. We decided the best approach would be to include cases from a few countries that would represent what is currently being done in Europe.
Twelve European countries were selected for this edition. Our criteria for selecting the countries were size and diversity. To meet the size requirement the six largest countries in Europe – France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom – were selected. To meet the diversity requirement, three medium-sized and three small-sized countries from different European regions were selected. The medium-sized countries include the Netherlands (representative of Northern Europe), Poland (representative of Eastern Europe) and Sweden (representative of Scandinavia). The three small-size countries include Ireland due to its success as a country for foreign direct investment (FDI); Portugal due to its success as a tourism destination and Estonia due to its economic boom and for being known as one of the three Baltic tigers.
The goal of this book is to understand how various European countries are developing their nation brand strategy. Do countries have a nation-branding strategy? Who manages the nation brand? Is there a governance model to help the brand management process? What are the challenges related to the management and implementation of a nation brand strategy?
By and large, it is apparent that all governments are committed to promoting their country in international markets. Nonetheless each country approaches nation branding distinctly. These cases also highlight the complexity of a place brand strategy. Only a few countries have been able to manage their brand strategically and consistently over the long term.
From these cases, we can conclude that just a few countries have developed a cohesive successful branding strategy. These countries understand what they are doing and have clearly put into practice a long-term nation brand strategy. These nation brand strategies are research-based, include a well-defined governance model and take a multisectoral approach. Those nation brand strategies typically involve the central government, but not necessarily a particular political party. Various stakeholders of society are involved. In doing so, the nation brand strategy is not linked to a political party and is easily accepted by various governments. This is key for maintaining a long-term brand strategy. One can evaluate how successful those strategies have been through the continued growth of the economies of these countries.
However, there are some countries that regard nation branding as a political tool. When this happens the nation brand strategy suffers from limitations of scope, duration, involvement and effectiveness. The strategy is developed by the particular political party in power and is based solely on its vision for the country. In these cases, a model of governance may exist but the strategy is grounded in the political vision and opinions of the current government in power. The strategy is not research-based. This also means that the strategy will change depending on the political party in power and that some politicians might be willing to change course if they think they will win votes. When this happens, the independence of the brand managers is also reduced.
A less effective approach to nation branding is where countries develop a number of advertising campaigns that they consider to be a nation-branding strategy. With this approach, the stakeholder engagement is generally low, the governance model is unclear and the market is poorly understood.
Some countries take a sector-by-sector approach to the country’s branding strategy. When this occurs it often means that the more powerful and better organized industries take over the brand. This is most evident in the tourism industry, which operates in a highly competitive marketplace. The problem with this approach is that many sectors get left out of the nation brand strategy. We can even say that in these countries no nation brand strategy exists; what actually exists is a destination brand strategy.
We can conclude from these cases that one of the biggest challenges in running a country as a brand is the strategic management of different places within a country, whether they are cities or regions. Cities and regions have elected governments that often have their own branding strategies. In some cases, there is very little communication between the cities, regions and the central government. Lack of communication between these places can result in an inconsistent message, which puts the implementation of a more effective overarching strategy for the country at risk. This is most commonly seen in the cases of larger countries that typically have strong cities and regions.
There are three important concepts that emerge from the case studies: brand architecture, governance models and research-based strategy. An effective brand architecture system enables places within the country to communicate with a central government. Therefore, a well-defined brand architecture makes it possible to manage the country’s brand more efficiently. Developing a model of governance that involves a wide range of stakeholders is key since doing this gives the brand a better chance of resisting changes in government and increases its efficiency over the long term. Finally, a nation brand strategy should be developed on the basis of research. A research-based strategy facilitates two things: acceptance of the strategy and the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders.
Each contributor in this book was selected on the basis of their knowledge of the country and their expertise in the field of place branding. The contributors have distinct backgrounds and their current positions are varied as well. Some are academics who research place branding, some are consultants and some work for organizations that manage a place brand. Each chapter is written by a different expert therefore, in addition to bringing their professional expertise on the subject, each contributor lends their own personality and style to the chapter. One interesting note is that despite the contributor’s varied backgrounds and current positions, they all approach nation branding in a broadly similar way.
After reading this book, our hope is that readers will understand the concept of nation branding better and appreciate the strategies that different European countries have implemented.

2 Germany

Anna Schwan
DOI: 10.4324/9781003084051-2

Communicating Germany: how the quest for an innovative image is shaping Germany’s current place branding activities

Public diplomacy and nation branding have become an important instrument of power in the media societies of today. Bundling the multitude of stakeholders of a country, finding clear messages to portray that place and placing these messages with the media in order to reach the right target groups has become a key attribute of a nation’s foreign relations efforts.
Ever since the American political scientist Joseph Nye coined the term ‘soft power’ in the journal Foreign Policy in 1990, it has become an important concept in the theory of international relations (Nye, 2005). Referring to the image cultivation of countries, Nye stated that the creation and maintenance of a positive image increases its attractiveness to investors, professionals and the general public. He distinguished the term from ‘hard power,’ that is, military and economic power. However, today it is undisputed that soft power also forms the basis for security policy and economic strength. The importance of Nye’s concept cannot be underestimated in meeting the challenges of the 21st century. A country’s reputation is closely linked with soft power. But it does not come of itself. It is a matter of political will and communication strategy.
Today, political parties are organized as political brands, ministries actively put their messages on the agenda of the domestic media – and the state tries to present itself positively abroad, using PR and marketing methods in various place branding and public diplomacy campaigns.
Anyone who applies the theories of PR research, political communication and brand management to modern governmental communication abroad will recognize clear overlaps: political communication can be understood as integrated communication. Its goals are image enhancement, credibility enhancement and, above all, confidence-building. PR and marketing thus become fundamental components of political work. As a result, brand management has also successfully penetrated the political arena. Identity-oriented theories of brand management play a special role here (Bennett, 1998; Bergler, 2008): Brands are created through the dynamic interplay of image and identity. Identity, however, concerns both the creation of an own identity and its communication to the target groups.

Strategic Communication Abroad

With increasing research on political communications in recent years, a variety of definitions of different theories from marketing, PR, place branding, public diplomacy and soft power has emerged. In order to combine the findings and apply them to the entirety of political communication abroad, it may be useful to establish a new key phrase. This counts especially for Germany with its federal state system and its federal external communication. This is why the concept of ‘Strategic Communication Abroad’ was created (Schwan, 2010). It defines a long-term, strategically oriented communication in specific target countries that integrates various actors and acts in a persuasive manner to build confidence in the nation communicating. At both actor and recipient level, Strategic Communication Abroad involves state and non-state actors. Probably the most important factor for rewarding communication is the joined-up creation and careful coordination of the image portrayed, both domestically and abroad. Today’s interconnected digital media demands coherent communications towards audiences inside the country and abroad. The aim of all Strategic Communication Abroad is to improve the image of the nation internationally, but the overriding concern is to expand the state’s scope of power in international relations – in other words, to provide soft power. Translating the goals of Strategic Communication Abroad into everyday practice is a complex project. The duration, form of address and intended effect determine in equal measure how, through which channels, when, why and over what period of time communication is carried out. Addressing large audiences is possible above all through asymmetrical, that is, one-sided, communication of the mass media and large advertising campaigns: this is how attention is generated in the short term. Based on this, symmetrical, that is, dialogue-oriented communication can build up lasting trust and long-term relationships. The interaction between these levels secures visibility and efficiency in communications.
Within this framework, several campaigns promoting Germany as a country of innovation are presented here. As a federal country, Germany has special challenges when it comes to place branding: all campaigns depend on involving the federal states. A large proportion of place branding campaigns are initiated by the federal states themselves with no coordination with the Federal Government. The Federal Ministries and the Federal Government may contribute guidelines and umbrella campaigns, but depend on the states to contribute. An exemption is the foreign cultural and educational policy, which has been considered the ‘third pillar’ of foreign policy in Germany since the late 1960s and is executed by the Foreign Ministry and the Goethe-Institut. In all other place branding communications, whether tourism- or business-oriented, the states have their own communication strategies.

Foreign cultural policy and the Goethe-Institut

Foreign cultural policy was named an axiom of foreign policy in the 1960s by the then Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt. It played an important role in the reconciliation with Eastern Europe. Foreign cultural policy has retained its status to this day and cultural outreach plays a special role within Germany’s strategic communication abroad (see: Olaf Zimmermann/Theo Geißler: Die dritte Säule: Auswärtige Kultur- und Bildungspolitik, 2018). The Goethe-Institut is the organization that draws up strategies and implements a wide range of concepts, acting in a manner similar to the British Council or the Institut Français. With its projects, the Goethe-Institut aims to convey a diversified, modern image of Germany. Its many different projects present a country open to the world, rooted in the values of the European Enlightenment, and engaged in dialogue with other cultures. The projects are implemented on eye level with the target groups, thus the focus here lies on dialogue-based communication within the network, primarily aimed at artistic talents and elites as well as opinion leaders in the cultural area. Dialogue-based communication implies symmetrical communication and long-term outcomes. The aim is to establish relationships and new communities while projecting a positive image of Germany. The projects include journalist tours to Germany, scholarships for artists, artist-in-residence programmes and support for artist trips and world tours. Large international advertising campaigns are rare; the Goethe-Institut targets smaller cultural groups rather than large audiences.
The concept of culture on wh...


  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Series
  4. Title
  5. Copyright
  6. Contents
  7. Contributors
  8. Foreword by the Series Editor
  9. 1 Introduction
  10. 2 Germany
  11. 3 France
  12. 4 United Kingdom
  13. 5 Italy
  14. 6 Spain
  15. 7 Russia
  16. 8 Sweden
  17. 9 Poland
  18. 10 The Netherlands
  19. 11 Ireland
  20. 12 Portugal
  21. 13 Estonia nation brand
  22. Index