Nation Branding Lab


Tag: Nation Branding

Brand North Korea

If we define branding as the  process of creating a unique name and image of a product in the minds of people, North Korea may have the best nation branding strategies (IN THEIR OWN WAY).

However, having a powerful brand does not imply that the brand is good. North Korea’s brand is powerful because almost everyone associates the country with extremely negative attributes such as poverty, nuclear weapons, lack of human rights, military government, and an insane leader.

To make it short, North Korea has a powerful and bad brand. Being widely known as a nation does not mean it has a good brand just like the way really really bad manufactured products are.

China’s Campaign Lacks Truthfulness

Back in January, I wrote about the nation branding campaign of China in Time Square of NYC. In the article I talked about the possible conflict between China’s current branding strategy and the government’s integrity.

China’s recent diplomacy contradicts its endeavor to re-brand itself with soft-power. It proves that their branding campaign lacks transparency and truthfulness. While China tries to appear to be open, inviting, and friendly on the global stage, its government continues to keep its odd criteria of censorship on the Internet and speech, human rights on its people, and foreign policy on its neighbors.  With these negative attributes, the new image China wants to promote is never attainable.

Below is the link to an article from Human Rights Watch. Australian Prime Minister Gillard expresses her concern over the serious human rights problems in China as she visits the country.

Japan’s Foreign Policy and Nation Branding

Amid the tsunami crisis, Japan just made an unexpected diplomatic move that is currently bewildering its closest neighbor, South Korea. On March 19th, Japanese Ministry of Education announced its plan to stress its sovereignty over Dokdo, the geographically disputed island in the East Sea, in school history textbooks, stating that the island is a Japanese territory and that it is being temporarily and illegally administered by South Korea.  Today(3/30/2011) the Ministry officially decided to use the aforementioned textbooks in Japanese schools.

Despite the historically antagonistic relationship between Korea and Japan, the two countries have been building strong ties economically, culturally and politically. Especially with South Korea’s immediate assistance after the earthquake and tsunami disaster, the relationship seemed to thaw faster than ever until Japan announced this plan.

It is true that the tsunami and Dokdo are two separate issues that should not affect each other.  However, this unwise decision may jeopardize trust and the positive perceptions Japan just began to gain from South Koreans. Foreign policy is a powerful nation branding tool, but its a double edged sword.  This case shows that nation branding strategies must be executed through communication and cooperation within various sections of a government.

Dokdo (Dokdo means “solitary island.”) has been the territory of Korea since AD 500s, as documented in both Korean and Japanese ancient archives.

“It’s Possible” Campaign: South Africa

Today, I’d like to take a look at South Africa’s “It’s Possible” tourism campaign that won Africa’s Leading Marketing Campaign 2009. This campaign was meant to promote the nation’s image before the World Cup 2010 that South Africa successfully hosted. I have three videos from the campaign below and there are a few things that I found to be impressive.

The Narration : The voices strike the audience with breathtaking experiences in South Africa. Another effective strategy that caught my eye is the emphasis of ‘possibility’. The campaign highlights the indefinite possibilities provided by South Africa’s compelling natural beauty, culture, and history.

As Travelers, Not As Tourists : “It’s Possible” campaign is also unique in that it treats the audience(or the potential visitors) as travelers, not as tourists. The videos highlight South Africa’s landscape and wild life of natural environment and adventure sports that are perfect for unforgettable memories and self-reflection.

In this video, we can see a mix of exotic African charm with a modern flare.

This video emphasizes South African people’s hospitality.

The “It’s Possible” campaign makes travel a communication with the destination that shape the traveler’s identity. This campaign successfully positions South Africa as an exotic escape where travelers can enjoy diverse activities and become empowered from their experiences.

Nation Branding & Investment Expo 2012


Nation Branding & Investment Expo 2012 will be held from 3/6/2011 to 3/8/2011 in Netherland. I learned about this Expo only a few days ago. It sounds like a great chance not only to promote the investment potential of a country but also to improve the international trade relations, especially within the European market.  

NBI Expo, organized by NBI International, is to offer “support and cooperation in the development of export opportunities and inward investment promotion for nations worldwide through consultation and facilitation. ” 

Great opportunity for East Asian countries that are seeking to start to build stronger trade partnerships with European countries.

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