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Anholt: Nation Branding Potentially Dangerous

Interviewee: Simon Anholt, Editor, Nation Branding and Public Diplomacy
Interviewer: Lee Hudson Teslik
November 8, 2007

Simon Anholt coined the term “nation branding” and is widely considered the world’s leading expert on the topic. He edits a journal on nation branding, advises countries on how to strengthen their national brands, and runs an index quantifying the strength of national brands around the world. He explains in this podcast that countries hiring public relations firms to improve their image isn’t necessarily is good thing. “It’s potentially a very dangerous thing,” he says. He notes that public officials without a sophisticated understanding of private sector practice are “rather easy victims” for marketing firms. Firms can sell these countries slogans or logos for exorbitant sums, he says, and with very little regard to whether the strategy winds up being successful for the country. Anholt adds, however, that effective nation branding can also prove valuable for poorer countries. “By correctly understanding these issues, and managing them well, they do have an opportunity to compete in the global marketplace as niche players, which perhaps a few generations ago they were unable to do.”

The full text of this interview is available here.

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