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Nation Brands Forum 2017 - The Rise of Brand China: Lessons from East and West

09 October 2017, 18:00–21:00 UK Time

The effect of a country’s national image on brands and the economy as a whole is now widely acknowledged. In a global marketplace, nation brand is one of the most important assets of any country, encouraging inward investment, adding value to exports, attracting tourists and skilled immigrants.

The beginning of the 21st century has witnessed the rise of China as an economic and political power. The country has become the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter, and the largest economy by purchasing power. China’s economic growth has in turn bolstered its political standing. With the leaders of the United States and Europe pursuing increasingly inward-looking agendas, China is seizing the moment to take on a global leadership role it has aspired to for a long time. In a virtuous circle, the transformed national image of China is reinforcing Chinese brands and the country’s attractiveness to investors and tourists.

Compared to Asia, the West is in stagnation. However, Italy and some European nation brands, that many considered unable of making a full recovery after the troubles of the Eurozone Crisis, have implemented necessary reforms and are now growing at double-digit rates. It is one thing to build growth, another to sustain it, and something yet different to recover after a blow. East and West have a lot to learn from their respective experiences.

One of the most successful nation brands in Europe, Italy has built its reputation on the distinctive style of its luxury brands, such as Ferrari and Gucci, as well as on the delicious cuisine and relaxed character of its people. In this way, the Italian nation brand appeals to a multitude of audiences and supports a variety of industries. If China wants to maintain its impressive growth, it may have to absorb some of that European charisma, which alongside efficiency accentuates also individualism. Now, the Belt and Road Initiative can be key to East-West exchange just as the ancient Silk Route, made famous by the Italian, Marco Polo, had been in the past.

As well as presenting an opportunity to explore the findings of this year’s research in more detail, including the rise of ’brand China’ and the resilience of ‘brand Italy’, the Nation Brands Forum 2017 will offer practical insights on how to manage nation brand value.

Join us as we discuss this fascinating topic at a critical time.



18:00- 18:30 Drinks Reception

The Lounge, Brand Exchange

18:30 - 18:40 Presentation of Findings

Alex Haigh, Director, Brand Finance

18:40 - 18:55 Nation Brands and FDI

Courtney Fingar, Editor-In-Chief, fDi Magazine

18:55 - 19:10 Italy: The Nation Brand

Stefano Nigro, FDI Department Director, Italian Trade Agency

19:10 - 19:25  The Rise of China Inc

Sir Tom Troubridge, Chairman, China Business Group, PwC

19:25 - 20:00 Panel Discussion and Q & A

Moderated by Konrad Jagodzinski,

Senior Communications Manager, Brand Finance

20:00 - 21:00 Networking Drinks

The Lounge, Brand Exchange

09 October 2017, 18:00–21:00 UK Time
to be notified of future events


Alex Haigh
Managing Director
Brand Finance, Asia Pacific

Alex is an all-rounder on all areas of valuation and quantitative market research but is a technical specialist in the assessment on the return on investment of different brand architecture and brand positioning options. Much of this experience has focused on identifying the brand structures, media investment, media mix and distribution channel management needed to minimise risk and maximise opportunity from any brand changes.

His other area of expertise is the use of market research and brand valuation for licensing strategy and transfer pricing having helped to set up brand licensing teams and structures with many clients.

He is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax adviser and has completed the Advance Diploma in International Tax, with a specialisation in Transfer Pricing. He holds a dual degree in Economics and Environmental Policy from the London School of Economics and has completed training in Data Analysis and Marketing Strategy. He has worked internationally across all continents and in most sectors and now manages Brand Finance's teams and client work across Asia and Australasia.

Courtney Fingar
Leading Expert on Foreign Direct Investment
& Business Editor

Courtney Fingar is a leading expert on foreign direct investment (FDI) and a business editor with more than 20 years of media experience.

She has covered business stories in all major regions of the world and has been on assignment to more than 80 countries, interviewing heads of state and government ministers as well as business leaders. She has appeared on television and radio in dozens of countries as a commentator and has twice been called to give evidence to the UK Parliament about inward investment.

An in-demand moderator, master of ceremonies and keynote speaker, Ms Fingar has participated in hundreds of business events globally and advises event organisers on content and strategy.

In early 2023, she set up Fingar Direct Investment, a boutique consultancy advising governments on investment promotion, location marketing and content creation and private-sector clients on strategic communications and media relations. She also serves as senior advisor for the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies, and is a member of the advisory board of the Global Chamber. She previously served as the editor-in-chief of Investment Monitor, a digital publication focused on cross-border investment, and before that spent 15 years with the Financial Times where she ran the group’s specialist FDI publication.

Ms Fingar has a BA in journalism from the University of Alabama in the United States and an MSc in International and European Politics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.


Sir Tom Troubridge
Chairman of China Business Group

Sir Tom is Chairman of the China Business Group (CBG) for the PwC UK firm. He is also a Vice Chairman (and Chairman of the audit committee) of the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), a 60-year old trade body partly funded by the UK government, which helps UK companies set up business in China. CBG is the Group responsible for looking after PwC’s Chinese clients based in the UK and relationships with other stakeholders such as the Chinese Embassy in London, the Department of International Trade and trade associations connected with China. He visits China two to three times a year for either PwC or CBBC, most recently attending President Xi’s Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in mid May 2017.

Stefano Nigro
FDI Department Director
Italian Trade Agency (ITA)

Stefano is the newly appointed Director of the Foreign Direct Investment Department at the Italian Trade Agency (ITA). ITA acts on behalf of the Italian Government to promote FDI to Italy and to support foreign investors. He has 10 years of experience in investment promotion. Before joining ITA, he was the Head of the Investment Promotion Department in the Lombardy Region, the main business area in Italy, accounting for 20% of the Italian GDP and hosting more than 60% of foreign companies in the country. He was previously involved in strategic and operational consultancy. He holds an M.Sc. in Economics from Warwick University.

Konrad Jagodzinski
Place Branding Director
Brand Finance

Konrad leads Brand Finance’s place branding and soft power practice. He liaises with clients, directs consulting projects, and is responsible for the creation and promotion of the annual Global Soft Power Index, Nation Brands, and City Index studies.

Konrad has extensive experience in advising clients in the fields of place branding and public diplomacy. Before joining Brand Finance, he worked at the Polish Embassy in London where he developed and delivered successful marketing communications campaigns as well as media relations programmes of official engagements by the president, prime minister, government ministers, and the ambassador.

In his role at Brand Finance, Konrad has advised a variety of place branding organisations, including the GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland Campaign, Austrade, and Cape Town Tourism.

Before moving on to grow the place branding practice, Konrad was the Communications Director of Brand Finance and Managing Director of Brand Finance’s PR agency – Brand Dialogue for 5 years. He has a proven track record in executing integrated communications strategies, having been responsible for publishing nearly 100 industry and country reports on the world’s most valuable brands on an annual basis.

Konrad has qualified with the Professional PR Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). He studied European Studies MA at King’s College London and the Humboldt University in Berlin, and International Relations with Political Science BA at the University of Birmingham.



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Brand Exchange 3 Birchin Lane EC3V 9BW

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