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4 Questions to Ask When Developing A Nation Brand

Steve Thomson
Parul Soni
16 November 2020

In order to develop a nation brand that runs efficiently and effectively addresses all four key segments, there are four questions that brand guardians should be asking while growing the brand.

1. How well are we currently doing and how can we track our performance?

The first step to nation branding is assessing how the brand is currently performing. Identifying factors which drive behaviour allows an understanding of how brands create economic impact. Insight to uncover the drivers of demand, perceptions of various stakeholders and decision-makers is an important first step in building a nation brand for the nation and corporates within it.

2. How do we engage, direct, and manage all relevant stakeholders?

The second key question to ask is how will the brand activate engagement from relevant organisations, departments, and stakeholders. A cohesive nation brand that is able to impact the 4 key segments of the economy explored earlier, requires co-ordination and endorsement across departments.

3. Where should we invest budgets?

Once a governance structure is in place, the next question is the strategic evaluation of campaign activities, focus and spend to ensure resources are allocated to those activities which have the most impact value and support long term positioning.

4. How can we increase the value of our nation brand?

Finally, an ongoing assessment of how the brand is performing against KPIs, targets, and its return on investment is essential to enable nation brands to grow economies. In a changing global political, economic, and social landscape, the evolution and adaptability of a nation brand are central to its long-term efficacy.

GREAT: A Nation Branding Success Story

The GREAT Campaign unifies efforts across governmental divisions to deliver a  campaign that can be adapted, modified, and tailored for each segment and sub-segment. The universality of the GREAT Campaign has also meant that it has been able to readjust focus in light of changing national priorities and an evolving political discourse. The GREAT Campaign has invested significantly in a campaign to promote international trade, particularly following the UK’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union. 1

GREAT Campaign: Nation Brand
GREAT Campaign: Creating A Nation Brand

An approach to nation branding where assessments are holistic but also specific will ensure that the nation’s brand works to serve not only the nation as a whole but also plays to its strengths across each key sector of the economy. In a similar way, corporates can also benefit from location branding, leveraging the reputation nurtured through nation branding.



About the Authors

Steve Thomson
Insight Director
Brand Finance

Steve Thomson leads the survey component of the Global Soft Power Index programme. He has a wealth of experience gained across a 30+ year career focussing on understanding consumer values, attitudes and behaviour around the world. Steve leads the market research practice at Brand Finance including management of our proprietary research programme in over 30 markets. He has widespread expertise in consumer values and trends, brand positioning and strategy, public opinion, nation branding, and advertising effectiveness. He has direct research experience in 60 markets across a diverse range of cultures, from single-market deep-dives through to the management of large global insight programmes. He is an acknowledged expert on the impact of social forces (online social media and offline word-of-mouth) on brand choices, and how these drive commercial outcomes for brand owners. As such he is a regular speaker at industry conferences.

Parul Soni
Associate Director
Brand Finance

Parul leads the team of analysts and consultants behind Brand Finance’s annual Global 500, Nation Brands, and Global Soft Power Index studies. She has a wealth of experience in Business and Brand Valuation working across sectors, specialising in Nation Branding, Food & Drinks, and Utilities. She is an experienced research and data analyst with survey experience across a range of evaluation and research issues.

Parul has worked with a variety of clients such as GREAT Campaign and PromPeru. She has a BSc in Economics and Economic History from the London School of Economics and is a chartered global management accountant, CIMA.