Published on 13.10.2016
The effect of a country’s national image on the brands based there and the economy as a whole is now widely acknowledged. In a global marketplace, it is one of the most important assets of any state, encouraging inward investment, adding value to exports and attracting tourists and skilled migrants. The results of this year’s Brand Finance Nation Brands report show the benefits that a strong nation brand can confer, but also the economic damage that can be wrought by global events and poor nation brand management.
One of the most interesting trends to emerge in the last 12 months 2016 has been an apparent isolationist turn, seen notably in the US, UK and Turkey amongst others. This is thought to be motivated (at least in part) by a reaction against cosmopolitan internationalism by those who feel that globalization has left them behind. This illustrates the fact that as well as the power of individual nation brands changing from year to year, the very concept of the nation is subject to change. The idea of the nation state is a historically recent one. Its power has waxed and waned, with regional groupings or local identities also shaping the way people, companies and governments interact with one another. This year’s events suggest that, following a slow decline in many parts of the world, the popularity of the nation state may be resurgent.
The developments of 2016 present opportunities, in that a more robust national identity may aid differentiation but given that openness is key to attracting investment, it will create challenges too. In this turbulent time, it is more important than ever that governments, trade bodies and businesses take steps to ensure that their nation brand is strategically appropriate, well-managed.