Category Archives: marketing

Nation Branding

While researching the history and purpose of branding to assist the Office of eDiplomacy develop its branding and online style guidelines, I came across the concept of Nation Branding, coined by Simon Anholt in the mid 1990s. Each year, Gfk America
publishs a survey of how countries rank with nation brand recognition. Just as corporations, universities, NGOs and individuals establish a brand that expresses cohesive imagry and specific value, countries also seek brand recognition to build and manage their reputation. This is sometimes called “place branding” when tourism is the product being marketed.

In a post-modern society, emphasis on the symbolic value associated with products, has influenced nations to inventory their distinctive characteristics and use those points of recognition to elevate the country in global popular consciousness.

Canada promotes an energetic nation branding strategy and regularly places at or near the top on the nation branding survey.  A 2010 Financial Post article recommends Canada take advantage of G-8 and G-20 international gatherings to promote the nation’s brand.

Relatively young countries like New Zealand and Canada with robust democracies, effective immigration policy and minimal legacy stains offer proving grounds for the concept of 21st c. nation branding.  Brand recognition for a nation requires more thought than slapping the image of a maple leaf or a silver fern frond on websites or documents, states guerrilladiplomacy.com, a thoughtful blog.

Promote National Agriculture Effectively

Mais oui, bien sur!  Of course France would have a gorgeous website for the  sector responsible for food and fishing.   Alimentation France is colorful, enticing, a banquet of pixels.

Can’t say the same for the US Department of Agriculture website, which is trying hard to cover everything upfront, and the effort shows.  At the gateway, there’s no feeling of nourishment, growth or life and it’s not clear whether the site has a vision from the list of news stories and random topics on the side.  Why is the People’s Garden buried at the bottom of the page? That’s the one topic with celebrity and it’s hidden below the fold!people's garden logo

But wait!  USDA has launched new media sites and uses social media.  I just couldn’t see the link in the vast washes of mono-colored typeface on the main page. And Twitter for the People’s Garden!  But how would we know unless we dug down, down, down…. Advice — lead with the lively.

In September 2009 Argentina created a cabinet level ministry responsible for fishing, agriculture and food trade by expanding and elevating the previous secretariat.

The new Ministry’s site appears to be up and running.  Check out the prices of agricultural futures in lower left corner.

Agriculture trade is a hefty leverage element in the diplomatic portfolios of many nations.