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.