Nation Branding, Dissertation – Literature Example

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Dissertation - Literature

Literature Review

The present literature review aims to provide a solid theoretical basis for the research paper dedicated to Shanghai nation branding. The discussion and analysis of corresponding literature sources will help to cover two major aspects related to the chosen topic. First, nation branding will be revealed on the basis of Dinnie’s (2008, 2003), Kotler and Gertner’s (2002), Moilanen and Rainisto’s (2009), and Anholt’s (2005) works that provide definitions and main features associated with this concept. Second, the involvement of such sources as Gilmore (2002), Ola Falemare (2010), Roll (2006), Szondi (2007), and Wang (2008) will allow revealing an image of a successful and positive Shanghai nation branding with the help of valuable recommendations and experiences provided by different countries.

Phenomenon of Nation Branding

Today, branding should be treated as an essential part of capitalistic marketing aimed to create an attractive image of products that help to retain consumers preserving their loyalty. Besides, branding has become a vital element of international trading and advertising that ensures business success (Dinnie, 2008). Correspondingly, nation (or place) branding refers to the branding peculiar for a particular nation interested in the advancement of its goods and services in the national and international markets (Anholt, 2005).

Within the framework of this subsection, general understanding of national branding needs to be provided. According to Anholt (2005), a founder of the nation branding concept, “branding is far more than a trick to sell more consumer goods at high prices; it is part of the very foundations of competitiveness in a free marketplace, and with slight variations is to be found in education, in politics, in industry, in the labour market and throughout the public sector” (p. ix). Overall, national branding should be understood as a powerful marketing tool for country’s commercial, cultural, and economic development (Anholt, 2005).

Kotler and Gertner’s (2002) article provided the idea that today, brands are associated with countries. Products’ origin stated on a brand often influences the country’s marketing success. The reason for this tendency can be found in the fact that brands shape a country’s image in consumers’ minds. Naturally, an attractive image influences a country’s ability to attract businesses, investment, tourists, and markets for its exports in a positive way. For this reason, national branding is crucial for the multifaceted development of a country and, in particular, its nation. In this context, national branding is an extremely important instrument of marketing management in promoting the country’s image, products, and attractiveness (Kotler & Gertner, 2002). Overall, the influence of a national brand is great because it

  • increases attractiveness of companies and investments;
  • promotes the objectives of the tourism industry;
  • promotes public diplomacy;
  • supports the interests of the exporting industry; and
  • strengthens citizens’ identity and increases self-esteem (Moilanen & Rainisto, 2009, p. 1).

Dinnie (2003) noted that the proper creation of nation branding is essential for every country’s sustainable future. A successful national brand based on a positive image of a country of origin is a result of appropriate consumers’ behavior, attitudes, and beliefs towards country’s products. For this reason, it is not surprising that a successful brand capable to attract tangible (for example, money) and intangible (such as experts) values is believed to be a “key national asset” (Dinnie, 2003, p. 3). Since national branding is a country’s national asset, it is a strategically significant component that provides a nation with a sustainable future characterized by economic, cultural, and social wellbeing.

In order to understand national branding better, it is necessary to reveal its details; hence, the presentation of the main features of national branding seems important. The first feature of national branding is its uniqueness. Naturally, in order to be a nation’s symbol, its national brand should differ from all other brands that exist in the world (Moilanen & Rainisto, 2009). The second feature of nation branding is creativity. Nation branding represents the country’s creativity because being a result of invention and origination, a national brand has a certain value for a country and its nation (Anholt, 2005). Finally, the reference to country’s identity, in particular, its culture and history, is the third feature of nation branding. An image depicted on a national brand needs to reflect the country’s historical and cultural peculiarities (Moilanen & Rainisto, 2009). The unity of these features leads to the creation of a unique, creative, identity-related national brand that may attract consumers, and change the international perception in a positive way.

Today, national branding is practiced by many countries of the world (including the UK, the US, Canada, China, South Africa, most Western European countries, etc.) as a part of their public diplomacy that influences their international relationships. Naturally, each country has its own national brand presented by the brand name of a product distributed nationally. All national brands are produced and distributed by, and carry the name of, the manufacturer (Dinnie, 2008). However, national branding is not only a presentation of a country’s image or symbol. It has become a representational metaphor for each country, as well. In this context, nation branding functions as public diplomacy in the flow of international cultural communication, and in the foreign policy. Overall, national branding is not only a commercial, but also a political and diplomatic instrument (Anholt, 2005).

The information provided in this subsection suggests that nation branding is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon aimed to create and promote a nation’s distinct self-image and international reputation that influence consumers’ loyalty and international perception positively. In the context of today’s globalization, a national brand serves as a powerful instrument in a country’s marketing strategy that helps to gain a competitive advantage, to attract and retain consumers, and to advertise a country on international markets. In addition, national branding is aligned with country’s political, economic, strategic, diplomatic, and cultural objectives on the international arena.

Creation of an Attractive, Successful, and Positive National Brand

This subsection is dedicated to the way in which a successful and positive national brand can be created. The presentation of the general model of national brand creation will be accompanied by recommendations related to the creation of the most attractive brand for an international audience. In addition, the brand creation experience of the USA and China (Shanghai) will be revealed, since it meets the research objective of this paper.

The overview of a general model of national brand creation serves a starting point for the presentation of the way to create a successful and positive national brand. Anholt’s (2005) book suggested the national branding developmental model that should be presented in brief. The model includes six aspects that influence the nation’s or country’s attractiveness for the rest of the world:

  1. The marketing plan; it helps to identify what needs (a target market or its niche) a country can meet, which clients (a preference group) it can satisfy, and what advantages it has in comparison with its competitors.
  2. The product; natural (for example, country’s geographical location, history, mentality) and acquired (for example, public goods, knowledge of foreign languages) endowments need to be involved, and risk mitigation strategies along with economic prowess policies need to be elaborated.
  3. The price; it should comprise two elements: the average return on investments and associated business risks
  4. The place; in other words, the distribution channel from a producer to a consumer needs to be carefully planned.
  5. Promotion, sales, and advertising; to be specific, advertising, trained sales force, and public relations associated with a product need to be implemented.
  6. Sales force and marketing implementation oversight; sales personnel’s collaboration with intermediaries (such as investors, tourists, businessmen) and implementation of credibility and efficiency should be ensured (Anholt, 2005).

If the model presented above is used in the creation of a national brand properly, it will be successful. However, there are some basic recommendations that need to be taken into account to make a national brand successful, positive, and attractive. First, a country needs to demonstrate its unsurpassed leadership on international markets as a result of immense marketing potential, high quality, uniqueness, and recognizability of its product (Ola Falemara, 2010). Second, the inclusion of the most positive features (for example, compliance with the highest standards) associated with a country to a product during its national brand creation is necessary (Anholt, 2005). Third, the imagery of a product’s national brand needs to be created with the help of specialists in marketing, advertising, consumer psychology, and other related fields (Kotler & Gertner, 2002).

The value of an attractive, successful, and positive national brand for both developed and developing countries cannot be underestimated because it leads to their prosperous national development. Successful and positive nation branding plays an essential role in country’s repositioning through gaining of a competitive advantage over other nations and opening its potential (Gilmore, 2002). With the help of a properly created national brand, a country can achieve success in its positive transition from different perspectives (Szondi, 2007). In the context of developed countries, an attractive, successful, and positive national brand determined their subsequent political, economic, social, and cultural advancement (Anholt, 2005).

The presentation of the US experience in the creation of its successful, positive, and attractive national brand should be presented. For three years (2009, 2010, 2011), the US national brand has been ranked at the first place (Anholt, 2005). What are the reasons of the US highest national brand index in comparison with the rest of the countries? The success, positive image, and attractiveness of the US national brand are the result of several major tendencies. First, the US products on international markets are valued for their best quality and innovation coupled with ethical standards and strong corporate responsibility. Second, the US brand is often associated with the best US companies (for example, Google, McDonald’s, Apple, Coca Cola, Disney, etc.) with a positive international reputation and proved success. Third, the USA is used to be practically committed to the global wellbeing through participation in the worldwide cultural, environmental, and other practices made in assistance with other countries (Hormats, 2012). Today, the US national brands reflect the country’s business success, competency, leadership, innovation, and quality that create in consumers’ minds a positive and attractive image.

Since all countries’ national brands are unique, China’s experience in nation branding differs from that of the USA. Shanghai, a large Chinese city, plays an essential role in the creation of China’s positive, attractive, and successful image in the international public’s eyes through its city production. Shanghai’s nation branding is associated with images of the most exotic, multinational, urban, and prestigious part of Asia (Roll, 2006). In addition, the city’s national brands produce the image of Shanghai as a place well invested by foreigners for its economic potential (Wang, 2008). Overall, for international consumers, Shanghai product’s national brands have become a symbol of Asian excellence, cosmopolitan spirit, and accessible exotic. However, for the reason that Shanghai national branding lacks many essential features (such as global leadership, compliance with the US quality standards) that would attract Western consumers, it needs to be modernized for the sake of China’s reputation and national development (Wang, 2008).

Overall, the proper creation of a national brand is a complex and challenging process. The US cities’ national branding seems more attractive and successful in comparison with that of Shanghai because the USA is a recognized leader and experienced specialist in worldwide distribution of high-quality and innovative products. Nevertheless, Shanghai has enough potential to advance in its national branding and positive image creation in the near future because it represents the most intelligent, culturally saturated, and financially promising part of Asia.

References

Anholt, S. (2005). Brand new justice: How branding places and products can help the developing world. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Dinnie, K. (2008). Nation branding: Concepts, issues, practice. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Dinnie, K. (2003). Place branding: Overview of an emerging literature. Retrieved from http://www.centrefornationbranding.com/papers/Dinnie_PB_litreview.pdf

Gilmore, F. (2002). A country – Can it be repositioned? Spain – the success story of country branding. The Journal of Brand Management, 9(4-5), 281-293.

Hormats, R. D. (2012). The “American Brand”—A Symbol of Quality and Innovation. The US Department of State Official Blog. Retrieved from http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/american_brand_quality_innovation

Kotler, P., & Gertner, D. (2002). Country as brand, product, and beyond: A place marketing and brand management perspective. Journal of Brand Management, 9, 249–261.

Moilanen, T., & Rainisto, S. (2009). How to brand nations, cities and destinations: A planning book for place branding. England, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ola Falemara, F. (2010). Re-branding the nation. Bloomington IN: Xlibris Corporation.

Roll, M. (2006). Asian brand strategy: How Asia builds strong brands. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Szondi, G. (2007). The role and challenges of county branding in transition countries: The Central European and Eastern European experience. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 3, 8–20.

Wang, J. (2008). Brand new China: Advertising, media, and commercial culture. Burlington, MA: Harvard University Press.

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