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Nation branding for foreign direct investment: an Integrative review and directions for research and strategy

Nicolas Papadopoulos (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Leila Hamzaoui-Essoussi (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Alia El Banna (University of Bedfordshire Business School, Luton, UK)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 21 November 2016




This study aims to address a heretofore neglected area in research, nation branding, for the purpose of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). It compares and contrasts the well-established literature on decision-making and location choice in FDI with studies in the nascent field of nation branding, with a view to developing directions for future research that result from the identification of research gaps at the intersection point between the two areas.


The study is based on a systematic and integrative review of several streams within the relevant literatures, from the theory of decision-making in FDI to the similarities and differences between advertising, promotion, branding and marketing for investment on the part of nations and sub- or supra-national places.


Each of the two areas is characterized by lack of consensus as to the principal factors that affect investor and nation decisions and actions, resulting in several knowledge gaps that need to be addressed by new research along the lines suggested in the study.

Research limitations/implications

A large number of avenues for potential future research are identified, from assessing the importance of target country image in location choice to the adverse effects arising from the emphasis on “promotion” rather than “marketing” on the part of places engaged in nation branding efforts.

Practical implications

The study examines several problems that affect the practice of nation branding for FDI and points to alternative approaches that may enhance place marketers’ effectiveness in their efforts to attract foreign capital.


Notwithstanding the global growth of FDI in volume and importance, and the omnipresence of nation branding campaigns to promote exports or attract tourism and investment, there has been virtually no research to date on the core issue, nation branding for FDI. The study uses a strategic perspective that highlights key nation branding issues related to FDI, and FDI issues related to nation branding, and suggests a comprehensive agenda for research in the future.



Papadopoulos, N., Hamzaoui-Essoussi, L. and El Banna, A. (2016), "Nation branding for foreign direct investment: an Integrative review and directions for research and strategy", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 25 No. 7, pp. 615-628.



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