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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Marketing Review, Volume 27, Issue 4
Nation branding is a complex and challenging field of practice as well as a stimulating and relatively understudied research area. To describe nation branding as the application to entire countries of strategic brand management techniques that are well established in the product, service, and corporate branding literature would be a reasonable starting point in defining the domain. However, the multifaceted and infinitely diverse nature of nations represents a branding challenge far more demanding than that faced by individual corporate, service, or product brands. The range of stakeholders in any nation brand extends beyond narrow sectoral constituencies to include every citizen of the nation, in addition to the many external stakeholders who are impacted by or who themselves impact the nation brand.
Such complexity is manifest in the multiple goals that nation branding sets out to achieve. The key objectives of nation branding include the attraction of foreign investment, export promotion, tourism promotion, and the attraction of students and both skilled and unskilled workers. These wide-ranging goals represent branding challenges on a scale that far exceeds the more conventionally focused practice of product, service, and corporate branding. Engaging in nation branding is therefore a richly stimulating challenge for policymakers and researchers alike.
This special issue aims to advance the theoretical base of the nation branding domain by providing a forum for the sharing of research findings across multiple dimensions of the nation branding construct. Different perspectives, settings, and methodologies are brought together in this special issue in order to deepen the intellectual base of the discipline and to share valuable insights into some of the critical issues in contemporary nation branding. These studies reflect the international and interdisciplinary essence of nation branding. In addition to the five papers, we also include one book review from the steadily growing body of nation branding literature.
The first paper by Keith Dinnie, T.C. Melewar, Kai-Uwe Seidenfuss, and Ghazali Musa addresses one of the most difficult challenges faced by policymakers in the development and implementation of nation branding strategy, namely, how to coordinate the nation branding activities of export promotion organizations, investment agencies, national tourism organizations, and embassies. Based upon an integrated marketing communications perspective, a series of in-depth interviews was conducted with key informants from five Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, from which important findings emerged in terms of the identification of seven key dimensions of interorganisational coordination in a nation branding context.
The second paper by Louise A. Heslop, John Nadeau, and Norm O’Reilly examines the views of residents and foreigners regarding the Beijing Summer Olympics and China’s image as the host country. The study inscribes itself within the research stream of marketing theory on country image effects and surveys Chinese and American respondents before and after the Olympics event took place. Cross-national and pre-post comparisons are made and interaction effects are noted using MANOVA. The results have important implications for both the effects of mega-events on country images and the effects of the host country on the event brand image.
Using the concept of consumer-based brand equity, in the third paper Steven Pike, Constanza Bianchi, Gayle Kerr, and Charles Patti analyse Australia’s brand equity as a long-haul tourism destination in an emerging market. The authors’ model of consumer-based brand equity was adapted from the marketing literature and applied in a nation context, tested by using structural equation modeling with data from a Chilean sample (n=845) comprising a mix of previous visitors and non-visitors. The results indicate that Australia is a well-known but not compelling destination brand for tourists in Chile. Implications of the study include the need for consumer-based brand equity measures to be analysed on an ongoing basis in order to track any strengthening or weakening of market perceptions in relation to brand objectives, and the potential benefits of implementing a standard consumer-based brand equity instrument to provide consistent longitudinal data regardless of changes in destination marketing organization staff, advertising agency, other stakeholders, and budget.
The conceptual lens of social identity is used in the fourth paper by Richard Lee, Jane Klobas, Tito Tezinde, and Jamie Murphy in their examination of the underlying social identities of a nation’s brand. The study draws on self-categorisation theory and nation branding and encompasses the concept of consumer ethnocentrism, an important element of international marketing strategy for brands which make explicit use of their provenance as part of their overall marketing communications strategy.
In the fifth paper, Marc Fetscherin examines the measurement of a nation’s brand strength, an important yet often overlooked facet of nation branding. Based on the premise that a strong country brand can stimulate exports, attract tourism, investment, and immigration, the author constructs a country brand index as a first attempt in the field to operationalise the assessment of a country’s brand strength based on objective and secondary data rather than on subjective survey-based measurements.
Finally, a book review is provided of Teemu Moilanen and Seppo Rainisto’s How to Brand Nations, Cities and Destinations: A Planning Book for Place Branding. Moilanen and Rainisto outline the challenges in building a place brand and go on to outline the key success factors in place branding, amongst which are the identification of a value-based point of differentiation, an understanding of national identity and the development of public-private partnerships. In-depth case studies in the book focus on Norway, Australia, and Scotland whilst there are briefer cases on Latvia, Poland, South Africa, and Spain.
The guest editors would like to thank all those who submitted papers and the many reviewers whose input was critical to the realization of this special issue.
Keith Dinnie, T.C. MelewarGuest Editors