Advertisement

Nation branding and development: poverty panacea or business as usual?

  • Christopher S Browning
Article

Abstract

According to nation branding consultants, problems of underdevelopment and global inequality are, to a significant extent, a product of the negative images peddled by charities and the broader development industry. While such images secure donations, it is argued they deter more sustainable investments. In contrast, consultants argue that concerted nation-branding strategies offer much better solutions to problems of underdevelopment. This article subjects such claims to critical examination and argues that while the diagnosis of the problem may have some merit, the solution offered is more problematic. This is because nation-branding practices are inherently status quo oriented and reflective of a neoliberal understanding of the nature of (under)development. Moreover, nation branding also entails a troubling commodification of identity and culture as well as unsettling implications in respect of extant understandings of ‘good governance’. Finally, the article suggests that the dichotomy drawn between aid and nation branding cannot be upheld; rather, it is a device used to legitimise a market for the services of nation-branding consultants.

Keywords

Africa development globalisation identity nation branding 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the participants of the Democracy and Development research group in the Department of Comparative Politics, the University of Bergen, and of the IPE research cluster at the University of Warwick for comments while drafting this paper. For more specific comments, I am particularly indebted to my colleagues Gabrielle Lynch, Shirin Rai, Ben Richardson and Mat Watson.

References

  1. Abhak, Kumar (2011) ‘India’s Country Brand Values Can Help the World’, 6 July, http://nation-branding.info/2011/07/06/india-country-brand-values-help-world/ (accessed 12 December, 2012).
  2. Abrahamsen, Rita (2012) ‘Africa in a Global Political Economy of Symbolic Goods’, Review of African Political Economy 39 (131): 140–2.Google Scholar
  3. Akotia, Mathias (2010) ‘Nation Branding and Nation Image’, http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=197380 (accessed 19 June, 2014).
  4. Alegi, Peter (2008) ‘“A Nation to Be Reckoned With”: The Politics of World Cup Stadium Construction in Cape Town and Durban, South Africa’, African Affairs 67 (3): 397–422.Google Scholar
  5. Angell, Svein and Mads Mordhorst (forthcoming) ‘National Reputation Management and the Competition State: The Cases of Denmark and Norway’, Journal of Cultural Economy, doi:10.1080/17530350.2014.885459.Google Scholar
  6. Anholt, Simon (2002) ‘Foreword’, Journal of Brand Management 9 (4–5): 229–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Anholt, Simon (2005) Brand New Justice: How Branding Places and Products Can Help the Developing World, Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  8. Anholt, Simon (2007) ‘Brand Africa: What Is Competitive Identity?’ African Analyst 2 (2): 72–81.Google Scholar
  9. Anholt, Simon (2008) ‘The Importance of National Reputation’, in Engagement: Public Diplomacy in a Globalised World (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London) 31–43, http://uscpublicdiplomacy.org/sites/uscpublicdiplomacy.org/files/useruploads/u26739/Engagement_FCO.pdf.
  10. Anholt, Simon (2009a) ‘Branding Places and Nations’, in Rita Clifton et al., eds, Brands and Branding, 2nd edn. (The Economist with Profile Books), 206–16, Princeton: Bloomberg Press.Google Scholar
  11. Anholt, Simon (2009b) ‘Should Place Brands Be Simple?’ Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 5 (2): 91–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Anholt, Simon (2010) ‘Why It’s Time to Abolish Brand Africa’, Brand Africa Forum 2010 Report, 13–14, http://www.brandafrica.net/Documents/BrandAfricaFORUM2010-Report.pdf (accessed 26 June, 2014).
  13. Aronczyk, Melissa (2008) ‘“Living the Brand”: Nationality, Globality and the Identity Strategies of Nation Branding Consultants’, International Journal of Communication 2: 41–65.Google Scholar
  14. Avraham, Eli and Eran Ketter (2013) ‘Marketing Destinations with Prolonged Negative Images: Towards a Theoretical Model’, Tourism Geographies 15 (1): 145–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bidwai, Praful (2012) ‘Why India Needs Aid’, The Guardian, 7 February, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/07/why-india-needs-aid/ (accessed 25 May, 2013).
  16. Block, Fred (2001) ‘Introduction’, in Karl Polanyi, ed., The Great Transformation, xviii–xxxviii, Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  17. Bono (2009) ‘Rebranding Africa’, New York Times, 10 July, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/10/opinion/10bono.html?_r=2&pagewanted=print (accessed 25 May, 2013).
  18. Brand Africa (2010) Brand Africa Forum 2010 Report, www.brandafrica.net (accessed 26 June, 2014).
  19. Brand Africa (2011) Brand Africa Forum 2011 Report, www.brandafrica.net (accessed 26 June, 2014).
  20. Browning, Christopher S. (forthcoming) ‘Nation Branding, National Self-Esteem and the Constitution of Subjectivity in Late Modernity’, Foreign Policy Analysis, doi: 10.1111/fpa.12028.Google Scholar
  21. Cameron, John and Anna Haanstra (2008) ‘Development Made Sexy: How It Happened and What It Means’, Third World Quarterly 29 (8): 1475–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cammack, Paul (2009) ‘Poverty Reduction and Universal Competitiveness’, Labour, Capital and Society 42 (1–2): 32–54.Google Scholar
  23. Cerny, Philip G. (1990) The Changing Architecture of Politics: Structure, Agency and the Future of the State, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Cheru, Fantu (2012) ‘The Right to Consume: Compassion and the Intricate New Phase of Capitalism and Africa’, Review of African Political Economy 39 (131): 137–40.Google Scholar
  25. Comaroff, John L. and Jean Comaroff (2009) Ethnicity, Inc. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Cooper, Andrew F. (2008) Celebrity Diplomacy, Boulder: Paradigm.Google Scholar
  27. Da Silva, Issa Sikiti (2010) ‘Branding, a Deceitful Word — Simon Anholt’, BizCommunity.com (21 September), www.bizcommunity.com/Print.aspx?1=196&c=82&ct=1&ci=52358 (accessed 12 April, 2013).
  28. Department for International Development (2012) ‘India’, http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Where-we-work/Asia-South/India/ (accessed 30 April, 2012).
  29. Dieter, Heribert and Rajiv Kumar (2008) ‘The Downside of Celebrity Diplomacy: The Neglected Complexity of Development’, Global Governance 14 (3): 259–64.Google Scholar
  30. Duffield, Mark (2001) Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merging of Development and Security, London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  31. Escobar, Arturo (1995) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World, Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Fan, Ying (2006) ‘Branding the Nation: What Is Being Branded?’ Journal of Vacation Marketing 12 (1): 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Foucault, Michel (2008) The Birth of Biopolitics, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Fougner, Tore (2006) ‘The State, International Competitiveness and Neoliberal Globalisation: Is There a Future beyond the “Competition State”?’ Review of International Studies 32 (1): 165–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Freire, Joao R. (2005) ‘Geo-Branding, Are We Talking Nonsense? A Theoretical Reflection on Brands Applied to Places’, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 1 (4): 347–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gertner, David (2007) ‘Place Branding: Dilemma or Reconciliation between Political Ideology and Economic Pragmatism?’ Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 3 (1): 3–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gilligan, Andrew (2012) ‘India Tells Britain: We Don’t Want Your Aid’, The Telegraph, 4 February, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/9061844/India-tells-Britain-We-dont-want-your-aid.html (accessed 27 May, 2013).
  38. Gumbel, Peter (2005) ‘Brand Aid, Not Band Aid’, Time Magazine, 29 May, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1066889,00.html (accessed 27 May, 2013).
  39. Henrikson, Alan K. (2005) ‘Niche Diplomacy in the World Public Arena: The Global “Corners” of Canada and Norway’, in Jan Melissen, ed., The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations, 67–87, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. International Marketing Council of South Africa (2009/2010) Annual Report 2009/2010, http://www.imc.org.za/annual-report/668-annual-report-2010 (accessed 17 December, 2012).
  41. International Marketing Council of South Africa (2010/2011) 2010/11 Annual Report, http://www.imc.org.za/annual-report/704-annual-report-2010-2011 (accessed 17 December, 2012).
  42. Jansen, Sue Curry (2008) ‘Designer Nations: Neo-Liberal Nation Branding — Brand Estonia’, Social Identities 14 (1): 121–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Jeong-ju, Na (2009) ‘Interview with Chairman of Korea’s Nation Branding Council’, 28 January, http://nation-branding.info/2009/01/28/interview-korea-nation-branding-council/ (accessed 12 December, 2012).
  44. Kaneva, Nadia (2011) ‘Nation Branding: Toward an Agenda for Critical Research’, International Journal of Communication 5: 117–41.Google Scholar
  45. Kapoor, Ilan (2013) Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity, Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Klein, Naomi (2000) No Logo, London: Flamingo.Google Scholar
  47. Larner, Wendy (2002) ‘Globalization, Governmentality and Expertise: Creating a Call Centre Labour Force’, Review of International Political Economy 9 (4): 650–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lemke, Thomas (2001) ‘The Birth of Biopolitics: Michel Foucault’s Lecture at the College de France on Neo-Liberal Governmentality’, Economy and Society 30 (2): 190–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Markessinis, Andreas (2009) ‘South Africa’s Nation Brand a Mess, Says Expert’, 13 June, http://nation-brandinginfo/2009/06/13/south-africa-nation-brand-a-mess/ (accessed 12 December, 2012).
  50. Marsh, David and Paul Fawcett (2011) ‘Branding, Politics and Democracy’, Policy Studies 32 (5): 515–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Matola, Miller (2012) ‘The Importance of Protecting Our Nation Brand As a Key Strategic Asset’, 29 October, http://www.imc.org.za/news/821-the-importance-of-protecting-our-nation-brand-as-a-key-strategic-asset (accessed 17 December, 2012).
  52. Mayes, Robyn (2008) ‘A Place in the Sun: The Politics of Place, Identity and Branding’, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 4 (2): 124–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Melissen, Jan (2005) ‘The New Public Diplomacy: Between Theory and Practice’, in Jan Melissen, ed., The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations, 3–27, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Metahaven (2008) ‘Brand States: Postmodern Power, Democratic Pluralism, and Design’, e-flux journal 1/2008 (December): 1–13.Google Scholar
  55. Moilanen, Teemu and Seppo Rainisto (2009) How to Brand Nations, Cities and Destinations: A Planning Book for Place Branding, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mor, Ben D. (2012) ‘Credibility Talk in Public Diplomacy’, Review of International Studies 38 (2): 393–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Myo-ja, Ser (2009) ‘Building “Korea the Brand” Will Take Years’, Korea JoongAng Daily, 29 July, http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2908004 (accessed 4 April, 2012).
  58. Olins, Wally (2005) ‘Making a National Brand’, in Jan Melissen, ed., The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations, 169–79, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Patel, Nishika (2011) ‘India to Create Central Foreign Aid Agency’, The Guardian, 26 July, http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/jul/26/india-foreign-aid-agency (accessed 15 January, 2013).
  60. Philo, Chris and Gerry Kearns (1993) ‘Culture, History, Capital: A Critical Introduction to the Selling of Places’, in Gerry Kearns and Chris Philo, eds, Selling Places: The City as Cultural Capital, Past and Present, 1–32, Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  61. Pienaar, Iwan (2011) ‘Brands: Africa versus the World’, Mail and Guardian (30 September), http://mg.co.za/article/2011-09-30-brands-africa-versus-the-world (accessed 12 December, 2012).
  62. Polman, Linda (2010) War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern Times, London: Viking.Google Scholar
  63. Potter, Evan H. (2002) Canada and the New Public Diplomacy, Clingendael Discussion Papers in Diplomacy no. 81, The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’.Google Scholar
  64. Richey, Lisa Ann and Stefano Ponte (2012) ‘Brand Aid and Africa’, Review of African Political Economy 39 (131): 136–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rose, Jonathan (2010) ‘The Branding of States: The Uneasy Marriage of Marketing to Politics’, Journal of Political Marketing 9 (4): 254–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rose, Nikolas (1993) ‘Government, Authority and Expertise in Advanced Liberalism’, Economy and Society 22 (3): 283–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Royal Government of Bhutan (2010) Economic Development Policy of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan 2010, http://rtm.gnhc.gov.bt/RTMdoc/EDP_2010.pdf (accessed 8 August, 2013).
  68. Said, Edward (1978) Orientalism: Western Representations of the Orient, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  69. Sending, Ole Jacob and Iver B. Neumann (2006) ‘Governance to Governmentality: Analyzing NGOs, States, and Power’, International Studies Quarterly 50 (3): 651–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sitati, Tom (2011) ‘The Role of Business in Branding Africa’, Brands in Africa, Mail and Guardian, 30 September, http://www.brandafrica.net (accessed 12 December, 2012).
  71. Teslik, Lee Hudson (2007) ‘Nation Branding Explained’, Council on Foreign Relations, 9 November, http://www.cfr.org/information-and-communication/nation-branding-explained/p14776 (accessed 12 December, 2012).
  72. Thiong’o, Ngūgī wa (1998) ‘Decolonising the Mind’, Diogenes, 184 46 (4): 101–4.Google Scholar
  73. Thomas, Caroline (2005) ‘Poverty, Development and Hunger’, in John Baylis and Steve Smith, eds, The Globalization of World Politics, 3rd edn. 645–8, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  74. van Ham, Peter (2002) ‘Branding Territory: Inside the Wonderful Worlds of PR and IR Theory’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 31 (2): 249–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. van Ham, Peter (2005) ‘Branding European Power’, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 1 (2): 122–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. van Ham, Peter (2008) ‘Place Branding: The State of the Art’, Annals of the American Academy of Political Science 616 (1): 126–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Veblen, Thorstein (1957) The Theory of the Leisure Class, London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd.Google Scholar
  78. Versi, Anver (2009) ‘Re-Branding Africa’, 16 December, http://nation-branding.info/2009/12/16/re-branding-africa/ (accessed 12 December, 2012).
  79. Versi, Anver (2012) ‘No More Negative Images Please’, Kenyan Airways Msafiri Inflight Magazine 80 (March–April): 92–100, http://www.brandafrica.net (accessed 17 December, 2012).
  80. Wanjiru, Evalyne (2005) ‘Branding African Countries: A Prospect for the Future’, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 2 (1): 84–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Weidner, Jason R. (2011) ‘Nation Branding, Technologies of the Self, and the Political Subject of the Nation-State’, Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, Montreal, 16–19 March.Google Scholar
  82. Widler, Janine (2007) ‘Nation Branding: with Pride against Prejudice’, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 3 (2): 144–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. York, Peter (2011) ‘The Brand Called Wally Olins’, Adweek, 3 May, www.adweek.com/print/131125 (accessed 5 June, 2014).
  84. Youde, Jeremy (2009) ‘Selling the State: State Branding as a Political Resource in South Africa’, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 5 (2): 126–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher S Browning
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Politics and International StudiesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

Personalised recommendations