Place Branding and Public Diplomacy

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 85–96 | Cite as

Consuls for hire: Private actors, public diplomacy

  • Geoffrey Allen PigmanEmail author
  • Anthony Deos


In a world increasingly conditioned by the speed and efficiency of information and communication technologies, the need for nation-state governments to communicate directly to foreign publics has increased significantly. Public diplomacy has had to become more fully integrated with, and more central to, governments’ overall approaches to diplomatic representation and communication. Effective public diplomacy has also become crucial for diplomatic actors such as governments of regions and of not widely recognised nation-states, which seek to assert their identity through gaining recognition by the global public as well as by established governments. All have had to learn from the political communications strategies of large global firms, which have become skilled in communicating to global public audiences over the past three decades. Governments and other diplomatic actors aspiring to recognition have turned increasingly to private firms specialising in political communication and representation to conduct diplomacy on their behalf. Many such firms entered this business by ‘going global’ after building up expertise in domestic political representation and communication and in lobbying. This paper explores and evaluates a topography of how governments have interacted with private actors to construct diplomatic strategies of representation and image management.


public relations communications George W. Bush administration lobbying consulting transparency 


  1. Business Week (2001) ‘‘Charlotte Beers’ toughest sell’, 17th December, 2001,, accessed 10th December, 2006.
  2. Business for Diplomatic Action, Who We Are, Introduction,, accessed 10th December 2006.
  3. Cowan, G. and Nevitte, N. (1998) ‘Evaluation: An alternative conceptual approach’, 24th August,
  4. Fitch, B. (2004) ‘Media Relations Handbook for Congress, Agencies, Associations, and Nonprofits’, The Capital. Net, Inc., Alexandria, VA, p. xvii.Google Scholar
  5. Guha, K. (2005) ‘Pakistan to offer India Kashmir-free project deals’, Financial Times, 30th January,
  6. Henry Jr., R. A. (1995) ‘Marketing Public Relations: The Hows that Make it Work’, Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA, p. 3.Google Scholar
  7. Horwitz, S. and Eggen, D. (2004) ‘FBI searches Saudi Arabia's PR firm’, Washington Post, 9th December, p. A8.Google Scholar
  8. Ibrahim, A. (2006) ‘A divine seal of approval’, The Washington Post, 19th November, p. B3.Google Scholar
  9. India Brand Equity Foundation, About Us,,(link currently inactive) accessed 15th December, 2006.
  10. Jurgensen, J. (2003) ‘Marketing of image conflicts with perception as aggressor’, Hartford Courant, 19th March.Google Scholar
  11. Melissen, J. (2005) ‘Theory and practice’, in Melissen, J. (ed.)‘ The New Public Diplomacy; Soft Power in International Relations’, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 3–27.Google Scholar
  12. Nye Jr., J. S. (2005) ‘Soft Power', Public Affairs (Perseus Books Group), New York, NY.Google Scholar
  13. Olins, W. (2005) ‘Making a national brand’, in Melissen, J. (ed.)‘ The New Public Diplomacy; Soft Power in International Relations’, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 169–179.Google Scholar
  14. Pigman, G. A. (2006) ‘The World Economic Forum; A Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Global Governance’, Routledge, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  15. Pigman, G. (2006) ‘The business of democratization’, The Bennington Free Press, 17th November, p. 2.Google Scholar
  16. Platt, D. C. M. (1968) ‘Finance, Trade and Politics in British Foreign Policy, 1815–1914’, Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK (especially p. xxv).Google Scholar
  17. Starks, T. (2002) ‘Saudi Arabia spent $14.6 million on P.R.; King will host “Martyrs’” kin’, New York Sun, 30th December, p. 1.Google Scholar
  18. The Economist (2006) ‘Do we have a story for you!’, 19th January.Google Scholar
  19. US Department of State (2006) Biography, Karen Hughes,, accessed 10th December, 2006.
  20. van Ham, P . (2005) ‘Power, public diplomacy, and the Pax Americana’, in Melissen, J. (ed.) ‘The New Public Diplomacy; Soft Power in International Relations’, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 47–66.Google Scholar
  21. Weber, T. (2005) ‘Pakistan pushes India on pipeline’, BBC News, 31st January, accessed 31st January, 2005.
  22. World Citizens Guide (2006) ‘History’,, accessed 10th December, 2006.

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political Economy, Bennington College, One College DriveBenningtonUSA

Personalised recommendations