Did the Olympics help the nation branding of China? Comparing public perception of China with the Olympics before and after the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Hong Kong
- 201 Downloads
The purpose of this article is to investigate whether a large-scale sporting event can help to brand a nation. In particular, this study will examine the effect that the 2008 Beijing Olympics has had on the branding image of China. Two surveys conducted in 2005 and 2009 in Hong Kong are used to compare China's Image (CI) with the Olympic Image (OI) to gauge how much China shares the Olympic spirit before and after the Games. The 1000 interviewees of each survey answered the same questionnaire about 15 attributes classified under three sub-brands that contribute to the OI: (1) ‘sport spirit’ on the functional level; (2) ‘celebration of community’ on the emotional level; and (3) ‘human values’ on the ‘self-expressive’ level. Results show that overall, the OI is perceived better than the CI in both 2005 and 2009. Using the OI as a benchmark, China shares more in sub-brand ‘sports spirit’ and less in ‘celebration of community’ and ‘human values’ with the OI in 2009 than in 2005. Out of the 15 attributes, CI is perceived better than the OI in only two attributes ‘be the best’ and ‘determination’ within the ‘sports spirit’ sub-brand in 2009 than 2005. In 2005, CI was better than the OI in ‘human rights’ and ‘honor’ but the effects diminished to become the same with the OI in 2009. In conclusion, the CI has improved in ‘sports spirit’ only when compared to the OI after the Beijing Olympics.
Keywordsnational image China Image Olympics nation branding Hong Kong
I would like to thank Professor Clement So, Director of the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the reviewers of this paper for their kind assistance and useful comments. One of the surveys is funded by RCG Research Grant Direct Allocation (2020827) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
- Aaker, D. and Joachimsthaler, E. (2002) Brand Leadership: The Next Level of the Brand Revolution. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
- Aaker, D.A. (1996) Building Strong Brands. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
- Abrahamson, A. (2002) China costs rise. Los Angeles Times, 10 February.Google Scholar
- Allison, L. (1994) The Olympic movement and the end of the Cold War. World Affairs: Sports International Aspects 157 (2): 92–97.Google Scholar
- Amnesty International. (2006) People's Republic of China: The Olympics Countdown – Failing to Keep Human Rights Promises. AI Index, ASA (17/046/2006).Google Scholar
- Anholt, S. (2010) Competitive Identity. Hampshire, England: Macmillan Publishers.Google Scholar
- Apple Daily. (2008) The golden path of China. 24 August.Google Scholar
- Associated Press. (2009) Did Olympics improve human rights in China?, http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=oly&id=3977744, accessed 20 March 2010.
- Bernstein, A. (2000) Things you can see from there you can’t see from here: Globalization, media and Olympics. Journal of Sports and Social 4: 351–369.Google Scholar
- CNN. (2001) China's games push gains momentum, http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/east/07/10/ioc.moscow/index.html, accessed 29 June 2007.
- Chinese Olympic Committee. (2010) On frequently asked questions, http://missions.itu.int/~china/olympics/faq.htm, accessed 21 March 2010.
- COC. (2004) Bid for 2008, http://en.olympic.cn/china_oly/olympic_bids/2004-03-27/121852.html, accessed 31 March 2010.
- Collins, M. (2002) China's Olympics. Contemporary Review, 1 March.Google Scholar
- Debord, G. (1995) The Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
- De Chernatony, L. (2008) Academic perspective: Adapting brand theory to the context of nation branding. In: K. Dinnie (ed.) Nation Branding, Concepts, Issues, Practice. Oxford, UK: Elsevier; Butterworth-Heinemann, p. 15.Google Scholar
- De Chernatony, L. and McDonald, M. (2003) Creating Powerful Brands, 3rd edn. Oxford, UK: Elsevier; Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
- Dinnie, K. (2008a) Nation Branding, Concepts, Issues, Practice. Oxford, UK: Elsevier; Butterworth-Heinemann, p. 45.Google Scholar
- Dinnie, K. (2008b) Nation Branding, Concepts, Issues, Practice. UK, Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, p. 172.Google Scholar
- Fan, M. (2007) Report faults China on rights failures: Olympics an excuse for arrests, amnesty says. Washington Post Foreign Service, 30(April): A10.Google Scholar
- Fitzgerald, J. (2009) China and the quest for dignity. National Interest 55: 47–59.Google Scholar
- Gries, P.H. (2004) China's New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Halloran, R. (1999) Reading Beijing. Far Eastern Economic Review 162 (8): 28.Google Scholar
- Heslop, L.A. and Papadopoulos, N. (1993) But who knows where or when: Reflections on the images of countries and their products. In: N. Papadopoulos and L.A. Heslop (eds.) Product-country Images. Impact and Role in International Marketing, Chapter 2. New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
- Hulme, D. (1990) The Political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 U.S. Boycott. New York: Praeger Publishers.Google Scholar
- Huntington, S.P. (1996) The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
- International Olympic Committee Marketing Department. (2002) Section 3: The Olympic image and the Sydney 2000 Brand. Sydney 2000 Marketing Report.Google Scholar
- International Olympic Committee Marketing Department. (2008) Chapter Seven: The Olympic Brand. Marketing Report Beijing, p. 120.Google Scholar
- Johansson, J.K. (1993) Missing a strategic country: Managers’ denial of country-of-origin effects. In: N.G. Papadopoulos and L. Heslop (eds.) Product-country Images: Impact and Role in International Marketing. New York: International Business Press.Google Scholar
- Kapferer, J.N. (1991) Strategic Brand Management. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
- Legge, J. (1893) Confucian Analects, (translations). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- MacLeod, C. (2009) After Olympics, national spirit soars while human rights lag. USA Today, 16 April, http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2009-04-15-beijing-legacy_N.htm, accessed 21 March 2010.
- McLuhan, M. (1964) Understanding Media. California: Gingko Press.Google Scholar
- Metropolis Daily. (2008) China will be the first on the Gold Medal List 21 August.Google Scholar
- New York Times. (2006) China Rises, http://www.nytimes.com/specials/chinarises/intro/index.html, accessed 29 June 2007.
- Olympic Charter. (2004) Fundamental Principal of Olympism, Principle one. International Olympic Committee, http://olympic-museum.de/charter/olympiccharterSept2004.pdf, accessed 21 March 2010.
- One World One Dream, Image and Look Section in The Official Website of the Beijing Olympics. (2008) http://en.beijing2008.cn/spirit/beijing2008/graphic/n214068253.shtml, accessed 22 March 2010.
- People's Daily. (2005) China, UN Sign Agreement on Environmental Protection for 2008 Olympics. People's Daily Report, 19 November.Google Scholar
- Redgate, C. (2002) An ideal partnership. Supporting and leveraging the Olympic values. Fortune Magazine 8(2): 2.Google Scholar
- Restall, H. (2007) China's bid for Asian hegemony. Far Eastern Economic Review 170 (1): 10–14.Google Scholar
- Sauer, A. (2006) Las Vegas cashes in. BrandChannel, 10 July.Google Scholar
- Schaeffer, R.K. (2003) Understanding Globalization: The Social Consequences of Political, Economic, and Environmental Change. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Sing Tao Daily. (2008) The Great Gold-Medal Country 19 August.Google Scholar
- Sun, W. (2001) Media events or media stories? Time, space and Chinese (trans)nationalism. International Journal of Cultural Studies 4 (25): 28.Google Scholar
- The Olympic Image and the Sydney 2000 Brand. (2002) Sydney 2000 Marketing Report, http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Reports/EN/en_report_252.pdf, accessed 22 March 2010.
- Tomlinson, J. (1999) Localization and Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Van Gelder, S. and Roberts, H. (2007) Branding brings a place to life. Branding 63, http://www.placebrands.net/_files/Branding_brings_a_place_to_life.pdf, accessed 31 March 2010.
- Weilbacher, W.M. (2003) Brand Marketing. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group.Google Scholar
- Xinhua News Agency. (2001) German Minister Praises Signing of International Covenant. Xinhua News Agency Report, 25 July.Google Scholar
- Xinhua News Agency. (2005) Envoy says China Ready to Boost Economic, Social, Cultural Rights. Xinhua News Agency Report, 29 April.Google Scholar
- Yang, C. and Li, C. (2008 Winning honour, dignity and friendship China Business Time, 5 August. The Original quotation is from Premier Wen:Google Scholar