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What is Nation-Branding?

 What is nation branding? Traditionally countries formally market themselves when they host major world events such as the Olympics or the World Cup. Likewise countries that are popular tourist destinations regularly use targeted marketing campaigns to promote tourism. However, more recently countries are using technology and social media such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to run permanent branding campaigns. According to nation branding and promotion specialist, David Lightle, nation-branding is a strategic messaging campaign through which a country promotes itself to enhance its economy. David Lightle’s nation branding website proposes that in nation branding campaigns “the promotion should always be about economics. For developing countries, the key is to facilitate the development of the three pillars of prosperity: exports, investment attraction and tourism…For every country has a brand, sitting on the shelf of the global marketplace, needing to answer two crucial questions for the world: Who am I? And why me?” (Lightle, My Practice)

Specifically, Lightle proposes that developing countries must develop an umbrella brand; “In some cases, a nation needs an ‘umbrella brand’ to help differentiate itself and promote itself to open the doors wider to exports, investment and tourism.” (Lightle, My Practice)

In this example Lightle is referring to Colombia’s, “Colombia is Passion,” nation branding campaign.

 The key message of “Colombia is Passion,” is to promote the notion that Colombians distinguish themselves in the marketplace of nation brands as a people who live with an exceptional passion for life. Moreover, this campaign implies that the passion that Colombians have for life transcends into Colombia’s economy, its manufacturing sector, and its workplace, which in effect make Colombia an exceptional nation to buy exports from and an exceptional nation in which to make investments. Likewise, this campaign claims that the passion of Colombian’s also extends into Colombia’s tourism sector. In essence, premise of Colombia’s nation-branding campaign is that the passion that Colombian’s have for life is infectious and will give tourists a pleasant travel experience.

Do you think that nation-branding campaigns will have an important or marginal role in shaping world affairs?

Do you use social media to learn about other countries?

Which mass communication mediums do you use to learn about the world?

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