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Shanghai World Expo 2010 and China’s Nation Brand

Суб, нов 13, 2010


Looking back over the past decades, international events are often used by host countries to promote their nation’s brand. Some have said that the Olympics successfully repositioned Greece and Spain as attractive nations, and the 1933 Chicago Expo is regarded as a marker for the US recovery from the recession. With the 2010 World Expo now underway, will China’s brand image improve on the global stage? What does China need to do to take full advantage of this opportunity?

John Quelch, a professor at Harvard Business School whose research focus is on global marketing and branding, explains that relevant nation branding is all about positioning a given country in the minds of consumers: “Those consumers might be voters or citizens of other countries. They might be potential tourists. They might be potential investors. There are a number of different segments that a typical nation branding strategy could potentially target, but the idea is to put your best foot forward and make clear to each target segment what the special qualities, attributes and benefits are of your nation, vis-à-vis the many other nations in the world.”

UK government advisor Simon Anholt developed an index called the Nation Brands Index (NBI) in 2005 as a way to measure the image and reputation of nations across the world. Published annually, the NBI measures the images of 50 countries by interviewing over 20,000 people in 20 different countries. Many countries feel this ranking is an important indicator—recently, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announced a plan to try and raise Korea’s rank from 33 to 15 by the end of 2013.

The National Brand Index score is made up of 6 categories: exports, governance, culture and heritage, people, tourism as well as investment and immigration. In the culture category, China ranked No. 9 in 2008. However, in the remaining 5 categories, it fell out of the top 15 altogether. Overall, China was ranked in the bottom half, 28 out of 50 countries.There’s almost always a time delay between when nations undergo branding activities to when the results can show up on a survey. So perhaps China’s ranking in 2008 did not reflect the efforts surrounding the Beijing Olympics in August of that year.

The Shanghai Expo represents an opportunity to further enhance Shanghai and China’s international images and to deepen relations with many countries in the world. It can also help build China’s nation brand in the minds of Chinese nationals, who are travelling from all corners of the country for this momentous event. Perceptions can be built through various touchpoints- everything from the appearance of the Shanghai airport, to the local taxi and restaurant service, to the communication and organization of the Expo event itself. If these various brand touchpoints can be used effectively to build China’s brand, the effects of the 2010 World Expo should show up in the next nation branding survey.

Source: http://www.labbrand.com/brand-source/shanghai-world-expo-2010-and-china%E2%80%99s-nation-brand

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