v8n2_12 - Brand USA: Democratic Propaganda in the Third...

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Brand USA: Democratic Propaganda in the Third Social Space by Belinda H.Y. Chiu T raditional approaches to foreign relations are being replaced by marketing strategies to brand nations by enhancing their image and reputation. No longer is this responsibility limited to government tourism boards. Rather, because “every nation is already a brand,” 1 the responsibility to create positive perceptions of the nation- state has fallen on the shoulders of departments of foreign affairs and diplomacy. As an increasingly important tool to promote foreign interests and to attract allies—or in marketing terms, loyal customers—branding allows nation-states to craft and Branding is everywhere. But what is it? Brand equity of a product or service is the set of value-added assets that is communicated and strengthened by building name recognition, customer loyalty, and perceived quality. Although it had its beginnings in the consumer product industry, it is no longer restricted to the Coca- diplomacy. Citizens and leaders of foreign nations have existing ideas about other countries, be they positive or negative. In a technologically-advanced and globalized world, the branded nation has added pressure to be strongly aware of its own brand. 2 A nation’s brand can be strengthened by favorable policies, such as debt relief and foreign aid, or conversely, compromised by economic embargoes and declarations of war. Like consumer goods, smart brand management is essential to maintaining a positive impression and build loyal followers. However, as with consumer goods, smart brand management can only sell the product. While branding can change perceptions about the product, it cannot change the product itself. This paper will first briefly discuss the “third social space” in a democracy, the public space for media and marketing. According to Habermas, this third social space sits between the first (the state), and the second (the market, or private sector). Second, it will explore the characteristics of nation branding and its importance to foreign relations, examining the case of Brand USA, with a particular focus on the Shared Values Initiative targeted toward the Arab and Muslim worlds. Finally, it will Belinda H.Y. Chiu is currently a doctoral candidate in International Education Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is also the Special Assistant to the President at the Phelps Stokes Fund. Ms. Chiu graduated from Dartmouth College with an A.B. in Government. She received her Master’s in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2012 for the course HIST 101 taught by Professor Wormer during the Fall '08 term at Boise State.

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v8n2_12 - Brand USA: Democratic Propaganda in the Third...

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