Professor Jay Wang - Nation Branding at Expo Shanghai 2010

CPD Conversations in Public Diplomacy

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy was pleased to host CPD University Fellow and Annenberg professor, Jian (Jay) Wang to speak about nation branding at the Expo Shanghai 2010.

The World Expo, founded in 1851, is now a mega, global event where countries showcase their culture and innovation. With a record 192 official participant countries and 50 international organizations, Expo Shanghai 2010 attracted 73 million visitors. In this project, we used the construct of “brand experience” to explore and examine how countries pursue nation branding at Expo Shanghai and how Chinese visitors experience the branded country pavilions. Professor Wang and his team visited 12 pavilions from June through October 2010. He discussed his observations at this lunchtime forum.

To view the video conversations from Expo Shanghai, which include footage from the pavilions of Brazil, China, France, India, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain Sweden and the United States, please click here. A free compilation DVD of the video blogs is available. To request a copy, please contact Professor Wang directly at [email protected].

A media monitor of press around the Shanghai Expo was compiled by CPD and can be found here.

Event Summary:
CPD University Fellow and Professor Jay Wang presented his findings from the Center on Public Diplomacy-sponsored research project which examined of the role of nation branding at the Expo Shanghai 2010. The project intended to broaden research on public diplomacy to include events and other non-mass media platforms and to expand the discussion of China’s rise and soft power applications.

Professor Wang described the World Expo as a site of national image construction and he analyzed it in terms of nation building by the host country and more specifically nation branding by the over 200 other participant countries. The general questions the project sought to answer were which pavilion provided the most compelling experience, how did visitor brand experience impact their overall evaluation of the pavilion, and identifying key successful elements.

At the eight country pavilions examined, there were several factors and indicators used to define the pavilion and the brand engagement experience including ambiance, displays, movies, message type, human interaction, etc. Some pavilions succeeded in capturing these elements better than others, and those sites were discussed at the talk.

To view photos from the talk, please visit the Center's Flickr page here.

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