international image

Nations can and should nurture their brands much as consumer products and other companies do, a bevy of speakers said Friday at the Wharton Nation Brand 2016 conference. [...] Countries have branding as part of their DNA, panelists said, pointing to Germany's reputation as a powerhouse of skilled engineering, France's reputation as a haven of culture and Brazil's fame as a place of soccer, beaches and fun.

The precise ramifications of the Brexit vote will take a while to shake out, but many people overseas have interpreted it as the UK pulling up the drawbridge and retreating from its international role. This is both unfortunate and troubling. We must show everyone that we are more committed than ever to international cooperation economically, militarily and, above all, through our “soft power.”

October 25, 2016

Corruption, disorganisation, empty, expensive, violence and fear are just some of the words used to describe the Rio Olympics held this summer in Brazil’s cultural capital. The sporting competition itself came off without a hitch, but the impact the negative perception that this Games will have on Brazil’s nation brand is yet to be seen. 

So as not to miss any stitches in the fabric of international relations, leaders attach extra importance to what they wear during diplomatic talks, adhering to the unspoken rules of what is known as ‘fashion diplomacy'. [...] Would you be surprised, if I claimed that the dress the Queen was wearing during a State Banquet was more telling in terms of diplomacy than other political procedures? ​

Cultural diplomacy is accepted as a powerful instrument of soft power whose outreach is often underestimated. It has been found to be the most effective way of influencing foreign audiences. Other countries reach out to the youth, non-elite and other audiences outside the traditional embassy circuit because this form of diplomacy derives its credibility when it is seen as being independent of government institutions. 

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) revealed the branding for its “Visit [email protected] Golden Celebration 2017” tourism campaign.[...] The new campaign will promote the twin objectives of commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN in 2017, and embracing the ASEAN region of Southeast Asia as a single and united, yet diverse, tourism destination.

When Donald Trump repeatedly claims the election is “rigged,” it doesn’t just undermine voter confidence at home. [...] The campaign also acts as a snapshot of American democracy. According to political scientist Joseph Nye, America’s soft power – its ability to persuade foreign leaders and exert influence abroad – partly depends on how the rest of world interprets our political process, values and outcomes.

Barring some unspeakable disaster, Mr. Trump will not be our next President.  Instead, we’ll be working on how to repair the damage to our country’s international image and reputation. Allies and partners around the world—those whom Trump called “freeloaders”—will need to be reassured that America’s commitments remain intact.