April 4, 2011

On Anholt

Simon Anholt uses nation branding as a way of transforming countries international images for the better. Is this different that a pubic relations campaign for a celebrity or a cereal? It doesn’t sound like it to me. Anholt talks about countries using tourism promotion, exported products, policy decision, investment, cultural exchanges and the people in the country as the way a country creates his identity. Maybe its because I have been reading articles related to public diplomacy all semester in this class and some what in International Communication, but all I can think is, “Duh?” While my comment may be sophomoric, that is exactly what I think of Anholt’s analysis. It seems to me like he is saying everything that everyone has ever said about public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and even foreign policy to an extent and not even bothering to really repackage it as something innovative but rather just uses a new word to entitle the same regurgitated ideas. To be fair, I do not know if Anholt came before all the other readers in class. I could take the time and look at the publishing dates for all of those other papers, but instead I think that I can safely assume that Anholt is not the creator of all of the PD ideals that he espouses in his article.

When I heard nation branding, I guess I had an idea in my mind that it would be more of a business approach to the items that we have learned in PD class which have more of a governmental feel. In other words I thought he would have a new perspective. That is not what I found. However, all those things being said I do not think that his argument is a bad one, just intuitive and he doesn’t add any depth or innovations to the old ideas. Maybe this is a case of Anholt not wanting to give away his branding secrets, since Efe said in class that he sells his ideas to countries for lots of money, but I think that an example of how he uses these ideas in practice may have helped differentiate his ideas from the pack if not at least strengthen them.

In all I thought that the article was formulaic, but only time will tell if he actually is successful in his campaigns to change a nations brand in the international arena.

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