Foreign Policy Nation Branding Program

In today's interdependent marketplace, creating, managing and sustaining a country's brand is crucial for long-term political and economic success. One of the most common mistakes governments make when dealing with the United States is failing to recognize the diffuse nature of American political and economic power.

There are literally thousands of people in Washington, DC and across the country who can impact your country on a daily basis. A growing number of countries have leveraged paid advertising supplements in Foreign Policy in conjunction with other lobbying and public relations efforts to ensure that they can highlight their economic and political ties to the United States. Funded directly by a government or in conjunction with the private sector, these campaigns complement any media coverage that a country receives (but that is difficult to control).

Click here for a look at Five Myths about Nation Branding.

Join the many countries that rely on the power of Foreign Policy and ForeignPolicy.com to communicate their message to policy makers, opinion makers and business leaders. Please contact Amer Yaqub, Publisher, at 1-202-728-7310 or email him at amer.yaqub@foreignpolicy.com to discuss how Foreign Policy can create a customized nation branding program for you.

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Five Myths about Nation Branding

Nation branding, the managing of a country's reputation like that of a corporation, has evolved from just a buzzword to an important tool for countries seeking to compete in the global marketplace. Yet any conversation on nation branding is likely to lead to lots of heated discussion but no resolution. Here's a quick guide to the most salient issues in the debate:

  1. "A nation's brand doesn't really matter."

    In reality, a country's image can have enormous impact. A Fast Company-IMB Business School poll found that 43% of Americans said they would be less likely to buy a computer from Chinese-owned Lenovo, despite the fact that it was the same product IBM had marketed successfully for years. All things being equal, the stronger the country's brand, the greater the benefit for its corporations, products, tourism industries and relations with other countries.

  2. "Advertising doesn't work."

    Creating a nation's brand takes years—as does refining it. Advertising's power is limited, especially if done in isolation. Just as a product that doesn't work as advertised won't succeed, a country that promotes an inauthentic message will see little impact from advertising, no matter how clever or frequent the message.

    Paid advertising to promote a nation's political, economic and tourism messages, if done well, can play a vital role in an overall strategy that integrates public diplomacy, lobbying and public relations.

    Relevant advertising—placed in appropriate media with an audience that matters—can be very effective. In a study of the media habits of Washington leaders, 65% said they took action after seeing public policy advertisements. These actions included sending an ad to a colleague and going to an advertisers' website to learn more. Influential Foreign Policy readers are very engaged—69% said they perform further research on topics covered in the magazine.

  3. "Our government can't afford it."

    Every year, corporations and governments spend billions of dollars lobbying American political and business leaders. Paid media campaigns actually offer a cost-effective way to get your country's perspective in the minds of the important Foreign Policy audience.

  4. "Nation branding is best left to private sector."

    Communicating a coordinated message about a country's economic, political and social strengths requires a unified and well thought out plan. Leaving the task exclusively to the private sector can invite confusion as different entities create conflicting messages. A centrally planned approach works best.

  5. "We prefer other media."

    Communicating a complex message requires a media environment best suited for reflective thinking. Television and radio are difficult places for such a campaign. Magazines offer a more appropriate landscape—95% of Foreign Policy readers spend more than an hour with each issue, 43% spend more than three hours.