The Olympic Games provide an interesting backdrop to observe an alternate competition between nations that isn’t happening on the playing field but in the court of public opinion. It seems that each Olympiad brings ever more intensive efforts to leverage the spotlight to gain recognition and enhance the image of nations in regard to tourism, trade and public diplomacy.
Nation branding and marketing were on display over the past weeks from the Japanese Prime Minister appearing at the closing ceremony to present Japan as cool and tech while dressed as Nintendo’s Super Mario, the Ethiopian marathon runner drawing attention to the persecution of the Oromo people in his country, to the black eye that the reputation of the USA received with the exploits of Ryan Lochte. And not to mention the panorama and iconic views of Rio broadcast to the world.
Nation branding is now firmly on the radar of the esteemed Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein has collaborated with U.S. News & World Report to produce the Best Countries Rankings. Reibstein has also produced a series of articles exploring the many facets of nation branding and why it matters. For the report, Reibstein and colleagues surveyed more than 16,000 global citizens on 65 different national attributes.
Just as Nike, Adidas and Puma are locked in brand battles at the Olympics, I am sure that future Olympiads will see more intensive competition between nations building their brands to establish their relevance, reputation and respect as international players.
I can’t wait to see what other costumes Japan’s high profile brand ambassadors will wear in 2020.
Produced by: Total Destination Marketing
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