international image

This week’s PD News roundup looks at nation branding efforts from Rwanda to North Korea. 

There are no I  [❤]  North Korea bumper stickers, no shot glasses with North Korean city names. But imagine a reality where the 69-year-old totalitarian state was a free and open country that welcomed tourists to frolic in its streets. This improbable reverie inspired the Swedish design agency Snask to create a ready-to-use nation brand identity kit, complete with a new North Korean flag brandishing a message of love.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson finally met with the State Department’s workforce to outline how President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda applies to foreign policy. In his remarks, Tillerson focused on the core mission of national security. He insisted that American values still matter, but was clear that the U.S. is no longer in the business of promoting those values as universal aspirations. It’s a big loss for American influence in the world.

Ahead of youth month, Brand South Africa has partnered with the Sunday Times Generation Next to host this year’s youth marketing conference. The conference looks at youth brand preference and consumer behavior and explores how the youth can drive growth in local brands. This partnership is in line with Brand South Africa’s domestic objective of promoting and championing programmes that enhance the Nation Brand. 

Mark Donfried, founder and director general of the Berlin-based Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), is not surprised at the comparatively low level of knowledge in the US about the Arab world, as revealed in a recent YouGov/Arab News survey. “Between 70 and 80 percent of Americans don’t have passports and so don’t go abroad. Most of the ones who do go to Canada and Mexico, some to Europe, but few of them make it to the Middle East,” he said.

Ryomyong St is the third prestige project in as many years in the North Korean capital, and by far the largest, said to have nearly 5,000 apartments, which according to authorities will be distributed free to deserving citizens. Its name translates as “illumination” and the official KCNA news agency described it as “an icon of modern street architecture and a fairyland representing the era of the Workers’ Party”.

The UAE Soft Power Council, which will define a comprehensive strategy to reinforce the country’s position and consolidate its values of respect and appreciation with governments and citizens across the world. The UAE Soft Power Council will report directly to the UAE Cabinet and will introduce an integrated national strategy that consolidates the roles of both the public and private sectors in achieving soft power and conveying the nation’s history in a new way.

A high-profile media forum to be held in Dubai next week will feature an Arab News panel discussion examining the region’s image abroad. [...] A report titled “The Arab Image in the US” will be unveiled at the event. It is based on an exclusive survey of how the American public views the Arab world, conducted in partnership between Arab News, the Dubai Press Club and research and polling specialist YouGov.

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