The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views. For blogger guidelines, click here.

A young student learns Chinese.

CPD Director Jian Wang gives an overview of the latest issue of Perspectives on Public Diplomacy.

nation branding graphic

Reflections on the conceptual implications of nation branding: how branding a nation develops its soft power advantage

First ladies have long been an important part of a nation’s public diplomacy. Now their role is ever more pronounced.

In my new book, “Shaping China’s Global Imagination: Branding Nations at the World Expo,” I explore the idea of nation branding—what it is and how it works—through the instructive case of the Shanghai World Expo. Despite the growing interest in how countries promote their national image, the potential and role of branding in a nation’s communication has often been assumed but not demonstrated. This book reflects an effort to provide conceptual clarity and empirical attention to this very issue.

New Year resolutions are already aplenty, but we at CPD thought you might still be interested in knowing our goals for the year ahead.

The Cyrus Cylinder, a small clay object dated from the sixth century B.C.E. and covered in Babylonian cuneiform script of an imperial decree by King Cyrus of Persia, is considered by many to be a powerful symbol of cultural and religious tolerance. Its international touring exhibition, spearheaded by the British Museum, has drawn broad global attention and is, by most measures, a resounding success.

Few had probably even heard of the country Kazakhstan until the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. At the time, the satiric film starring Sacha Baron Cohen was roundly denounced by Kazakhstan for its unflattering portrayal of the country, still coming out of the shadows of the former Soviet Union.

What can branding in the commercial sector teach us about nation-state image communication?