In a recent interview with London based Monocle Magazine, I explain the ABC’s of how to market a nation brand given my consulting work with the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles.

Why the exercise and what are the metrics? The purpose of the survey is to provide Monocle readership with an index of the world’s nations as they compete for the hearts and minds of public perception.

In a globalized world competing for resources such as labor, tourism dollars, investment, and cultural leverage, it pays to be respected and admired. Soft power studies provide a barometer in the way nations stand to gain or lose from its image broadcast internationally. As a way of strategic planning, it may provide clarity as to what nations must do to:

1. Keep a good name among the nation brands of the world.

2. Resolve in order to dispel limits to its reputation.

However, as scholar Simon Anholt points out, we must be careful not to assume we can simply market our way to global affinity.

“National images cannot be created through communications
and cannot be altered by communications.” – Simon Anholt

A nation cannot simply hire the best marketing and PR company to tidy its image or create a false sense of prosperity and stability. And as a matter fact, many countries face the problem of being known for only stereotypical images leaving competitive advantage on the table due to ignorance.

País Tropical

Let us take Brazil as an example. Former President Lula’s time was marked by a period of growth and social progress before he was ousted amidst a bribery scandal. Following his term, a tense political environment, and a return to conservative rule echoing the dark autocratic past sung about in the songs of Chico Buarque. As the article states – a “Reversal of Fortune.”

The good news, however, is that Brazil continues to be a country where, even at an individual level, culture remains a major investment of time and energy. There’s no better measure of this than in the events held by Brazilian communities all over the world.

Cultural Diplomacy

Cultural diplomacy even at a civic level, or a neighborhood level, allows for the spontaneous and folkloric life. In a city such as Los Angeles with multitudes of ethnicities on display every day, learning about your neighbors often means ordering a taco on the corner, experiencing a new grocery store, or briefly joining a parade down the promenade. Losing fear of ‘the other’ effectively creates stronger bonds and creates new invitations.

Cultural diplomacy is just one aspect of a well rounded soft power strategy. Investments and promotion of progress in the industrial sector, technology and innovation space, as well as human rights, are equally as important. While Brazil’s future continues to unfold, the investment in culture continues to be a tent pole opportunity for the country that everybody wants to love.

To learn more about my nonprofit organization, please visit www.brazilartsconnection.org

Inquiries please contact: mf@marlonfuentes.info

Soft power excerpt from Monocle Magazine

 Monocle Magazine Cover



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