Olivia Parker
Apr 21, 2017

Nation branding: A complex, high-stakes game

Slogans and mascots are the least of it: ‘nation-branding’ in Asia today has evolved into a complex, multifaceted game with mega prizes on offer for winners—and catastrophe for losers, writes Olivia Parker.

Image control: A ‘cultural and social’ approach to marketing has earned Singapore “world’s strongest brand” status.

This year marks the 50th birthday of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a group that aims to promote 10 countries in the region as one tourist destination. The alliance is celebrating the occasion with a fresh new campaign, Visit ASEAN 50 golden celebrations 2017’, and hopes to boost international visitor arrivals to 121 million by the end of the year.

But three months in, not all commentators are persuaded of the campaign’s worth. Imtiaz...

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