HOW does a country’s brand reputation survive challenging times like an economic crisis or a global pandemic?
This WED WEB CHAT — The Country Brand In The Digial Era discusses the impact of COVID-19, leadership personalities and longterm reputation planning and building on the brand values of the United States of America and Singapore.
Rafik Mansour, Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Singapore is a career diplomat who has served in 9 different countries and seen firsthand the respect accorded to his country.
Prolific Singaporean author and editor Koh Buck Song has released the 3rd edition of his book Brand Singapore, and has been involved in the country’s brand strategy for more than 3 decades.
They share their views on how a country brand can provide an umbrella effect that can serve a nation through good and tough times.
Building The US Brands
Soft power and cultural power are in its arsenal when it comes to bringing the US brand to a global audience.
The US Education system is a major draw, and for the fifth consecutive year, more than 1 million foreign students are enrolling in US universities.
Which are the top 3 countries these students are from, and what are the other values of the US economy that attract investors to the country?
New Party, New Shift?
While Singapore’s one party domination of politics has allowed for development to proceed at a pace dictated by the government, could the shifting political landscape in the US pose some challenges.
Mansour points out that a system of checks and balances allows for diversity of opinion to prevail even as the US global strategies continue.
The Leader’s Role In Branding
How does a country’s leader influence the country’s brand positioning?
Mansour points out that while Singapore has had a strong leader in its formative years, in Lee Kuan Yew, the US hasn’t had such an influential person in the last 100 years.
But the American Dream that allowed Mansour, who migrated to the US in his teens, to rise through the ranks, and is still a strong ideal that courses though society.
Buck Song notes that a country brand is multi-faceted and the political leader plays an important role in his representation.
The COVID-19 Factor
As the world recovers from COVID-19 the countries that succeed will be those that have kept the spread low and has continued to build a safe, trustworthy and welcoming place, reckons Buck Song.
Mansour says a lot of lessons have to be observed and learnt as a result of COVID-19. He adds that the US is the world’s largest donor of foreign aid and is optimistic that with the development of an effective vaccine global recovery should begin in 2021.
Watch the full discussion below.
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