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The Rise and Fall of Brand America

When we express a preference for French holidays, German cars or Italian opera, when we instinctively trust the policies of the Swedish government, comment on the ambition of the Japanese, the bluntness of the Americans or the courtesy of the British, when we avoid investing in Russia, favor Turkey’s entry into Europe or admire the heritage of China and India, we are responding to brand images in exactly the same way as when we’re shopping for clothing or food. But these are far bigger brands than Nike or Nestlé. They are the brands of nations.

Nation brand is an important concept in today’s world. Globalization means that countries compete with each other for the attention, respect and trust of investors, tourists, consumers, donors, immigrants, the media, and the governments of other nations: so a powerful and positive nation brand provides a crucial competitive advantage. It is essential for countries to understand how they are seen by publics around the world; how their achievements and failures, their assets and their liabilities, their people and their products are reflected in their brand image.

Simon Anholt has developed the Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index - the first analytical ranking of the world’s nation brands. This report: Nation Brands Index - Q3 Report, 2005 tells us how nations view each other. Good stuff.

But even more critical, perhaps, is Anholt's book: Brand America: The Mother of All Brands.

Here's how the book is advertised on Anholt's website:

Q: When is a country like a brand?
A: When it’s the United States of America.

America is more than just a country: it’s the biggest brand in history. Launched as a global brand, managed like a global brand and advertised like a global brand since the Declaration of Independence, America has deliberately marketed itself – as well as its products and culture – with skill, determination and sheer, hardnosed salesmanship.

But today, it’s a brand in trouble. Brand America shows, for the first time in print, how the world’s most successful brand grew to greatness, how close it now is to throwing it all away, and how it might win back those disillusioned 'consumers'.

For anybody who has ever wondered what was the secret behind America’s greatness, and what happens next to the world’s sole superpower, Brand America is essential reading.

It’ll change your mind about brands, about countries and about America for ever.

Here's what Phil Kotler had to say about the book:

"Anholt and Hildreth are to be congratulated for raising the issue of why Brand America is suffering a strong decline around the world. They trace American history, the values of Brand America and the growth of anti-Americanism, and offer stimulating suggestions for how to repair our broken image."

Read it. That's Brand America: The Mother of All Brands.

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