Chapter 3: Brands: Boundary Method Objects and Media Space
Celia Lury INTRODUCTION When I coined the term ‘nation brand’ in 1996, it was in recognition of the fact that the reputation of places had become as important to their progress as the brand images of products and companies. I didn’t mean that any country from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe could build a Nike-sized brand if it could only raise a Nike-sized marketing budget: I was talking about brand image as a way of understanding the challenges faced by countries and cities, not proposing brand marketing as a way of fixing them. (Anholt 2007: 57) How can it be that the challenges that countries and cities face might be understood by considering brand image? Certainly brand managers have been concerned with the challenges of globalization for some time. In what has come to be considered a classic article, Theodore Levitt identified in 1983 the arrival of a ‘new commercial reality – the emergence of global markets’. Levitt argued that ‘Global competition spells the end of domestic territoriality, no matter how diminutive the territory may be’ and proposed that differences in national and regional customer preferences were disappearing: ‘The global corporation operates with resolute constancy – at low relative cost – as if the entire world (or major regions of it) were a single entity; it sells the same things in the same way everywhere (1983: 92–93).’ He continued, ‘The earth is round, but for most purposes it’s sensible to treat it as flat. Space is curved, but not much for everyday life...
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