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Country's Reputation

By pachyra Feb 21, 2012 1600 Words
« Every inhabited place on earth has a reputation » Anholt, 2011, p.7

A reputation according to the dictionary is “the estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the general public”. A country communicates with the rest of the world and creates its reputation through what Anholt (2011, p.25) calls the six natural channels. He enumerates the different types of public relations as following: tourism promotion, export brands, policy decisions of the country’s government, foreign direct investments in the country and recruitment of foreign talents and students, cultural exchange, activities and exports (music, arts, sports, film, etc.) and people of the country itself (political leaders, sport stars, film stars, etc.). According to Anholt (2011, p.7-9), country’s reputation can affect people’s perceptions more than the reality itself. Trad (Reputation Institute Executive Partner) (webseminar, 2011) also confirms this affirmation with the example of South Africa which, according to the Reputation Institute, “has a great reality but not as good reputation as its reality would permit”. Anholt (2011, p.8) also says that it can strongly modify the way people think about the country and the way they behave towards it. Individuals are very sensitive to the image reflected by the country. The Reputation Institute (2011) found a very strong correlation between a country’s reputation and people’s willingness to visit, buy its exported products and services, invest, study or even live and work there. The Reputation Institute estimates that a 10% change in a country’s reputation leads to 3% change in tourist receipts (Lewis, 2011, p.23). Let us consider the effects of any riot or protest in a country on its inhabitants and consequently on tourism. Trad explains on CNN (2010) that people “want to visit countries with happy people, if these ones are unhappy (which is the case if there is such an event) then people will choose another country when they select their destination for vacations” (CNN International, 2010). Riots or protests against the government are indicative of unhappy people and hence often violence. Thus, in the mind of overseas visitors it means complication with the transport services, unstable political conditions, unsafe living conditions and thus overall an unsafe destination. According to the reputation institute, the top drivers of a country’s reputation, for all individuals are the friendliness of the local inhabitants and the overall safety of the destination. A significant example is the Egyptian revolution during the early part of 2011, powerfully affected the reputation of Egypt as a desired tourist destination and thus the number of tourists visiting Egypt fell by 45.7% during the first trimester of 2011 compared to the same time last year (, 2011). According to Naudé and Kruggel (2007), a country’s reputation in the international market is directly responsible for its foreign direct investments. The political stability of a nation is an indirect indicator of economic stability and thus acts as an attraction for business investors. Let us continue with the Egyptian example: during the Egyptian revolution and the political unrest in the country, Egypt’s foreign direct investments fell by 124% during the first trimester 2011 in comparison with the last quarter of 2010 (AhramOnline, 2011).

According to Pharoah (2004, p.16), countries are beginning to realise that reputation matters, and means money. In fact the Reputation Institute calculated that 10% increase in a country’s reputation leads to a corresponding 11% rise in its tourism receipts and 2% increase in FDI. Thus reputation needs to be managed in order to be positive and can be used to create a value for the country. Pharoah suggests that governments can play the role of coordinator between the multitudes of organisations formal or informal that represent the country. Today, the governments are the brand managers of their country (Pharoah, 2004, p.16). However, Anholt (2007, p.27) and Trad, cited in Lewis (2011, p.23) are of the opinion that many countries have a lack in unifying their approach, with business, tourism, industry and politicians.

Source: Pharoah, 2004, p.17 Before managing their reputation, Anholt (2007, p. 26) suggests that countries must have a good and clear idea of what their nation really stands for. Once these guidelines are set then coordinating their actions, investments, policy and communications in order to create, maintain a solid and unified reputation shall just follow. Let us take by way the example of South Africa for illustrating the creation of value. South Africa created in 2002 Brand South Africa in order to help creating a positive, efficient and powerful brand image for the country. Before that, many different messages were sent from various sources contributing to confusion and uncertainty among the outside world (Anholt, 2007, p.26). Brand South Africa works with many of the government departments as well as the 2010 LOC (for World Cup 2010) and SA Tourism. South Africa unifies their approach towards the rest of the world by running an international campaign through broadcast, print and online media, investment missions, study exchange, work experiences and other marketing techniques ( Brand South Africa also focuses on the domestic population by building national pride and patriotism because management reputation is overseas people’s perceptions as well as domestic people’s perceptions (Reputation Institute, 2011). And this strategy seems to be working with South Africa

continuing to rise up in the Country RepTrack, created by the Reputation Institute; in 2011 it increases of 2.1 points compared to 2010’s rank. The Canadian example is a good example for the maintenance of its good reputation. According to the Reputation Institute (webseminar, 2011), the main drivers for reputation are the fact that people are welcoming and friendly, a safe place to visit and the responsible participation in the global community. Canada, which is the reputation winner of 2011 and the runner up in 2010, has a complete reputation profile and does well on all three aspects. Crisis management, for Bernstein (2010), is the nature of activities to intervene or mitigate the effects of a bad event or damaging information. Crisis management is also a unified communication in order to send a clear message. Trad, cited in Lewis (2011, p.23), says that in crisis situation, a country needs to be proactive and explain what is happening. Let us take the example of Ireland in rebuilding its reputation for investors as a result of the financial crisis. Enda Kenny, the current Prime Minister of Ireland, as cited in (2011), announced a recovery programme on St Patrick’s Day as a “unique global platform”. Similarly, UK has begun a global marketing campaign after London’s riots in summer 2011 (Lewis, 2011, p.23). On the contrary, Denmark reacted slowly to the offence to Muslims, created by a Danish newspaper, Trad, cited in Lewis (2011, p.23), says that this slow reaction lead to a decrease in Danish business and in the country’s reputation. A country’s reputation affects the perceptions of individuals and business. Both tourism and business can be strongly affected by a country’s reputation. In consequence, reputation means money for a country and that is why it needs to be managed. In order to have a strong and positive reputation, a country has to unify their efforts through public relations in order to create value for the country or maintain its good reputation. All the stakeholders need to participate in order to create cohesion and not confusion by sending many messages that can seem incoherent. After a crisis, reputation management transforms itself into crisis management. A country, which faces a crisis, needs to be reactive and stay unified. 1098 words excluding quotes and references.

Reference list:

Anholt S., (2011) “Competitive Identity - The New Brand Management For Nations, Cities and Regions”. Palgrave McMillan. [Available from HWU library as an e-book]. Bernstein, J. (2010) “What is Crisis Management?”, Free Management Library [weblog]. Available from: (Accessed 11 October 2011. (2002), website available (accessed 08 October 2011). from:

CNN International (2010), [TV Programme], 1 November. Available from 5DDD48&lf=feedwll “Direct Investments in Egypt slumps in first quarter 2011”, Ahram Online (2011), 28 July. Available from: (Accessed 12 October 2011). “Egypt/Tourism, baisse de 35,4% au T2”, Le Figaro [online], 12 September 2011. Available from: Lewis, C. (2011) “Perceptions can mean everything. Management Analysis: Reputation Management”, Times Newspaper Ltd., 31 August, pp. 16-24. Minihan, M. (2011) “Fewer visits to focus on ‘Rebuilding Reputation’”, Irish Times [online], 11 March 2011. Available from: (Accessed 12 October 2011) Naude W. & Krugell W. (2007). “Investigating geography and institutions as determinants of foreign direct investment in Africa using panel data” Applied Economics, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 39(10), pages 1223-1233 Pharoah A., (2004) “Building and Managing Reputation for countries”, All Things corporate [online], June 2004, p.16-22. Available from: 2004_edition.pdf (accessed 11 October 2011). Reputation Institute. Available from: Trad, N. (2011) Webinar: Country RepTrack 2011 [online video]. Available from: (Accessed 12 October 2011).

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