“National Branding is one of the most contentious political concepts of our time” (Ollins, 2002:150)
Throughout history, countries have been building up an image for themselves, creating, therefore, positive and negative stereotypes. As a country is stereotyped, it can suffer harmfully in trade, tourism, and exterior investments. Throughout the years, governments have realised the true importance of branding identity of the country, as a result, they started to create brand portfolios.
As I was reading about the topic discussed in the lecture, I could only think about Brazil, more specifically, Rio de Janeiro, as at the moment they have been using such branding principles to clean its image. For many decades Rio has only been known for football, cultural events (e.g Carnival), beaches, corruption and violence, as a result of all that, branding experts within the government began to modify the city’s image with the use of mega-events, such as the World cup and Olympics, to encourage investments from outside countries and power plays.
Even though we have seen countries with successful campaigns and comebacks (Spain 1975), the Brazilian government does not seem to apply the branding values successfully. They know their potential as a National asset, but the national government does not seem to manage accordingly for the country’s own profit. In agreement to the terms learnt in today’s lecture, I can see Rio dealing with hegemony, as with the mega-events they showcase power, abundance, peace and spectacles by simply sweeping the dirt under the carpet and as soon the international media and investors leave, everything comes back to light.
Rio de Janeiro is just one example from many others of a phenomenon that havebeen happening around the world for decades, where, by political and private sectors pressure, countries undergo to urban regeneration, gentrification, displacements, securitisation and privatisation of public places, which seeemingly looks positive for the citizens, however, it is only bringing gain to te countries investors, private corporations and government.