DECEMBER 20, 2015
The time is ripe for governments to start monitoring their digital reputation just as they monitor it in the real world.
Since ancient times, places have always sought to define identities for themselves. From hosting sporting events or minting coins, to producing famed thinkers or becoming notorious in battle, these achievements helped places to burnish their reputations. Powered only by word of mouth, place identity spread slowly and gradually. Developed over the long-term, identity became a deeply entrenched facet of a place’s sense of self, and shaped how others viewed it.
In today’s world, the practice of place branding has attracted controversy ever since its modern beginnings as a discipline. Clarifying exactly what place branding is, and what it isn’t, remains a key challenge for its practitioners.
When place branding first entered the public sphere in the 1990s, many PR and advertising agencies believed they could treat countries and cities as “brand-able” products. For a while, this was the accepted practice. It made large agencies plenty of money.
But soon the clients—countries and cities—began to question why their reputations hadn’t really changed, despite the large amounts of money spent on “nation branding” campaigns.