A State as a Brand – Managing National IdentityThis is the first book in this part of Europe that deals with the phenomenon of identity and image of the state, as well as their role in contemporary international political and economic relations
Božo Skoko: A State as a Brand – Managing National Identity, Matrix Croatica, Zagreb, 2009, 250 pages, hardcover
reviewers: Prof. Dr. Ivan Šiber, Prof. Dr. Radovan Vukadinović, Prof. Dr. Dejan Verčič, Prof. Dr. Zoran Tomić
editor: Jelena Hekman
This is the first book in this part of Europe that deals with the phenomenon of identity and image of the state, as well as their role in contemporary international political and economic relations, that is, how they originate, are changed and managed.
In a comprehensive and systematic analysis, supported by numerous studies and examples in practice from around the globe, the author demonstrates the ever greater power of national identity and image in the globalized society, connected with communications, and provides arguments for their correlation with the political and economic successes of the country and the achievement of national objectives.
In this manner the author defines and analyzes these somewhat complex concepts and provides an extensive overview of studies up to the present on the topic of the impact of a country's image on its political and economic position, as well as an analysis of the competitive advantages of the national identity on the global market.
Researching the increasing importance of the image of a country in achieving political, economic and other national interests, the author especially analyzes – through existing theories and research – the impact of image on achieving foreign policy objectives, strengthening export perspectives, as well as attracting foreign tourists and investors, as an extremely vital area for the progress of a country.
Namely, numerous scientists agree that the reputation of a country has a direct and measurable impact on nearly every aspect of relations with other countries and their inhabitants, and plays a vital role in its economic, social, political and cultural development. Frequently, it is said that image helps sell products on foreign markets, attracts tourists, attracts foreign investments and helps win jobs in other countries, attracts talented inhabitants, cultural and sporting events, helps gain respect in international relations and aids in imposing one's own values. In this book, Skoko clearly confirms this with numerous examples, emphasizing new possibilities and trends used in contemporary countries.
In this context, he also deals with the phenomenon of globalization as an incentive for increasing the importance of the national image, the concept of the soft power of states, the concept of country of origin, methods and means of communication for countries, as well as the phenomenon of branding countries.
Analyzing the role of public relations, marketing and public diplomacy in managing national identity and image, in a separate chapter, the author provides clear guidelines for developing the brands of contemporary nations, which grants this book a practical and useful value in additional to scientific pertinence.
Excerpts from the reviews:
This is a mature, independent, original and systematic analysis of an extremely important problem for our country, especially bearing in mind the current globalization process, the desired accession to international associations and the ever greater need to build positive country characteristics that are recognizable.
Readers will receive interesting and useful insights into the complexity of positioning some states and nations in contemporary conditions. There is no doubt that the contents of this book will be exceptionally useful in the educational process, as well as significant help to those who, unknowingly in their everyday work, form the image of our country.
Prof. Dr. Ivan Šiber
Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb
The work of colleague Skoko is one of the first comprehensive works dedicated to this important topic, not only in Croatia, but in the world as well. There are very few similar works, which, in the form of an independent book, deal exclusively with this issue. The work is original, while the style of writing is clear, which will certainly draw the attention of a wider professional audience, not only Croatian, but international as well – from economics and diplomacy to public relations. All the more given that the topic the book deals with will only increase in importance over time.
Prof. Dr. Dejan Verčič
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana
This topic, unfortunately, in our part of the world is still quite under-researched, even neglected, while the leading global powers have been using their image for decades already as "soft power", that is, a powerful peacetime weapon for achieving their own objectives. For this reason, this book is a huge contribution to Croatian science in this area. A special value is reflected in the author's objectivity and clarity in depicting all of those factors that have an impact on the national image and that, on its part, enables this component in particular to be considered an indicator of the position of an individual country in the structure of the international community.
Prof. Dr. Radovan Vukadinović
Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb
This book will certainly become an obligatory textbook to all of those who are trying to understand how states function in contemporary international relations, looking to become subjects on the global market, regardless of whether the matter in question is politics, the economy, science or sports. The future belongs to states, regions and cities that have charisma and know how to successfully communicate with the world. Managing national identity and image – as Simon Anholt pointed out – has become the primary skill of governments of the 21st century. Skoko, in this area, reveals the causes of this phenomenon and provides clear guidelines for finding one's way in these new circumstances.
Prof. Dr. Zoran Tomić
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Mostar