A study by the renowned Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) found that a positive image can help to attract foreign direct investment. “Even after taking into account the economic and fundamental standard factors that are being considered in an investment decision, immaterial factors like stereotypes and consumer perception clearly have an impact”, says Margarita Kalamova, one of the authors of the study.
Thus, critics who often dismiss nation branding campaigns like “Cool Britannia” or “Germany – Land of Ideas” miss the point. However, it needs much more than an advertising campaign or a PR campaign in order to attract foreign investors. While communication can help to provide information and tell a story of an attractive investment location, the facts must also be right. Even Simon Anholt, who allegedly invented the term “nation brand,” admits that “image comes from policy, not from communications.”
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