Clay Risen´s article looks at country branding. It's especially difficult for democracies to do, because a change of government and its policies by definition lead to an inconsistency of message which is anathema to brand-building. As a result, "country branding", inasmusch as it claims to do anything beyond burnishing a country's timeless values, or selling a particular product or set of services, is a misnomer. Too many of the impulses which shape a country's brand values are beyond the control of the country's (hypothetical) brand manager. If it's about selling a specific country's specific policy or strategic direction, it really boils down to PR or spin, which are already much in use. Or, come to that, diplomacy, which may have an old-fashioned ring to it but was always about the distinctly modern pursuit of being "sent abroad to lie for one's country".
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