Nation Branding in the Era of Commercial Nationalism
This article applies critical approaches to branding and marketing in the neo-liberal era to a case study of a recent trend in media studies, international relations and tourism: nation branding. We argue that the critique of brand “co-creation” – a reliance upon consumers to build and disseminate brand identity – helps illuminate the ways in which nation branding serves as a technique of neo-liberal governance in the era of global capitalism. The article first considers the recent development of nation branding as a global phenomenon and then explores the details of one such campaign in post-socialist Slovenia. The case study illustrates the ways in which nation branding seeks to mobilize the populace to “live” the national brand, to promulgate it nationally and internationally in the name of taking responsibility for the nation’s economic development, and by extension of maximizing individual prosperity. The article concludes with a consideration of the way in which nation branding functions as a revamped form of nationalism in an era characterized by what we call the rise of commercial nationalism.