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Korea Nation Brand: 2011 Survey Results

Korea Nation Brand: 2011 Survey Results

LEE Dong-Hun

May 22, 2012

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The global financial crisis has spurred the international community to seek a new paradigm for national development. During this process, the idea of national "soft power" has become increasingly prominent, as well as a growing interest in the concept of "nation brand." Nation brand assesses how a nation is perceived by people in other countries and constitutes the sum total of a nation's perceptions.

In 2009, Korea launched the "Presidential Council on Nation Branding" (PCNB) as a control tower to set strategies and coordinate branding activities across government departments. Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI), in collaboration with the PCNB, thus developed a new nation brand index model called SERI-PCNB NBDO (Nation Brand Dual Octagon). "Dual" consists of "substance" and "image," while "octagon" refers to eight categories ("economy/corporations," "science/tec

Started in 2009, the NBDO survey has been conducted annually since then, and its findings have been published on a yearly basis. According to results from the 2011 NBDO survey of 50 nations, the United States ranked first in substance, while Japan ranked first in image. Korea made considerable improvements in substance, moving up from 19th (97 points) in 2009 through 18th (99 points) in 2010 to 15th place (101 points) in 2011. In image, Korea ranked 20th (89 points) in 2009, 19th (93 points) in 2010 and 19th (97 points) in 2011. In the substance rankings by category, the nation was included in the top tier for three categories: "science/technology" (4th), "modern culture" (9th) and "celebrities" (8th). In the image rankings, it also joined the top 10 in "science/technology" (9th) for three consecutive years (9th in 2009 and 10th in 2010).

Looking at the three-year trends since the 2009 survey, Korea's nation brand has shown growth tendencies in both substance and image, along with its positioning as a strong country in terms of substance. Accordingly, intensive efforts should be focused on image improvement. In the short term, Korea needs to strengthen overseas publicity for "celebrities" and "modern culture" that have been undervalued abroad compared to their respective substance. In the mid- and long-term, consistent PR campaigns for "science/technology" and "economy/corporations" should be continued, as these two categories are firmly positioned as Korea's representative image. In addition, greater effort must be devoted to publicizing Korea's strong corporate performance and its prominent entrepreneurs both at home and abroad, as well as to the fostering of domestic IT experts (including developers and designers).

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