Validity Model Evaluation Essay

Tripartite model linking resources, nation branding performance, and nation branding management are proposed in this study.

Resources: In this argument, resources will refer to the supply of materials, funding and other requirements to realize the goal set (improving brand performance). Resources are part of the investment made to improve performance. According to Virlics (2013), an investment is any expenditure made now to make gains in the future. Therefore, an outstanding feature underlying any investment is the hope of making gains in the future.

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Nation Branding Management: Nation branding is concerned about improving the reputation of a country in the international platform. Tourism relies upon a country’s image and how it is perceived in the international community. For instance, war-torn countries are less likely to attract tourists as opposed to countries which present their national image as peaceful and harmonious. Some countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom often issue a travel advisory to their citizens when they feel that it is risky to visit some of the war-torn countries. Therefore, nation brand management refers to the activities involved when a country tries to improve its national image and brand. It may involve hiring public relations firms to work on the presentation.

Nation Branding Performance: This is the result of the investment made in the two definitions above. Nation brand management relies upon the brand management theory to quantify the current strength of a national brand and working towards improving it. The process is directly linked with resources (defined above) since it needs financing. It is a form of investment that should have quantifiable results.

Main Theory
The nation brand hexagon brings together six elements namely tourism, exports, governance, investment and immigration, culture and heritage and people. All these elements determine the country’s image as presented to other countries. According to Zugic & Konatar (2017) nation branding is not the ‘holy grail’ for economic development but can provide a distinct advantage when it is aligned with well-defined economic strategy and supported by public policy. The model developed in this study summarizes this position by showing how the tripartite model can be used to link up the involved elements. Countries try to create unique images in the international platform. For instance, countries like the United States and Chine have branded themselves through export in technology. South Korea is identified with Samsung, the United States is identified with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Apple, Germany is identified with the development of car models which have overcome the test of time. This shows that exports can be used to brand a country and associate it with certain types of services. This consequently promotes the income from these activities.

Income from tourism constitutes a large fraction of total “export” receipts in many countries. It is a major export that countries must focus on. As in any scholarly study, the research gap and the objectives determine the pathway followed to realize these objectives. In this case, the objective set is improved nation branding performance. Nation branding performance has been highlighted as a major driver in tourism and other activities which rely on the national image in the international platform. The applicability of the tripartite model proposed in this case is anchored on the argument that resources (investment, export, and tourism) should be used to promote nation branding management and nation branding performance. Tourism is a major source of income in many countries. It relies on the country’s brand and international image. Exports provide an important source of revenue to countries. In this case, tourism activities are considered to be among the products/services that a country export. Nation branding management refers to the activities to promote the country’s brand while branding performance is the result of the investment put in the process.

Embedded Theory
International trade promotes international tourism. According to Chaisumpunsakul & Pholphirul (2018) apart from international tourism, international trade (imports and exports) significantly contributes to the economic growth of a nation. Therefore, while analyzing nation brand performance in Kuwait, the argument shall draw the role of resources such as investment, export, and tourism. Nation brand relies upon all these elements as discussed in the section above. Kuwait’s Exports and their Influence on
Nation Branding Performance.

Kuwait’s economic growth is what can be defined as export-driven growth. According to the World Top Export (2018), the top five export products in 2017 were mineral fuels (which include oil) which accounted for 95% of total exports that year. Mineral fuel exports had a value of US$ 49.6 billion. The secondly ranked export regarding value was organic chemicals which accounted for 2.2% of the total export value at US$ 1.2 billion. Vehicle exports, plastics, and fertilizers took position three, four and five respectively with a value of $ 854 million, $661.3 million and $ 239.9 million respectively.
Kuwait is OPEC’s third largest oil producer. The country still has huge oil deposits which have not been exploited. The country’s national brand is mainly defined by its oil-producing ability. The oil industry has risen from the ashes of war in the 19th century to ensure that the country enjoys continuous and consistent economic growth just like other countries in the Middle East like UAE and KSA. This information relates to the discussion in this paper by explaining the international image that people have when Kuwait is mentioned. The country has packaged its national brand as an oil exporting country.

Kuwait has consistently conducted brand performance monitoring to identify the country’s competitive strengths, advantages, and challenges that different stakeholders should have in their minds when engaging with issues that impact the Nation Brand. As a major exporting country, the country has positioned itself as a major decision maker on issues related to petroleum. The tripartite model applies in this case in that the exports promote the country’s economic positioning which in turn provide funding for its brand performance management. The results are reported when the country’s brand continues performing well. Brand performance determines how the country increases its exports and creates new ties to promote international trade.

According to Kaneva (2011) nation branding, should not be viewed as a mere synonym for propaganda, nor are its suggested applications limited to influencing public opinion through advertising or public relations. It should be viewed as a complex process which is mainly shaped by the actions such as export which define a country in the international platform. It is also majorly shaped by a country’s foreign policy and its engagements and involvements in international matters. Kuwait’s government has worked hard to shape the country’s image as part of the branding process. According to Zeineddine (2017) exports are important in brand management by countries.

In the study focusing on Middle East countries, Zeineddine (2017) argued that exports are used in the reflection of the products and services in the minds of the consumers hence influencing the willingness to buy the product. A bad presentation may also play an important role in avoiding the products provided by a given country. Therefore, to enhance nation brand performance and promote its exports, Kuwait has revised its foreign policy over the years. It is currently viewed as a peaceful country with a huge potential for growth. This potential attracts investors in the country to further promote the image of the country to the international community.

Similar to branding products, nation brand management is the planning and analysis that ensures a brand is perceived well in the target market. Kuwait government clearly understands its market. Apart from marketing its products such as petroleum products, it also markets the country as a major investment hub that international investors should explore. Brand management directly impacts on brand performance. The world already views Kuwait as a viable investment hub as well as a budding economy anchored on its huge exporting ability. The elements in Simon Anholt’s hexagonal model have been used effectively to achieve the intended image. Governance is the most important element among the six.

Good governance ensures that the policies formulated and implemented are geared toward success. It also determines the engagements a country has with other countries and their impact on the country’s growth. The model aligns with Odia & Isibor (2014) argument that today’s highly competitive marketplace, the country image has become a critical success factor and yet very difficult to build and sustain. Kuwait being no exemption, it has laid strategic measures (nation brand management), provided required resources to achieve its goals in national brand performance.

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Chaisumpunsakul, W. & Pholphirul, P. (2018). Does International Trade Promote International Tourism Demand? Evidence from Thailand’s Trading Partners. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, 39, 393-400.
Odia, E. O. & Isibor, O. F. (2014). Strategic Approach to Nation Branding: A Case Study of the Nigeria Brand. International Journal of Business and Management, 9(3), 204-216.
Virlics, A. (2013). Investment Decision making and Risk. Procedia Economics and Finance, 6, 169-177.
Zeineddine, C. (2017). Employing Nation Branding in the Middle East: the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Management & Marketing Challenges for the Knowledge Society, 12(2), 208- 221.
Zugic, J. & Konatar, A. (2017). Comparative Analysis of the Value of Nation Brands. Review Article. file:///C:/Users/user/AppData/Local/Temp/review_article_01.pdf