Corporationalism: subjective creation of national identities and nation-brands


In today’s globalisation, countries compete with each other in the same manner as the multinational corporations do. Recently, the term ‘nation-brand’ has appeared, together with a nation-brand index that tracks how a particular country’s reputation responds to activities, promotions and events at home and around the world.1 Countries, like corporations and products have brand values and reputations. These ‘branding’ factors are analogous to identity formulation on a national and personal level. For example visual motifs and icons have a dramatic impact on how successful that country is in attracting tourists, foreign investment, capital, talent, cultural relations and political allies. Such manifestations of identity are vital to the marketing of products and services abroad. In order for a country to develop itself as a competitive nation-brand, it needs to have a strong national identity. The paper will argue that in a same manner as the corporate identity, the national identity serves as a foundation on which the ‘brand image’ is built. The brand’s image is a representation of the brand’s culture (in this case the nation’s culture); therefore, how the image is formed and what kind of form it takes should be of concern to the government, the industry and the local communities. For that reason, strong interdisciplinary partnerships need to be established, as only then the communication of the country’s image can bring success in the above-mentioned areas of interest.2

A historiographic and interpretative methodology will be used to present the analogous case of corporate and national identity formulation. The current political situation in Macedonia will be used to exemplify the argument. This paper will address the subtheme ‘‘Identities/Subjectivities’ for the conference and will engage with activities in the boundaries of corporational-ism and nationalism.

1 See: Anholt Nation Brand Index, www.nationbrandindex.com (Accessed on July 20, 2007) 2 Nicolas Papadopoulos, Louse A. Heslop, Franqoise Graby and George Avlonitis, “Does ‘country-of-origin’ matter? Some findings from a cross-cultural study of consumer views about foreign products”. Working Paper Series, no. 87-107, (Cambridge, MA: Marketing Science Institute, 1987)

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Gjoko Muratovski, a PhD scholar at the University of South Australia, is design and communication strategist with international professional and educational experience whose expertise lies in the areas of strategic brand management, contemporary propaganda and design management. Prior arriving to Australia, he studied design in several countries including Macedonia, Taiwan, Italy, Bulgaria, Austria, Norway and England. He also worked as a Creative Director for Toyota and as a design teacher at the Accademia Italiana. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis in the areas of brand communication and propaganda at the South Australian School of Art.