Interview with Nation Brands Index representative

The BrandingKorea.org website, which is an independent publication that monitors and discusses the strategies, activities and challenges related to the promotion of the Korean destination, has published a worth-reading interview with Xiaoyan Zhao, Senior Vice President and Director of the Nation Brand Index study at GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media.

In the interview, Mr. Zhao discusses the Nation Brands Index and shares her thoughts on the overall performance of the Korea’s nation-brand. The interview is remarkable because some of Mr. Zhao’s comments bring an insider view of the Nation Brands Index. About the nature of the Nation Brands Index, he says,

Each year, approximately 20,000 adults ages 18 and up are interviewed in 20 core panel countries. GfK Roper as the research partner implements the research, processes and analyzes data, and brings our knowledge about global trends and nations’ political, economic, and cultural assets and performances, into the development of reports for our clients. Simon adds consultative insights in the report for each client, in addition to his advising work for these and other clients.

About the impact of the Nation Brands Index on countries’ policies in terms of international reputation and image:

A communication’s agency (a PR firm, for example), often works with our end client, utilizing our monitoring and analytical insights from NBI, to design communication campaigns intended to increase knowledge and change perception. More importantly, the difference between a PR firm’s work and our work is that we point out the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s nation brand, recommending real behavioral change, to improve their performance, not just focusing on communication.

About the Nation Brands Index as compared with the Country Brand Index and the Nation Brand Dual Octagon (NBDO) from the Samsung Economic Research Institute (which the Korean Presidential Council on Nation Branding uses for ranking Korea’s nation brand strength, something that sparked some controversy when it was announced back in 2009):

The Nation Brands Index is a comprehensive measurement system of global opinion on a nation’s reputation including an important component that is tourism whereas FutureBrand focuses on travel and tourism. The Nation Brands Index measures long-term and deeply held personal beliefs about countries, the things that really affect people’s behavior towards those countries. Also, the Nation Brands Index has a much wider coverage of countries and represents the general population who are online, what we call the “connected citizens” of the world, whereas I understand FutureBrand interviews travelers and hospitality experts.

Interview by Clement Brossard and David Robert. You can read the full interview here.