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Branding:A public Diplomacy tool.

by on April 30, 2012


Prime Minister brands Uganda Visible

The second half of the 20th century has witnessed countries evolve as a result of   the advancement in technology. However this is not to suggest that technology determines the environment, but it does change the nature of social relationships.At the close of the twentieth century International Television had become the primary means of conveying  a national presence, some countries have had to come up with schemes  to brand them selves,

 Uganda in 2004 at a cost of $2.2 billion shillings hired CNN for six months to promote the country as a top tourist destination in a scheme “Uganda a gift of nature”  the objective of the project was to Counter the negative international media coverage that had been experienced lately,Promote Uganda as a 21st century tourist destination, and Give exposure to investment opportunities in the country in a more robust manner and to a wider audience 

The CNN campaign worked as a pilot scheme and the government realised that Branding was the way to go ,and over the past 12 years the country has undertaken various ventures to brand its image and maintain that image.A year later in 2005 the Ugandan government engaged international lobbyist former British Minister for overseas Development Ms Linda Charker and former US secretary for African affairs during Bill Clinton government toms Rosa Whitaker ,the following year (2006) government hired again a British public relations firm Hill&Knowtton  at shs 1.6 billion to improve the countries image in the international  media.

 This year an Irish PR Company Glenevin Operational Risk and security Consultancy was hired through the office of prime minister at Shs 2.3 billion to clean up the government image dented by police’s brutal crack down on peaceful demonstrations.

This trend of branding strikes a resemblance with other branding ventures taken by Kuwait through its two war machine lobby groups; the coalition for America at risk andFreedom task force which hired PR law and lobby firms in its campaign to mobolise United States opinion and force against Hussein Kuwait managed to hire Rendon Group,Neill&Co and Hill&Knowtton,these companies worked hard  to booster its image after 1990-1991 Gulf war.  Saudi Arabia has as well engaged  Qorvis to improve its image   and the same company was hired by Bahrain after the 2011 uprising that led to cancellation of 2011 formular one worldevents.presently it is still engaged in a PR effort to improve the image of the Bahrain royal family .

With the incresing usage of internet governments have made drastic steps to shift from engaging the public through the television and print media now diplomats and government officials are using the ,Internet,Youtube ,Twiter and other first communicatioins channels to brand them selves. After the reliese of Kony Video which caused an uprole in the international media ,the Ugandan Prime Minister has appeared twice on You-tube  in a spell of two months to brand Uganda in a different way from the one depicted in the Josepy Kony’s film” Invisible children”.

 Usually the National presence in the international news media was done through the convergence of print, television and radio means but now with a billion people with access to the internet has added on the impact of promoting the country’s brand.



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One Comment
  1. mimi001 permalink

    It is interesting how the Kony video may have worked very similarly against Uganda’s nation branding efforts and the Mohammed cartoon in the case of Denmark and the Borat episode that still harms Kazakhstan. Especially since it is argued that actually attention is the scarce resource during the internet age and where videos like Kony 2012 receive much attention, it is questionable whether government responses to these episodes receive much attention. Just a few things that I thought of when reading your entry 🙂

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