Employing nation branding in the Middle East - United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar

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Abstract

Branding represents the instrument through which an entity communicates and identifies itself in the consumer’s perception. National branding is a similar mean employed at country level. Nation branding is crucial in order to attract investment, boost exports and attract tourists and talented workforce. Nation branding stands between public diplomacy and economic benefits. An adequate policy of Nation Branding-based on a positive, credible and economically reliable image- can be able to extend the range of potential customers and of potential investors. With the aim of better understanding the new challenges, opportunities and threats existent in a globalized economy, the paper evaluates nation branding in the context of UAE and Qatar. The paper examines nation-branding as a driver for boosting the economy, taking into account that clichés and stereotypes (especially in the context of the Middle East) can influence our perception towards one country or another. The analysis explores the strategy adopted in order that Dubai becomes the flagship-brand of the UAE. Abu Dhabi complements this strategy, driving UAE to the position of the most valuable brand in the Middle East. The paper further enquires the case of Qatar and compares it with the branding process of the UAE. Qatar has established various branding resources such as the Al Jazeera news network, international sport events and several cultural and educational exchange programs with international profile. The UAE strives to become an influencer in the global economy, overriding its dependence on hydrocarbon reserves. Qatar is richer in hydrocarbon reserves than the UAE; nevertheless, it shares the interest of detaching itself from the rentier economy. The study explores the fact that from 2014-onwards the global oil economy was hit hard, as the price of the oil barrel is at an historic low, thus it has become stringent for the Persian Gulf countries to diversify the revenue sources. As a result, their branding strategy has become even more salient. The processes employed for establishing nation-brands in the Gulf are noteworthy and constitute the focal point of the paper.

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CiteScore 2017: 0.45

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.169
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.436

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