Branding Canada

Branding Canada: Projecting Canada's Soft Power through Public Diplomacy

Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 464
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  • Book Info
    Branding Canada
    Book Description:

    Evan Potter analyses how the federal government has used the instruments of public diplomacy - cultural programs, international education, international broadcasting, trade, and investment promotion - to exercise Canada's soft power internationally. He argues that protecting and nurturing a distinct national identity are essential to Canada's sovereignty and prosperity, and suggests ways to achieve this through the strategic exercise of public diplomacy, at home and abroad. In offering the first comprehensive overview of the origins, development, and implementation of the country's public diplomacy, Branding Canada offers policy advice on Canada's approach and advances the thinking on public diplomacy in general.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7582-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 3-28)

    Over the last three decades, the globalization and the communications revolutions have created the most striking transformation of society since the Industrial Revolution. Thisinformationalrevolution, to borrow from Manuel Castells, has meant that knowledge and learning (including intercultural communication) are the keys not only to technological progress and economic prosperity but also to social cohesion and global security.¹ Values and ideas are common currency, and the free movement of people – especially the young – is both necessary and inexorable.² These transformational trends have made every country more aware of its image, identity, and reputation. Whether a country needs to build...

    • (pp. 31-74)

      This chapter seeks to examine public diplomacy as an essentially contested concept. While the intent is not to theorize public diplomacy, there is merit in noting the profound disciplinary silos that exist – ranging from international relations to communications – when analyzing how countries manage their international images and attempt to persuade foreign audiences. Is it propaganda? Is it branding? Is it public relations? Is it a communication process that incorporates different forms of persuasion, using different techniques depending on the communications objectives that are being sought? The confusion is not confined to academe, however. There is also frequent misunderstanding among practitioners...

    • (pp. 75-94)

      The modern context in which discourse on public diplomacy takes place is characterized by differences of opinion – sometimes subtle, sometimes overt. The debate frequently focuses on three concerns: what is public diplomacy, why is it important, and what can Canada hope to accomplish in applying it appropriately? The long road to the present concepts and practices of public diplomacy, through a landscape of Canadian governments, private industry, and war, has been fraught with ambiguity and confusion, brilliant leaps and frustrating doldrums. Yet if one thing can be said with confidence, it is certainly that the development of public diplomacy in...

    • (pp. 97-127)

      Cultural relations represent the “linchpin of public diplomacy.”¹ Canadian visual arts, music, dance, film, and literature have influenced many within Canada and inspired countless others throughout the world. Together, they represent an intellectual dimension of Canadian public diplomacy. The unique character of Canada has been expressed in myriad ways, including through the art of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, and through native Canadian artists such as Norval Morrisseau; the music of Glenn Gould, Neil Young, Diana Krall, Leonard Cohen, Oscar Peterson, and Shania Twain; the choreography and skill of Cirque du Soleil and the National...

    • (pp. 128-151)

      If it is assumed that one of the most effective forms of building long-term intercultural understanding is through personal persuasion, then the role and impact of international education should not be underestimated or overlooked as an instrument of public diplomacy. International education enhances Canada’s international presence by encouraging student mobility, fostering international cooperation in higher education and research, providing Canadians with international experience, creating forums for the exchange of ideas, and contributing to international development. The domestic impact of hosting foreign students is substantial in terms of both the economic benefits to the Canadian economy and the culturally enriching effect...

    • (pp. 152-172)

      Before the attacks of 11 September 2001 , the future of international civilian broadcasting was given relatively sparse attention. There are few comparative studies available, even though international broadcasters encompass a variety of mandates and styles.¹ The renewal of interest in public diplomacy because of the need by the West to win “hearts and minds” across the Muslim world precipitated the greatest expansion of interest and investment in civilian international broadcasting across the Anglo-American world – but surprisingly not in Canada – in a generation or more. It became clear that the debate on the “clash of civilizations” had fixed the attention...

    • (pp. 173-194)

      Traditionally, the promotion of a country as a location for international business opportunities and as a tourist destination has not been associated with the concept and process of public diplomacy. Yet in many countries, including Canada, both activities are supported by national and subnational governments, and targeted advocacy campaigns and broader, often expensive public communication campaigns are used to raise awareness and persuade foreign audiences (whether tourists or business people) to choose one country over another.

      Perhaps the best way to distinguish international business and tourism promotion from the cultural and educational diplomacy discussed in earlier chapters is to recognize...

    • (pp. 197-224)

      Public diplomacy is not a substitute for well-thought-out policy. International policy poorly planned or implemented cannot, in most cases, be saved by communications or public relations. A policy’s flaws may in fact become magnified as the government seeks to win over its audience. In diplomacy, where the stakes – war, peace, and economic prospects – are arguably higher than in other domains of government activity, exaggerated expectations by leaders about their ability to sell a policy may cause them to harm national interests. It could be said that on the continuum of persuasive communications, a shift from public diplomacy to propaganda occurs...

    • (pp. 225-253)

      Why choose New York? New York is special for a number of reasons and puts into stark relief both the challenges and the opportunities for Canada’s public diplomacy. It is possibly the toughest place in the world to make an impression; the lessons learned about branding in New York City can certainly be applied to Canada’s branding efforts around the world.

      New York isthecity in which nearly all major organizations try to extend their brand and raise their profile. As the epicentre for many critical decisions in the fields of finance, public policy, and culture, it has the...

    • (pp. 254-286)

      The examination of Canadian public diplomacy in this book has raised a fundamental question: what is so new about public diplomacy? It is not so much the instruments of public diplomacy that have changed as it is the environment in which they are deployed. Issues of global concern now require broad-based public consent at home and abroad. The processes pursued to achieve this consent are often as important as the final outcomes. If governments do not first prepare the publics of the states they wish to target, it will become that much more difficult to sway the governments of those...