Nation Personality – The Germination

Academicians are inclined to apply the existing body of knowledge to different areas of social existence. The frameworks which took decades to metamorphose can be used to understand some related issues.

Marketing as a discipline and its concept too, can be extended to other areas like social marketing, political marketing, and nation marketing. According to research done by Nickels in 1974, 90 percent of the responding professors contended that the marketing concept can be extended to churches, schools, charities and other social causes.  Taking cognizance of this fact, researcher interest was to apply the concept of Brand Personality to the ‘Nation’ as an entity. David Luck (1969) however, has a contradictory point of view – ‘extending the concept of marketing will dilute its efficiency’. If we go by Luck’s point of view, we shall not be able to widen the application of concepts of marketing. The application of concepts in related areas will help us in testifying the efficacy of the concepts of the parent discipline.

This research study tries to explore the concept of brand personality attributed to a nation as the object of interest. It explores whether a nation can be personified like brands. Can the nation be viewed as a character in the eyes of recipients? Here, the personality of the nation has been explored from the reference of citizens of other countries. Research is focused on the idea of India as a brand and finding out India’s personality as a nation from the perspective of U.S. citizens. In other words, the study explores how a U.S. citizen perceives India, as if the country is a person. Reviewing different papers, the researcher discovered the absence of ‘Nation Personality’ as a concept. Anything which was nearest to this concept was Nation Branding and Destination personality. Two other concepts explored for the research were Brand Personality and the Concept of a Nation.

Review of research literature was also done to lay focus on the importance of the nation’s government in terms of running the nation. Setting the right type of public policies can create and maintain a favourable Nation Personality of the country. It’s solely the government which can decide the course of public policies. These public policies, in turn, lend some favourable adjectives like independent, tolerant, transparent to the Nation’s Personality. Preliminary review of literature in subsequent paragraphs lays emphasis on the need of public policy to control and develop the major adjectives.

Subsequent research can delve specifically on the role of public policies in doing the same.

Brand Personality

Nation Personality can be thought of as a logical extension to the concept of Brand Personality. Hence, to understand the concept of Nation Personality, it’s imperative to first understand the concept of Brand Personality. With the increase in competition, companies started differentiating their products by introducing some new features.

Strategists found it to be an expensive proposition to continuously offer products which were distinctive in their offerings. Henry Ford started with the Model T, which he continued for 22 years; however, he had to finally bow to the wishes of consumers, who then had started to be influenced by Alfred Sloan, his General Motors counterpart. Alfred Sloan, inspired by the designs and varieties in textile industries, introduced cosmetic changes to cars.  He offered Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick to satisfy customers who were conditioned to seek a greater variety (My years with General Motors, 1990). But there was a limit to the competitive advantage which a company could have by adding newer and newer features; this was not a sustainable strategy because it added to the cost of production which was difficult to recover.

In the absence of tangible benefits, what had to be thought of was a set of psychological differentiations.

These differentiations were from the area of marketing communication. It was first discovered by Edward Bernays while going through a then unpublished book – ‘A general introduction to psychoanalysis’ written by his uncle Sigmund Freud. Having been impressed by Freud’s idea that human emotions affect people’s actions at the deep subconscious level, he used guilt, affection, hate and admiration to sell products. Embedding emotions in the brand affects consumer buying and the consumption process (Hirshman and Holbrook 1982).

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