Monday, March 19, 2012

Soft power: Is your country using it?

Intangible resources are fundamental assets for organizations to achieve great performance levels. They are also key in stakeholder relations management. The imagery that a brand inspires, the reputation of a company, the superior knowledge that an organization has in order to be an innovation leader, the trust we put in a brand, be it a retailer’s or an industrial one. 
In competing with each others, successful organizations use a great deal of “soft” tools. The same could be said if we consider countries and their international relations and it was described as “soft power ” some twenty years ago by Joseph Nye. It is the ability to obtaining your goals without using “hard” tools such as money or the military. 
The first attempt to measure soft power was done by Monocle magazine and the Institute for Government, and their survey is now at the second edition. The IfG-Monocle Soft Power Index considers items related to society, media, culture, environment, sport, the academic system, research and development, technologies, reputation, nation brand and international development and cooperation. Here you can have a look at the complete report.
Below, I made a comparison between the first ten nations in terms of GDP, soft power and Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index. The different rankings offer an interesting view on countries and maybe a starting point to think about the interrelations between economy, domestic policies, foreign affairs.
If you are interested in the role of public relations in public diplomacy, chapter 39 of Sriramesh and Verčič’s “The Global Public Relations Handboook” is a must-read.

By Marcello Coppa
Managing partner, Anteprima LAB, Italy
Global Affiliate, The Center for Global Public Relations

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