Simon Anholt is a consultant who advises countries and cities about how to improve their "brand." He coined the phrase "nation branding" in a 1998 academic article. But, in a November 2007 interview, Anholt said he regretted coining the phrase, because it leads people (and governments) to believe that they can change perceptions with marketing campaigns. 
"I don’t tell countries how to do marketing," said Anholt. "I advise them on what sorts of policies they need to undertake in order to earn the reputation they feel they deserve. I'm probably alone in doing it that way. There's certainly no shortage of countries that are interested in this kind of stuff, but there is a shortage of countries that are prepared to take the pain and the effort necessary to earn themselves a better image."
He added, "My latest book is called Competitive Identity. That’s my attempt to replace the phrase nation branding—it’s a deliberately boring phrase to try to stop people getting so excited about it."
What others say
According to the World Economic Forum:
- Simon Anholt. Adviser on Public Diplomacy, UK; has advised governments of Netherlands, Jamaica, Tanzania, Sweden, Botswana, Germany, Bhutan, Ecuador, New Zealand, Switzerland. Founding Editor, Place Branding, a quarterly journal; produces Anholt Nation Brands Index and City Brands Index. Author of many books including: Brand New Justice; Brand America. Expertise: managing national identity and reputation.
According to the Beyond-Branding web site:
- Simon Anholt advises around fifteen governments on public diplomacy and nation branding, often in partnership with the United Nations. The Economist describes him as "one of the world's leading consultants to countries that wish to build global brands."
He is founding editor of the quarterly journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, and the author of "Brand New Justice", "Brand America" and "Competitive Identity". He also produces two major global surveys, the Anholt Nation Brands Index and City Brands Index.
- Branding experts like Simon Anholt, help "countries develop and communicate strong brand identities [which] could help speed up development by attracting foreign investors and tourists. That, in turn, could increase political influence and help a country's corporations grow."
The Economist describes him as:
- "… one of the world's leading consultants to governments who wish to build global brands'. He is editor of the Journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy and a regular contributor to many academic and marketing publications. His best-seller on global advertising, Another One Bites the Grass, was published in the USA by John Wiley in 2000, and his latest book, Brand New Justice: The Upside to Global Branding, on how branding can build the economies of emerging markets, was published by Butterworth-Heinemann in 2003."
Wikipedia describes him as:
- Simon Anholt is usually given as the inventor or populariser of the concept of "Nation Branding".Anholt used the phrase in an article in the Journal of Brand Management entitled "Nation Brands of the 21st Century" (Henry Stewart Publications, Vol 5 No 6, July 1998) which is considered the first on this topic. He then guest-edited a Special Issue on Nation Branding in the same journal (Vol 9 Nos 4-5, April 2002), and launched a new quarterly journal, "Place Branding" in 2004, which he currently edits (originally published by Henry Stewart and now by Palgrave Macmillan). Anholt launched and currently edits the "Anholt Nation Brands Index," "Anholt State Brands Index" and "Anholt City Brands Index", three surveys based on data provided by Global Market Insite, Inc, of Seattle, WA, which provide a ranking by brand value of a number of cities and countries, based on his Nation Branding Hexagon, a theoretical model which explains how places are branded and their brands managed. He is the British Government's advisor on Public Diplomacy and advises a number of other governments on their branding strategies, several of them developing countries in collaboration with the United Nations.
Government clients (alpha order)
- Mongolia (possible)
- New Zealand
- Interview by Lee Hudson Teslik, "Anholt: Countries Must Earn Better Images through Smart Policy," Council on Foreign Relations, November 6, 2007.
- Jim Lobe, US Businesses Overseas Threatened by Rising Anti-Americanism, CommonDreams, December 29, 2004. Quotes Anholt re: backlash against US companies due to US foreign policy.