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Power of association can build 'soft power' expert

By Urso Chappell | China Daily | Updated: 2010-03-15 07:45

San Francisco - International expositions, even in their earliest days, were about marketing - from Corliss's steam engine in Philadelphia in 1876 to General Motors' automobiles in New York (1939) to Hitachi's robots at Aichi 2005. As marketing strategies have become more refined over the years, they've also found new applications.

Diplomacy has also been an historical element of World Expos. Nations have long used diplomatic means to develop and maintain reputations, even to the general public. These reputations can affect such things as exports, foreign investment, tourism and even political relationships.

One of the ways marketing methods are applied in contemporary times is through nation branding. Much of what we'll see when the Shanghai Expo opens is a product of nation-branding efforts. As a consumer, as a visual branding specialist and as an Expo watcher, I've seen nation branding at World Expos evolve in the past few decades to become an important tool for nations to present themselves on the world stage.

Power of association can build 'soft power' expert

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