The need for a good image is important for a country in the same way as it is for a company: governments have problems of reputation, image and credibility, as they compete for investments and sales with different tools, such as tourism or trade. Countries are following the example of corporations, by putting brand management in the centre of their source for the competitive advantage.
European Union is, in this context, a very interesting case: in search for a common identity, it has countries trying to harmonise their national need for image and the acceptance to be members of a supra-national entity. The support for the enlargement of EU to the New Member States, Bulgaria and Romania was controversial at the level of the public opinion. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the potential of Romania’s image used as a starting point to build its own country brand, as a source for competitive advantage. We had two hypothesises in our approach. First, public opinion is an important indicator for the dimensions of the image. Public opinion is to be considered from its direct study, but also from the media, as it is influenced by the effects of agenda setting. Secondly, Romania needs to create its image mostly in the other European States, as there is the most of its trade exchanges.
In the autumn of 2006, Romania had more chances to be presented in the important European media, as it was preparing for entering in EU and it was the host of the Francophone Summit. In an empirical pilot study, we monitored Romania’s image resulted in this period, in some of the European most influential journals – from Great Britain, Spain, France and Germany. This study was completed with the results of other studies (such as the Eurobarometers) in order to find the overall image Romania had in Europe during the integration period. The results are a good argument to support the idea that governments can build a competitive advantage by finding the right products or services to differentiate and by orienting the media’s agenda to subjects of interest. It is the case for the New European states, which encounter difficulties to disseminate their own desirable messages.
|Keywords:||Image, Country Branding, Public Opinion, European Union, New Member States, Agenda Setting|
Professor PhD, Faculty of International Relations, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
Associate Professor PhD, Faculty of Economic Relations, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
Lecturer PhD Candidate, Faculty of Communication and Public Relations, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest, Romania
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