Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Nancy Buchan

First Reader

Dr. Michael Murphree

Second Reader

Dr. Michael Murphree


This thesis seeks to address the concept of nation branding and how states can use marketing strategies for international relations gains. Using a literature review of relevant concepts and trends in international relations, including soft power, public diplomacy, and cultural diffusion, the connection between marketing strategies and foreign policy trends become clear. An analysis of nation branding, its origins, applications, and challenges, provides insight into an up-and-coming area of international relations. Specific country case studies were chosen to examine the real-world results of nation branding including the shortcomings and future opportunities. The case of Japan shows how a country can leverage their culture to build a strong nation brand and the economic benefits of ‘pop culture diplomacy.’ Russia was chosen as an example of a country that has struggled to overcome a negative nation brand and how the state, prior to recent events, had attempted to rebrand. Russia can also demonstrate how quickly any progress in a nation’s reputation abroad can be lost. Lastly, the case of China is used to provide an example of a country that has been very upfront in communicating plans for building soft power and public diplomacy. The Chinese government’s commitment to economic development with the Belt and Road Initiative and academic partnerships through Confucius Institutes provide concrete examples of how nation branding policies can be tailored to fit a state’s specific goals.

First Page


Last Page



© 2022, Brooke Boan