. The Israeli Government is certainly right to be concerned as the international image of the country is in very poor shape indeed.
Consumers give thumbs down to
Tovah Lazaroff, THE
It could take Israel 30 years to change its brand image, after it placed last in a study of 36 countries, one of the leaders in the field of nation branding warned Saturday.
Simon Anholt spoke with The Jerusalem Post on the heels of a recent survey he released in which 25,000 consumers were asked to rank 36 countries on issues of tourism, exports, governance, investment, immigration, cultural heritage and people.
According to the study, known as the Nation Brands Index, which has been published four times a year since 2005, "
It was included in the third quarter survey of 2006 because there is a guest slot in each survey.
The Foreign Ministry's Director of Public Affairs Amir Gissin said the survey underscored for him the importance of the new nation-branding drive Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni launched this fall.
"We see Anholt's research as an opportunity to increase the awareness of decision makers in
As part of that drive, the ministry is looking for ways to focus international public attention away from the country's conflicts with the Palestinians and Hizbullah in favor of more positive images such as the country's technical innovations as well as musical, cultural and historical attractions.
But Anholt warned on Saturday that the Foreign Ministry would have to be very patient before it benefits from its labors.
While his 30-year prediction is not set in stone, Anholt said, he warned that changing people's attitudes and prejudice was so difficult and time-consuming that it often took decades. It took
"There are no quick fixes to this," said Anholt, who added that he hoped the Israelis "are very patient."
It was for this reason that he did not believe his study was significantly impacted by the fact that it was conducted during the war with Hizbullah in
Still, he said, just to be certain he planned to include
Anholt said that his study differed from that of other surveys, in that this was not a politically-
Most people did not bother to form a balanced opinion about other countries, he said, preferring to find a simple shorthand for every country. They weaved simple and na ve narratives around the facts that were most interesting to them, he added.
The most persuasive and memorable facts, unfortunately for Israel, were about the conflict, so the image of Israel as a bully was more likely to stick in people's minds rather than the idea of Israel as an expert in solar energy, Anholt said. These images are "so negative and powerful that they contaminated everything else in the index," Anholt said.
"It is harder for Israeli citizens to work abroad or to get students or other talented people to come to
"Having a weak or negative brand image is incredibly important to every country," he said.
To the question of how willing people would be to live and work in the country,
Overall, he said, a negative brand image made it difficult for
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.
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