Nation brand image in political contexts-the case of Turkey's EU accession
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Negative public opinion on Turkey’s EU accession in many member-states might become a major obstacle during the next 10 years of negotiation despite supportive diplomatic strategies. In consumer research, images/attitudes are expected to provide deeper insights into preference formation and (consumption/voting) decisions than opinion statements. Application of marketing image research methodology should therefore facilitate new perspectives for political phenomena. Within this scenario, two evolving concepts meet: political marketing and nation branding. Both are closely investigated for this problem. The main theoretical approach consists of an emerging framework for a nation brand image in a political context. Central challenges are the definition of the brand image construct and testing the applicability of commercial brand theory for political brands. Practical application of this framework is the case of Turkey accessing the EU. In a contextualized approach the image content, explaining factors/antecedents and consequences/outcomes of Turkey’s image within the political framework are analyzed and measured. The conduct of the research consists of two parts: literature research reconciling different interdisciplinary backgrounds and a qualitative exploration with in-depth expert interviews from a sample of prototypical EU member-states. First results indicate a wide spectrum of different images across EU, depending mainly on knowledge conditions, contact points with Turkish people and general perspectives of EU development. Religion or history, often mentioned in public discourses, seem not to play a prominent role. Emerging public diplomacy approaches in Turkey will face the challenge to integrate most heterogeneous messages and stakeholders of Turkey’s nation brand.
Brand Image Theory