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Culture as soft power: Digital branding by Catalonia, the Basque Country and Scotland

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The purpose of this article is to emphasize autonomous and separatist regions in the nation branding and public diplomacy communication literature, and to highlight how promoting culture can convey soft power. In particular, the short article illuminates the practical aspects of branding: especially the visual element that has received limited attention in prior public diplomacy studies. Examples from government websites of Catalonia, the Basque Country and Scotland are used to illustrate the concepts. The examples counter concerns that nation branding homogenizes global cultures. In fact, emphases on cultures convey distinctive identities. The three regions’ soft power is also generated by communicating ideals such as innovativeness, collaboration, social justice and government transparency. As the Catalan crisis indicated, branding is vital to both international and domestic audiences to achieve public diplomacy goals.
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Keywords: branding; culture; diplomacy; government; soft power; visual communication

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: NC State University

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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