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Eureka: Public relations tips to promote your country
by Jay Gutman
2017-11-07 08:23:45
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Several countries are trying to promote their image abroad. When promoting your image abroad you need a mixture of three different narratives to get people to hopefully invest, trade or interact with your country.

pub01_400When interacting with other countries, you need a little bit of direct diplomacy and a little bit of indirect diplomacy. Direct diplomacy is often called “track 1” diplomacy and indirect diplomacy is often referred to as “track 2” diplomacy.

In direct diplomacy, you need to make sure that agreements are made in terms of military and security, the environment, politics, the economy and finally society, in that order. Let me break these down for you.

Before you sign anything with another country, you need to negotiate basic military and security deals. The following questions need to be dealt with:

1)      If our country goes to war, who would you side with? Would you stay neutral? Or would you join a coalition against us? Under what conditions would you join a coalition against us?

2)      Do we need to cooperate in security and defense drills?

3)      If a citizen or citizens of your country attack citizens from my country anywhere in the world, what would be the procedure? Do you support such acts? Would you cooperate in sharing information to prevent such acts?

4)      If a citizen of my country is attacked in your country, what would be the procedures?

5)      If a citizen of your country committs a crime in my country, what would be the procedures?

6)      What attitude should be adopted towards organized crime, transnational crime and terrorism?

Once you have that deal made clear, you can move to the next step which is environmental cooperation. Environmental cooperation includes if you share borders or a region with the country, but also includes environmental standards of different actors present in your country. The following questions should be dealt with:

1)      What environmental factors should be taken into account at our borders? That includes biodiversity, pollution and gas emissions, noise and other factors.

2)      In case of an environmental catastrophe on the border or of a shared environmental catastrophe, what are the measures to be taken? What exercises can we promote to prevent and react during such catastrophes?

3)      If a company from your country comes to my country, what environmental standards should it be expecting? Do such environmental standards demand adjustments to the production line?

Once you've discussed the environment, you can move to discussing political matters with the country you are signing a deal with. Political matters include bilateral matters and multilateral matters. The following questions should be addressed during the meeting:

1)      In different conflict scenarios around the world, what attitude do we adopt? Is there a conflict zone around the world where you might have strong vested interests?

2)      In what political scenarios would you take measures to distance yourself or move closer to a foreign ally? Is it merely in form of government or is the content of platforms what necessitates measures?

3)      What political scenarios would make our agreements null or void? Are there any political parties within our government or any organizations within our state that you find of danger to the interests of your state?

4)      How frequently should we communicate on different political matters? Who should we contact in case our interests with your country are in danger or in case we have matters to discuss?

Political questions are difficult to deal with but must be dealt with. Now you have the economy and society, which demands a long list of questions I could provide some other day.

Then you have indirect diplomacy. In direct diplomacy, you may want to sign deals with as many countries as possible. Indirect diplomacy is all the litterature, rumors and creations surrounding your country. Basically the public relations of your country. You want to have indirect diplomacy at three levels: first at the emotional level, second at the factual level, third at the narrative or story telling level. Let me break these down for you.

At the emotional level, you want to have music, cinema, soap-operas and sit-coms, sports, paintings, museums and other forms of artistic creations that appeal directly to people's emotions. You want those to have a universal appeal, that is to appeal both to your fellow citizens as well as to the world at large. Stories of love, of justice, of triumph, of joy, of resilience etc. For example, Algeria, a country looking to diversify exports, could use the 1982 world cup in some sort of melodramatic movie, which has not been done so far.

Then you have litterature surrounding the facts. Documentaries, news programs and channels, factbooks, newspapers, radio chanels, television chanels that have programs both surrounding emotions and surrounding facts. This is because while some tend to be emotional, others prefer facts and dislike anything too emotional.

Finally, you need to come up with a good narrative on your country. Litterature, classic and modern, biographies, non-fiction books about your country, both historical and modern, litterature surrounding the human aspects of your country as well as the social and scientific aspects of your country. You need to encourage people to write such books and to write them well, because while few people read them, they tend to be the ones taking investments decisions. Many will try to get as much raw information about your country as they can before investing, signing trade deals or signing any deal.

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