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Different stages of development

According to Spiral Dynamics every aspect of life flows through a hierarchy of developments (see Appendix A), ever increasing in complexity and brought on by changes in the socio-bio-psycho environment (Beck and Cowan, 1996). So how do different development stages of the state influence the nation? And what are the challenges each one faces?

To create a nation and a national identity the state has to go beyond the stage of being a “premodern zone” (Cooper, 2002, p.12). In the premodern zone the state has yet to emerge or has ceased to exist. The monopoly on the legitimate use of force – Weber’s criterion for a state – is non existent and/or is being actively undermined to ensure and maintain the strengthening of smaller groups be it ethical of criminal (Kaldor, 2002). In the spiral dynamic approach these zones would be described as either tribal (purple) and/or as the Hobbesian war all against all (red) (Beck and Cowan, 1996).

Only when this stage has been overcome, a shared identity can be truly established, as it will need strategic guidance from the highest order (Leonard, 1997) and active, voluntary buy-in by the citizens (Anholt, 2002/ Gilmore, 2002) – both these conditions are not fulfilled at this stage in the development, but are key in the development of a nation.

Once the state has become at least a “traditional ‘modern’ state…following Machiavellian principles and raison d’etat (one thinks of countries such as India, Pakistan and China)” (Cooper, 2002, p.12) or a “blue” state “protected by treaties and compacts, markers and armies” (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p.302), the creation of a nation becomes viable. As a consequence nation building and place branding in Europe started in the 19th century as both France and the British Empire were traditional modern states with an active interest in increasing its political and economical sphere of influence and both understanding that changing and enhancing perceptions are a key tool for this goal (Olins, 1999).

Internally the rise and fall of independence movements of nations such as Scotland or Catalonia is dependent on two factors: Economic performance and integration of the elites into the decision making process. If both are minimal the movement will increase in importance and weaken the feeling of belonging to the traditional nation state (Kowalski, 1994).

The political and economical success of traditional modern states leads to increased international interaction of both state and citizen, with rising educational and financial levels, increased inward investment and immigration. At this stage the national economy ceases to exist, national borders loose their relevance, national cultures merge with each other and national linguistic looses importance (Hobsbawm, 1992) – the traditional nation state is becoming obsolete. But let’s be clear: It is a gradual and often painful transition, which faces lots of opposition due to changing the status quo and subsequently increased uncertainties. The definition of the nation by language, ethnicity and even culture becomes increasingly difficult. The nation brand experiences the following effects: its external reputation is rising and it internal identity is being strained. The modern state is transforming into a postmodern state.

The “postmodern” (Cooper, 2002, p.12) state (orange/green) (Beck and Cowan, 1996) has the following characteristics:

  • The breaking down of the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs
  • Mutual interference in (traditional) domestic affairs and mutual surveillance
  • The rejection of force for resolving disputes and the consequent codification of self enforced rules of behaviour
  • The growing irrelevance of borders: this has come about both through the changing role of the state, but also through missiles, motor cars and satellites”
  • Security is based on transparency, mutual openness, interdependence and mutual vulnerability.” (Cooper, 2002, p.13)

The European Union is a good example for a postmodern system, which shows that this transition is not common place and a recent development. A part of society – the defenders of the status quo and traditional modern state (blue) – will feel threatened by this change and by the increased awareness and activity of globalisation.  It increases the heterogeneity of society and can lead to conflict between the different value systems (Morgan, 2005) and consequently result in a decline in social cohesion. The citizens often experience multiple identities and supra- and infranational movements undermine the traditional nation-state (Hobsbawm, 1992). It can be argued that supra-national movements such as religion always existed (Burleigh, 2005), playing an important role throughout all the different stages. They are currently having a renaissance in postmodern states, especially in those value systems that feel threatened. This shows that religion is a socio-economic movement (Masani, 2001). More light needs to be shed on how supra-national identities such as religion impact on national identities and subsequently nation brands. As well as researching the impact of multiple identities – with individuals having multiple identities, does a hierarchy of identities exist and what triggers the superiority of one identity over another?

As a result local representation and communities (Stoker, 2000) or as Anholt (2005b, p.226) calls it “distributed leadership” – as well as national identity will increase in importance, with the former supposed to strengthen active participations as people have a higher degree of identification with their communities and feel that they are in charge and can make changes themselves (Crouch, 2000) and the latter needing a redefinition – consequently climaxing in a re-positioning of the brand – to include all the different value systems that exist in a postmodern society and therefore resolve the resulting disputes to build “the consequent codification of self enforced rules of behaviour” (Cooper, 2002, p.13) of the citizen and to reinforce or re-position its brand in relation to the interdependence with other postmodern states – the creation of a holistic brand with an awareness that everything communicates and therefore the internal and external brand developments overlap.  The advent of the internet will put further strain onto the post-modern state as the definition of communities by proximity will become less and less accurate. Communities will become more international and will be built around shared interests instead of locality. They will decrease in size, but increase in numbers.

The nation brand of all states – be it modern or postmodern – has to follow the internal branding process of companies for the reasons mentioned above, and for the impact of the internal brand on the external perception.

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