Measuring Peoples Perception to Understand Branding in Bangladesh

Background of the Study:

Interest in the concept and practice of nation branding has proliferated in recent years as more and more governments around the world attempts to attract the power of commercial branding techniques in order to improve their countries image and reputation across a wide range of sectors. Bangladeshis have a persistent grievance that Bangladesh is not justly portrayed in international forms. It has become common place for the country to be associated with natural calamities. Wavering political situations, corruptions and other negative attributes, so it is necessary remove the negative perception about Bangladesh & to spread out the positive news to enhance the image of Bangladesh in the world.

Broad Objective:

The main objective of the study is to understand the perceptions of foreigners and native people about Bangladesh and to find the possible ways that will enhance the image of Bangladesh Globally.

Specific Objectives:

Under a Broad objective the study focused on some several activities for comprehending an overall review

  • To identify the problems that Bangladesh focuses in tourism industry
  • To find the tourist spots those are renowned globally and domestically
  • To identify the solution that will lessen the problem in tourism industry
  • To find the awareness o people of people about the culture of Bangladesh
  • To understand the perception of native people and foreigners about the people of Bangladesh
  • To find which country of origin is more precious to people
  • To identify the factors that limits the investment decision
  • To understand the image of government of Bangladesh around the world

Research Design:

Type of Research Design

Both the exploratory and descriptive research designs have been adopted of the study. The pilot survey is undertaken that is less structured and continued more open ended questions and sample size is smaller.

Information Needed:

The information needed for the study was to understand the perception of people about Bangladesh and what are the problems regarding the field of tourism, export, investment and governance and the possible ways to solve those to enhance the image of Bangladesh globally and domestically.

Data collection from Secondary Sources

The secondary data is collected from various publications, books and internets.

Data Collections from Primary Sources:

The primary data is collected by interviewing the foreigners and native people.

Scaling Techniques:

For the purpose of the analysis questions have been technique in which each stimulus object is scaled independently of the other objects in the stimulus set among monocomparative scaling techniques, itemized rating scale nine point likert scale is used.

Sampling Techniques:

            The sample units have been selected by convenience sampling from different parts of Dhaka city.

Sample Size:

            For the study the total number of respondents is selected as 30. Among them 15 respondents are foreigners and rest of the respondents are native people. The respondents are chosen from various occupations like students, service holders, businessman, doctor, teacher and tourists.

Methodology of the Study:

The study is dependent on both primary and secondary sources to collect information or various aspects of tourism, people, export, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and Government of Bangladesh.

            There are two types of method for data collection, survey and observation. For te study, the data has collected through survey method. It is an effective way of collecting information from a large number of respondents.

            Two types of survey questionnaire have been used for the study. One questionnaire has used for measuring the perceptions of foreigners and the other has been used for measuring the perception of native people of Bangladesh. Each survey questionnaire was divided into three parts for the purpose of collecting data:

  1. Basic Information
  2. Classification Information
  3. Identification Information

The questionnaire includes both:

  • Unstructured questions
  • Structured Questions

Unstructured questions are open ended questions that respondents answer in their own words. On the other hand structured questions include multiple choice questions include multiple choice questions, dichotomous questions and scats.

            The study is descriptive in nature that incorporates collection of primary data. The sample units have been selected according to the convenience from different parts of the Dhaka City. The sample size is 30 which include 15 foreigners and 15 native people. The basic structure of the model has been adopted from the Anholt-GFK Roper National Brands Index SM.

Conceptual Model:


Limitation of the study:

During the preparation of this report, several problems have been encountered that may be termed as the limitation of the study. Adequate efforts have been taken to accomplish the study according to the objectives. But as the research them is consisted of only one member therefore it was not possible to cover more additional area, which would obviously give better results.

Time Limitation:

The survey method needs a sufficient time to communicate with the respondents, but it does not happen because people are always in rush. They do not make enough time for answering the questions. Therefore, a very limited period of time is found for conducting the survey.

Financial Limitation:

The survey method needs efficient fund for fulfilling it properly. As it is for the academic purpose, money shortage is an obvious constrain. For data collection, the budget for printing and transportation costs is limited.

 Literature Review Limitation:

This study has not done first time in Bangladesh> But the literature reviews were not easily available. Moreover, there was very little information found in the perspective of Bangladesh.


Marketing Guru Philip Kotler defined brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.”

He explains that a brand is basically a seller’s promise to deliver a specific set of features, benefits, and services consistently to the buyers. The best brands convey meanings warranty of quality. Branding can convey up to six levels of meanings; attributes, benefits, values, culture, personality, and user. The building challenge is to develop a set of positive associations for the brand.

Much of the definitions of branding focus directly and more on expending what brand means. Cowking & Hankinson (1996) stat “ A brand is simply a product or service which can be distinguished from its competitors” .  According to john Murphy in hart & Murphy ed. (1998) such distinguishing aspect and brand features could be tangible and in tangible.

Nilson  (2000) writes that a brand is really just a symbol with tremendous potential , and that this symbol can be expressed in different ways. This is particularly true and such symbols such as the Nike swoosh, the Mercedes star and the McDonalds’ golden arches come to mind. The brand symbol can also become a distinctive features from other competing brands.

Brand Equity:

The term brand equity is a prominent one in the theory and practice of branding. Fundamentally, brand equity refers to the value of a brand. The nation of equity is borrowed from the field of finance. One approach may be characterized as the consumer perspective , wherein brand equity may be evaluated in terms of consumer awareness of the brand equation, consumer judgments regarding brand equity, uniqueness, prestige and so on.

Customer- Based Brand Equity:

Aa Ker  state that brand equity represents `a set of brand assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol that add to or subtract from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and that firm’s customers’.


One of the leading proponents of the consumer perspective on brand equity, Kevin Lane Killer, uses the term CBBE (customer- based Brand Equity) which he defines as the ‘the differential effect that brand knowledge has on consumer response to the marketing of that brand’ He proposed six building blocks for measuring brand equity.

nation branding:

nation branding is a field of theory and practice which aims to measure, build and manage the reputation of countries. The concept of nation branding was elaborated by Simon Anholt in 1998 through hius article “Nation Brands of the 21st Century” in the journal of Brand Management where he pointed out that “brands create a value that is invisible”. Anholt, a market researcher from the corporate sector, reckons that brand is a “multiplier of value and as such represents a substantial advantage for its owner; it is as good as money in the band.”

Compared to products and services branding, country branding is the process whereby a country actively seeds to create a uniwue and competitive identity for itself, with the aim of positioning the country internally and internationally as a good destination for trade, tourism and investments.

In this regard, countries such as South Africa, Wales, Spain, Colombia, and Ireland have succeeded in attracting FDIs and tourists to their countries as a result off carefully managed country branding programs.

It is said that a country cannot be sold like toothpaste. This, nation branding is not about pretending that everything is fine in a country, nor is it about discouraging investors and tourists from coming into the country. It is about letting others know about the talents and the opportunities that a country is endowed with. Accordingly, nation branding requires a broader definition of the term “branding” that includes a plan for earning reputation. Indeed, one needs to inspire and induce majority of the citizens to act in a way that helps the country to earn a reputation and make sure that the world knows about it and believes in it.

Nation branding aims to measure, build, and manage the reputation of countries. It applies some approaches from commercial brand management practice to countries, in an effort to build, change, or protect their international reputations or external perception. It is based on the observation that the “brand images” of counties are just as important to their success in the global marketplace as those of products and services.

With products, such tangible and intangible values are easily identifiable by the consumers, as they can feel, touch, sample and judge the product before purchasing, however this becomes a bit difficult with services, which the consumers can only judge after experiencing or based on their prior knowledge and information about the service, a decision process which can be aided by a strong brand identity.

With countries, the decision making process is even more difficult because the objectives and costs are different, whereas a consumer could easily afford to spend money on a product without much considerations and with potentially less consequences as a result of dissatisfaction, it is not so simple with companies wishing to invest in a country or with tourists wishing to go on holidays in the country. Both the companies and the holidaymakers are influenced by  a lot of other factors; this is because of the huge sums of money involved. For holidaymakers this will run into thousands of dollars or pounds, they will also consider the relative safety of the social and political environment of the country.

For companies, the figure becomes even higher, often running into hundreds of millions of dollars or pounds, at the back of the minds of such potential investors will want the security of their investments as well as the rate of return on such investments compared to the rates of return on investment in other competing countries, the investors decisions will also invariably be influenced by the political, social and economic stability of the country in question.

This view is shared by Randall frost (2004) who wrote that “there’s on argung that the image we have of another country says a lot about how we view it as a tourist destination, a place to invest or a source of consumer goods.

why countries engage in nation branding?

The application of branding techniques to nations is a relatively new phenomenon, but one which is growing in frequency given the increasingly global competition that nations now face in both their domestic & external markets. Nations are making increasingly conscious efforts to hone their country branding in recognition of the need to fulfill three major objectives:

  •  To attract tourists,
  •  To stimulate inward investment &
  •  To boost exports.

A further objective for many nations is talent attraction, whereby countries compete to attract higher education students, and sdilled workers. A wider set of potential rewards to be gained through nation branding has beeb proposed by Temporal (14), who suggests that in addition to the key goals of attracting tourists, stimulating inward investment and boosting exports, nation branding can also increase currency stability; help restore international credibility and investor confidence; reserve international ratings downgrades; increase international political influence; stimulate stronger international partnerships and enhance nation building (by nourishing confidence, pride, harmony, ambition national resolve)

The way a country is perceived can make a critical difference to the success of its business, trade and tourism efforts, as well as its diplomatic and cultural relations with other nations. With the rising trend of globalization and the breaking down of international barriers of trade, competition for consumers and inward investments,,, also known as Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) are getting more intense amongst the countries of the world. Charles Braymer of Interbred, in his paper branding A Country (2003) writes that countries will compete daily with neighbors or block regions for tourism, inward investment and export sales, there’s only so much business that can go around. Those countries that start with an unknown or poor reputation will be limited or marginalized. They cannot easily boost their commercial success.

The need of nation branding for Bangladesh:

Bangladeshis have a persistent grievance that Bangladesh is not justly portrayed in international forums. It has become commonplace for the country to be associated with cultural calamities, wavering political situation, corruption and other negative attributes. In most cases, propaganda is blown way out of proportion relative to there parts of the globe.

Measuring Perceptions of people and identifying constraints of Branding Bangladesh

It is unfortunate that the commitment and resilience of the people to enhance the image of the country goes unnoticed. There is a general tendency among the international community to draw parallels for Bangladesh with countries facing difficulties, completely overlooking the fact that Bangladesh, with its backwardness and structural deficiencies, has made significant progress in fields that would make many emerging countries envious.

We often come across slogans like: “Malaysia: truly Asia,” Dubai: the jewel in the Desert,” “china: The factory of the world,” “Sri Lanka: the pearl of the Indian Ocean” etc. When we open Newsweek, time or the economist, we see that some Latin American countries are doing the same.

Though “shining India” could not achieve enough votes for BJP, the respect for the “India” brand with its continuous institutional reforms, quality of education, industrial innovations, OT revolution, and the “ Indian Knowledge Band,” with its ability to deliver, reaches the intended target markets.

All the stakeholders in a transaction economy like Bangladesh must be clear about the destination in line with similar countries that have transitioned to the next growth trajectory. However, in the process is developing an energetic brand, we should not sideline critical issues such as the anticorruption drive, generation of economic activities for poverty alleviation and gaining the trust of the citizens through actions.

All the stakeholders in a transition economy like Bangladesh must be clear about the destination, in line with similar countries that have transitioned to the next growth trajectory. However, in the process of developing an energetic brand, we should not sideline critical issues such as the anticorruption drive, generation of economic activities for poverty alleviation and gaining the trust of the citizens through actions.

Micro-credit is invented in Bangladesh to fend off poverty, and is sharing it with the rest of the world. Bangladesh is competing with the giants of the world in ready-made garments and successfully growing each year. Our nation was created with

Measuring Perceptions of people and identifying constraints of Branding Bangladesh

the dream of justice and equal opportunity for everyone, and a commitment to change the fate of the deprived.

Our ancestors made great sacrifices so that their descendants may enjoy these universal attributes. Thousand years of culture and civilization have given our people humility, perseverance and hope, which enable us to tight against adversities.

We are truly a “nation-state” with almost the same culture, religious tolerance, and social values. In developing a brand, we must believe in what we propose to deliver. We must be open to our weaknesses and backwardness, and leverage on the strengthen of our achievements.

We need to send a message to the international community that we mean business, there is policy continuity despite change of the government, democracy means the same thing here as elsewhere, and that we are continuously striving to build respectable institutions. All these will be a continuous battle, just as creating a vibrant brand for Bangladesh” is.

As Maswood alam Khan states, A Bangladeshi who has been living abroad as an expatriate professional knows how humiliating it is when he does not find or remember anything of his own country to boast about that he can refer at least as a near comparison, if not better, with something similar people on the street, friends in a club or colleagues in the workplace in his host country usually flaunt or talk about. Even worse, his heart sinks when he reads or views reports of news that tell horrible stories of avoidable human losses in natural and manmade disasters and strange stories of chaos and corruption in Bangladesh. Thus it is necessary to promote positive things about Bangladesh so that not only the investors and tourists can rely on us but also the people of Bangladesh will find or \remember anything of his or her own country to boast about that he or she can refer at least as a near comparison.

Nation Branding is a timely report, but it is found that the literature review about nation branding is not easily available.

One of the reasons for lack of readily available resources in the field could be found in the comments made by Wally Olins (1999), according to him; the popular assumption is that national branding as a novel concept. In another paper Branding the Nation – the historical perspectives, Olins warns countries of the risks of ignoring Nation branding and predicts that country branding will become normal prentice in the coming decades. According to hem, the lack of interest and belief in country branding by some skeptics is only as a result of snobbery, ignorance and semantics.

As van ham (2001) has noted, “Smart states are building their brands around reputations and attitudes in the same way smart companies do”.

This irruption of the vocabulary of branding into the international affairs of nations is not universally welcomed and there is a widespread sense of cynicism and suspicion regarding the appropriateness and relevance of such overtly commercial practices.

Mathias Akotia described that nation or country branding is about using strategic marketing to promote different aspects of a country’s identity. Country branding implies that countries behave in many ways like commercial and corporate brands.

Country branding is not about spin, neither is it about propaganda. It is about proactive and conscious husbandry of a nation’s identity so as to enhance citizenship behaviors and nationhood internally, and to compete favorably internationally. It is about the recognition that image and reputation of a country as well as aggregate citizenship behavior are critical to a nation’s strategic development.

Martin roll has noted that differentiation has became a core element of any brand strategy. Central to differentiation is to demonstrate both points of parity and points of difference from competing brands. One way brands achieve this is by associating themselves with either a category or a place. The latter is usually referred to as country barding. French wine, Danish

designs, Swiss watches, German engineering and Italian haute couture are results of very aggressive country branding.

Landor said that countries are difficult products. It is very difficult to modify a country so that it meets target needs unless there are serious interventions in the country’s infrastructure. One cannot add a chain of mountains or alter a country’s weather, for example. Building a new airport or highway is much more difficult than changing a flavor or package.

According to Debapriya Bhattacharya, a country cannot be sold like toothpaste. Thus, nation branding is not about pretending that everything is fine in a country, nor is it about discouraging investors and tourists from coming into the country. It is about letting others know about the talents and the opportunities that a country is endowed with, accordingly, nation branding requires a broader definition of the term “branding” that includes a plan for earning reputation. Indeed, one needs to inspire and induce majority of the citizens to act in a way that helps the country to earn a reputation and make sure that the world knows about it and believes in it.

The concept of action branding was elaborated by Simon Anholt in 1998 through his article “nation brands create a value that is invisible”. He reckons that brand is a “multiplier of value and as such represents a substantial advantage for its owner; it is as good as money in the bank”

He developed the concept of the nation brands index in 2005. Since 2005, when he coined the term ‘nation brand’ and gave birth to this important new field, Simon Anholt has been helping governments plan the policies, strategies, investments and innovations which lead their country towards an improved profile and reputation.

The Anholt-GfL Roper nation brands indexSM measures the power and appeal of each country’s brand image’ by examining six dimensions of national competence. Together, these dimensions make up the nation brand hexagon. Based on these six dimensions, each year simon anholt and GfK Roper affairs & media rand the countries of the world in each criterion and in overall criteria. USA is ranked top in overall brand ranking in 2009 and France.

Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Japan and Canada ranked first in culture, tourism, people, governance, export, investment criteria.

Younghye and her associates (2009)define country image specifically as a set of beliefs regarding the following five components of nation: its people, its products and companies, its government, its culture and the country as a place.

Younghye and her associates (2009) define country image specifically as a set of beliefs regarding the following five components of nation: its people , its products and companies, its government, its culture and the country as a place.

These experiences come from direct inactions with a country and its people through travel and work (Dinnie2007), indirect observation of a country, its people and policies as well as active and passive media exposure (Fam2006) .So it is important for Bangladesh to improve its global image. Although Bangladesh is not considered for Anholt’s nation brand ranking but Bangladesh has always held a great promise. As Hasan (2009) said that there are only a few countries that got their freedom through war. Bangladesh is among those great nations. The people of Bangladesh fought a historic war of Liberation in 1971- one of the bloodiest wars in the history of mankind. After its independence, since 1971 despite having positive achievements, the country has been labeled with many negative images, either imaginary or genuine, by a group of ill-motivated people, both at home and abroad. It is true that Bangladesh is a country with a huge population accompanied by increasing unemployment, population growth, corruption, and price inflation. From independence Bangladesh was branded (positively and negatively) at different times. This can be presented in the following table:


2. Natural Calamities








  1. War of Liberation(1971)
  2. Ekushe February
  3. Nobel Prize by Prof. yunus(2007
  4. National Fair Election(2008)
  5. National ID and voter List
  6. Indicators on Health, Medea, Agriculture, RMG, Remittance, Gender, Women empowerment etc.
  7. Energetic People
  8. Un Peace keeping Force
  9. Cox’s Bazar, other natural beauty


  1. it corruption Ranking(2001-2006)
  2. Militant, terrorism etc.
  3. killing of political leaders(1975-1981)
  4. BDR Violence (2009)
  5. State of Emergency (2007-2008)



But the negative aspects of Bangladesh are highlighted more than the positive aspects. That is why promoting the positive aspects of Bangladesh to let the world know is the demand of the time.

Branding Bangladesh:

Nation branding is not yet given much attention in the middle and low income countries. But if a country opts not to have a branding strategy, it does not mean that others will leave it alone.

“branded” based on limited and partial or biased information. Remaining cognizant of this, emerging economies are increasingly addressing the issue of nation branding in a pro-active manner. For instance, in the region, India is recreating its image as the hub of IT  based industries and services as well as a major source of skilled manpower. Even small countries, like Bhutan, may use their image of being small, unique, and fragile that is envied by the developed world.

Till date, Anholt indeed does not include Bangladesh. But as Bangladesh progresses, it will be finitely generate enhanced interest in the global community and the sponsors of the index will be inclined to include the country in its exercise.

It is not seeded to make a replica of Disney World in Dhaka to attract foreign tourists to visit our country with the whole lot of their families including their grandchildren. We don’t need to offer loans worth billions of American dollars to allure foreign entrepreneurs to set up their shops and industries on our soil. What we need to do is an assurance that we as a nation are hospitable and we love nature. What the government has to do is do whatever is possible with our limited resources to upgrade our capital city’s present status of being the second least-livable city ic the world to a reasonably better rank tolerable to a foreign tourist for his enjoying a break for a couple of days and to make our investment climate attractive by offering durable infrastructures, quality labor forces and hassle-free utility services needed for industrial efficiency, safety, growth and sustenance in the long term.

Despite significant achievements made in reducing infant mortality rate, tree plantations, enrolment in primary education, standard education policy, stipends for female students, women empowerment, freedom of press, sanitation, population

control, innovation of micro-credit, game of cricket, disaster management, export-oriented industries, remittance inflows, resilience in weathering global financial crises, ridding the nation of the image of fundamentalism, giving the idea on introducing the international Language Day and many more achievements like the recent conquering of mount Everest, Bangladesh is yet to win a room in the hearts of global communities to convince tourists and investors to visit our home, the biggest deltaic land in the world enlaced by the Earth’s longest mangrove forests and bestowed upon by cheap labor forces.

Hence, the branding of Bangladesh is crucial for her development through trade, tourism, investment and international cooperation. And branding has to be done through amplification of what we actually have achieve and what we naturally have but not through any fabrication of what we don’t have or by any jugglery of words in making tall promises that we can never fulfill.

 SWOT Analysis:


  •  Bangladesh is in good geographic Location
  •  Important link between the economies of south Asia &south East   Asian region
  •  Chittagong port emerges as a major Port
  •  Beautiful tourist location
  •  Distinctive Culture
  •  Hospitality
  •  The country’s vulnerability to natural disasters has significantly declined.
  •  Micro credi


  •  Political Instability
  •  Natural disaster
  •  Omer population
  •  Poor Infrastructures
  •  orruption
  •  Lack of available funds is another serious problem of our country


  •  Human capital
  •  The increasing participation of women in various important sectors will foster the economic growth of Bangladesh.
  •  Improvement in governance, infrastructure and investment climate can attract more foreign Direct Investment.
  •  ICT sector can emerge as one of major contributing sectors of our country.


  •  Adverse global development.
  •  Rising inequality in income &wealth.
  •  Improper management of development may bring out encourage poverty and inequality leading to social instability.
  • Bangladesh is victim of increasing terrorism and sharp increase in commodity prices in global market.

PEST Analysis:

Political Factors:

  • Democracy in Bangladesh is young and fragile.
  • During the first twenty years after independence (1971-1990), bangladesh was most of the time ruled by non-elected and military-backed governments.
  • After a popular movement, a democratic parliamentary form of government was installed in 1991.
  • The polarization and hostility between two main political parties continue and the opposition frequently uses traditional “Hartals”(civil disobedience and general strikes ) as political weapons.
  • Political instability and corruption hamper the economic growth of Bangladesh.
  • The government policy is not considered as business friendly to do business in Bangladesh

 Sociocultural Factors:

  • The population of Bangladesh is 146.1 million in 2009-10.
  • Population growth rate 1.32%
  • Population density 990/
  • Over 85% of the population are Muslims, less than 13% Hindus and the remaining are Christians, Buddhists
  • Literacy rate of population 11+years 49.1%
  • The number of civilian labor force is 4.74 core, among them 3.61 core are male and 1.13 core are women the general wage rate is 5026 taka

Technological Factors

  • The technological environment in Bangladesh is not to date.
  • The government of Bangladesh has chosen some priority sectors such as agriculture, power generation etc. to adopt latest technological trends.