PRs should play the local ball first to tap into 'new nationalism', says report

PR and marketing professionals must adapt to understand and benefit from a new type of patriotic sentiment among consumers, a report from Havas says.

Three-quarters of prosumers are proud of their countries, finds Havas report
Three-quarters of prosumers are proud of their countries, finds Havas report

The group's quarterly survey of 12,000 individuals globally looks at attidues among consumers and so-called 'prosumers' - consumers who design or customise products for their own needs, and become brand advocates in the process.

According to the report, nationalism is the stand-out global trend among the prosumers. The report says: "All over the world we see signs of national pride. Three-quarters of prosumers (and 69 per cent of mainstream consumers) in the 37 countries surveyed said they are proud of their countries."

However, analysing the new nationalism agenda, Nigel Hughes, board director at Havas PR UK, said the pro-country sentiment prevalent in 2016 was "very different" to patriotism of old.

"Globally, even as seven in 10 respondents expressed pride in their countries, nearly half (45 per cent) said that their country is actually moving in the wrong direction. This means that the feelings of pride being expressed are less about what the country is doing today and more about what it represents and what is worth holding on to."

He added: "The study tells us that the new wave is not outwardly directed nationalism that puts one’s country above all others so much, rather it is recognising and wanting to put on a pedestal, the elements that make one’s country great in historic terms, including heritage, culture and national achievements."

Hughes said PRs should not consider national pride solely in the context of sporting events and anniversaries or commemorations. "Instead, communicators should lobby boards to investigate deep-rooted and longer-lasting national investments, such as supply chains. Indeed, paying attention to product sourcing is one way people can express their love of their country," he said.

Hughes also pointed out that brands that need to consider cross-continent trends must not ignore differences in motivational factors.

"PRs must play the local ball first, while also taking advantage of opportunities to smooth over international frictions," said Hughes, arguing that it is desirable to tap into the "passion of the new nationalism", while also avoiding the "more controversial elements associated with it on the surface".

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