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Dubai Expo 2020

Nation branding can describe how a country positions itself and promotes itself to the world as a place for people to visit, invest, and build a good reputation of their goods and services and the talent of that particular nation (Browning and Ferraz de Oliveira 2017). Nation branding facilitates the rise of the country in the esteem of its neighbors and markets its resources by presenting itself on the international stage. A nation markets itself by organizing an international event that provides limelight to the various resources, products and services that helps in building relations with the country. One of the best platforms for branding a nation is Expo. World Expos provides a great platform to the host nation and helps in promoting their culture and innovations that the nation is capable of. Furthermore, it provides a stage for public engagement on a global scale. Expos provides mindful experience for the public through different encounters and thus plays an important role in maintaining the country’s public diplomacy (Jatana and Mirchandani 2017). Expo 2020 Dubai is an important event for nation branding. Such events are always important for countries to increase their product value and gain some additional brand equity. However, this current Expo 2020 is of utmost importance because of the global pandemic that is now phasing out. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, such events did not take place. The social distancing requirements led to a lot of travel restrictions. However, now that this Expo has taken place, various participating countries are considering it as a good opportunity for nation branding.

Category

International registered exhibitions

Motto

Creating a better future, connecting minds

Organized by

Managing director: Raeem Al Hashimi

Total area covered

Four hundred and thirty-eight

BIE-class

Universal exposition

Mascot

Latifa, Salama, Terra, Opti, Rashid, and Alif.

Participants

One hundred and ninety-two countries

Organizations

Ten

Venue

Dubai Exhibition Center, United Arab Emirates

Expo 2020 was mainly hosted by Dubai in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and the main aim of Dubai expo 2020 is to connect minds and create a better future. It is believed that bringing the entire world may catalyze sharing of new perspective and also inspire actions for delivering real-life solutions to several problems in this world (Haneef et al.). The Covid-19 pandemic situation made several negative impacts on the health and profit rate of many organizations in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai expo was closed due to this pandemic situation, but it will open after one year of originally scheduled. According to the event organizers, the Dubai expo is known as a “festival of human ingenuity” in terms of partnership and collaboration because of the growth of today's engines. The theme of the Dubai Expo recognizes that creating sustainable solutions of various global problems or issues demand collaboration across several cultures, regions, and nation (Al Hallaq et al.). Dubai Expo 2020 have 3 sub-themes that are significantly important and those are,

  1. The opportunity that helps to reflect the necessity of the financial capital or resource to support partnerships and growth is one of the main primary drivers of employment and innovations (Haneef, Sunitha and Zakiya Ansari).
  2. According to several authors such as Ferraro and Giorgia, mobility can be defined as a physical mobility for an individual, distribution of various goods, products, or services, and also virtual connectivity with the help of information technology.
  3. Sustainability can be defined as the needs or demands to use natural resources without sacrificing the abilities of the planet for sustaining the future generation, in recognition of the roles of natural and built habitats to ensure community resilience and human resilience (Taha, Bashar and Andrew Allan).

Research Background

This Expo can be determined as the 1st World Expo that takes place in Africa, the South Asia region, and the Middle East. Inspiration is the core part of Dubai Expo 2020 and the 1st World expo took place in an iconic crystal palace for showing inventions or new technologies of the industrial revolution.  With almost one hundred and eighty-two days to innovate, marvel and collaborate at what all people can achieve together and it is known as a "once-in-a-lifetime experience” that no people want to miss simply. One can enjoy a calming walk in the garden of Al Wasl Plaza and can also listen to sounds of this world awakening in the early hours.

According to Liptow and Jacob, wander through a breath-taking architecture and modern infrastructure of several pavilions and housing, ground-breaking technological advancement, and immersive experience, people can lose themselves in incredible and enjoyable live performances, travel the cuisines and cultures of this world. Dubai expo 2020 welcomes many people and tourists across several countries of this world because it helps to gather all people from every place on this planet to reimagine a better tomorrow. Dubai Expo 2020 becomes generally a famous place for travelling of people for the 6 months or tourists with amazing experiences, different types of events, concerts, and also free entry for all of the children. There is always a sense of enjoyment and excitement during Dubai expo 2020 and it can be determined as the celebration of ingenuity and human achievement. This International registered exhibition has been organized for centuries and Dubai expo 2020 focuses more on the solutions to several real-life challenges in this world. As an example, the World’s fair is also known as an expo or universal exhibition that is mainly designed to provide achievements of several nations. These types of exhibitions may vary in their characteristics and these are also held in various parts of this world at a certain period typically between 3 to 6 months. World’s fair is mainly regulated and governed by the Bureau International des Expositions or BIE and the main purpose is to develop exhibition scheduling and clear responsibilities and rights of participants and host city. Actually, the era of the world's fair started with a great exhibition of Britain, held in the United Kingdom in 1851.

The world’s fair is one of the large international exhibitions worldwide with a variety of cultural, industrial, and scientific items displayed at a site for a certain period, ranging from 3 to 6 months. World's fairs are included with exhibitions from various countries. World's fairs have a special entertainment zone and in that zone, the visitors or tourists can enjoy attractive rides, food, beverages, and exotic attractions. Since the 19th century, almost one hundred world fairs are being organized in more than twenty countries across the globe. Actually, all of these events or exhibitions are known as international expositions in Asia and continental Europe, exhibition in Great Britain, and world fairs in the USA. The term or expression "expo" can be used in different expositions in several locations. This paper will shed light on the role of several marketing events and international events in branding of a nation and the activities that are taking place for improving brand image and brand reputation in respective countries. This paper will also focus on the benefits of Dubai Expo 2022 as one of the important platforms to provide opportunities for the nation's branding.

There have been researches conducted on Expo regarding national branding and how it helps the nation establish their presence around the globe. According to Wang (2020), Expos play  an important role in nation building and focuses on public diplomatic efforts and other important elements. These elements help build and improve a nation image and open up multiple opportunities to the world and expo helps improve these elements. Nation branding with proper marketing strategies has helped eliminate stereotypes and helped improve the country's brand image (Avraham 2020). Expo proves a great platform for marketing the nation and creating a social message that is being spread around the world, affecting the image of the country positively. Nation branding's best example was explained in the case of Kazakhstan in the Expo of 2017. The government had taken various initiatives and efforts to showcase their efforts of development and culture from post-soviet nation building efforts. The country analysed every document and conducted multiple interviews and surveys to showcase their efforts in building a great nation and a great image globally (Ramankulova 2020). The government of Kazakhstan had focused on its powerful history and rich culture to the world and proved itself as a great international player in terms of economy and technology and showcased it to the world.

According to Tournois and Laurent, Expos play a major role to improve nation image and it also helps to explore many opportunities to this world. According to different authors such as Ojo and Sanya, some major elements are there that can help to increase nations image and those are destination branding, political branding, cultural branding, brand exporting and co-marketing. With the help of all of these factors, the Dubai Expo 2020 had attracted unprecedented interests of media compared to other world expos. Dubai Expo 2020 has helped the UAE (United Arab Emirates) to recognize itself as the “nation of tolerance” (Saad and Myriam). Unlike past World Expos which vanished quickly from the collective memory, Dubai Expo 2020 is continuing to make several impacts in the future. Actually, the World Expos have been shaped as a nation-branding tool that helps the UAE markets to connect with cultures and people. The analysts are predicting that Dubai expos will help the UAE to get several benefits through nations branding strategy or tools. There are several World Expos that are adopting sustainability, cultural integration, and others as one of their main themes (Haneef et al.). The pavilions of different countries across the site of Expos aim to emphasize their efforts to tackle sustainable resource management, overproduction, and overconsumption.

The research will focus on nation building and how Expo 2020 can be important in building the image of Dubai to the world in terms of innovation and technology. Nation building has been a great activity conducted by multiple nations on different platforms but very few researches have focused on taking Expo 2020 as an ideal platform for explaining the nation building of the nation. Previously many researches have been conducted about Expo and how it impacts the image of the nation globally and also related to the nation building activity, but this paper will be focusing particularly on Expo 2020 which is going to be held in Dubai and how different nations are going to participate to market themselves as a part of nation building activities and present themselves globally.

The research aims to focus on nation building and how Expo 2020is going to help this nation in providing a great platform for nation building opportunities and the important role that Expo 2020 is going to play for Dubai and other participating nations such as Switzerland, China, the United Kingdom and others.

The objective of this study is to identify –

  1. The role of international events and marketing events in Nation branding.
  2. Importance of Expo 2020 as a key platform for providing nation branding
  3. The activities conducted by different nations to create a brand image of their respective

How Expo 2020 will help in Nation Branding for participating countries?

The research on nation branding would provide more clear insight on the importance of Expo 2020 in promoting branding for the participant countries about their culture, technology, knowledge and public diplomatic efforts. It will give a better opportunity for nations to present their image in front of the world and provide better insight into their knowledge. The study findings will also help in understanding the importance of innovation and technology in nation branding marketing.

Having an effective and strong brand is necessary for the development of a nation and it creates several effects on the perception of an individual of a country and also the products or services manufactured there, improving them with feelings, emotion, and credibility (Khudhair et al.). The perception matters more than reality. Nation branding is a popular topic that has developed rapidly in last few years because competitiveness does not only increase on the level of goods or products but also among several nations. Nation branding of a country helps to attract more investment in the tourism sector and also to achieve a diplomatic position. Dubai expo 2020 is highly associated with the economic condition of UAE as it helps to increase the GDP of the UAE and in the year 2019, the United Arab Emirates gave permission to all passport holders of Israel to enter into the country to attend the Dubai expo 2020 (Copland and Lee). Though Israel has no diplomatic relation with the United Arab Emirates, these has been a great effort to normalize the link between these two countries. The Expo has a separate pavilion to represent the agricultural innovations and the achievement of Israel. The emerging pandemic situation brought Dubai Expo 2020 under scrutiny and several problems, as this event was actually expected to bring almost twenty-five million visitors or tourists in October, 2020. In March, the Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties had warned against exploitation and abuse of migrant employees in the UAE. While the entire country is under lockdown stages because of the massive spread of the Covid-19 virus but the migrant workers work continuously on Dubai Expo 2020. The Geneva Council also condemns discriminatory treatments with migrant workers, urging the World Health Organization to encourage and motivate the United Arab Emirates to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all migrant employees.

Nation Branding and its role in nation development

Nation branding deals with the country’s image as well as its reputation in the long run. It helps in expressing the peak performances of the nation. Nation branding is mainly practicing by the government in collaboration with public relations specialists’ corporate businesses in creating campaigns, initiatives and agreeing on a specific image of the nation. (Bolin and Ståhlberg 2015). The brand of a country impacts every aspect related to international agreement and so it plays a vital role in the economic, social, political and cultural progress of the country (Hurn 2016). The nation branding provides a lot of opportunities for trade growth, making them economically strong, helps in rapid development in different aspects, and gaining a strong reputation. The country's positive image always has a positive impact on the people’s minds about that nation. The important elements affected by nation branding include people, sporting and cultural events, political and diplomatic relations with other countries, better investment opportunities and offerings, media and intellectual creativity, and tourism attractions. Culture and arts are among the most important aspects of national branding as it provides the best country's brand value and helps create a good brand image. (Ahn and Wu 2015). This is why governments invest money to promote their nation to the world for branding purposes, explore their influence, improve their reputation globally, and boost tourism and trade (Dinnie 2015). Avraham (2020) carried out a content analysis of seventy ads that were from 47 different countries. These ads included digital ads on YouTube, TV ads, and print ads. The research showed that these countries rely heavily on personal testimonies for nation branding. For nation branding, these countries apply the strategy of expanding their message to the common people by using celebrities. They also focus closely on the audience. When the approach of the audience changes, the nation branding strategies applied by different countries also change. A significant point has been spotted that consumer behavior must be carefully observed. Along with that, carrying out a detailed analysis of internal and external factors can help nations in branding themselves. The nations are taking the decision and participating in a global event that provides them a platform where they can showcase themselves and promote themselves in front of the whole world to strengthen their branding activities. Such an event is Expo which provides countries an opportunity to participate and provide different opportunities to showcase their strengths to the world. Dubai hosts Expo 2020 and it will provide a great branding opportunity for both the host and the participating countries respectively. Haneef and Ansari (2019) have conducted a study about marketing strategies that can be useful for nation branding in Expo 2020. This study focuses on various phases and types of marketing that nation-states can apply to get the maximum benefit out of such events. Although the focus remains on the marketing strategies suitable for countries for nation branding, the research also highlights the marketing approach that the Expo itself uses. During such events, the tourism industry in Dubai also applies marketing strategies to make the events successful. Such marketing strategies lead to the success of tourism marketing in Dubai. These marketing strategies to promote Expo 2020, nation branding and the tourism industry in Dubai are all interlinked with each other. Therefore, there are various marketing strategies that Dubai can apply to improve its nation image.  This type of nation branding can only be done by focusing on the factors that can help improve the  branding of the nation.

In the last few decades, different cities, countries, and islands are branding themselves aggressively for creating a strong identity among the stakeholders and also for developing sustainable consumer relationships for a long-time (Yehia and Samih). There are several advantages of nation’s branding.  Nation branding mainly refers to the process or method in which the countries claim a certain  brand positioning and positive impression about the brand in the mind of all international stakeholders, global customers, and its citizens. For claiming such brand positioning, the countries invest resources to integrate and coordinate various activities.  The results of the successful nation branding can be defined as an unbreakable association of several countries with a specific identity, quality and practice. The countries from which an organization or brand originates have several impacts on likability in minds of the customers and perceived quality of the organization by lending respect, status, and credibility to all of its products or services offered. This is known as COO or “country of origin” effects. When a specific nation has a positive and strong brand in an international domain then, it will become more attractive to all skilled workers, investments as well as visitors. It will become more resilient and effective to any financial crises or problems and it is also able of sustaining higher prices. Businesses can achieve several benefits or advantages from positive COO (country-of-origin) impacts, known as a halo effect on products or services and improved capabilities to export. Country branding trajectory is closely aligned with the economic situation, dominant cultural root, customer mindsets, and regulatory framework. Therefore, it is significantly important and it must be placed on the agenda of the Government that generally strives for the progress of a country.

The importance of Expo 2020 for Dubai

Expo 2020 is an international event being held in Dubai from October 2021 to March 2022. The objective of this event is to build a better world and optimistically shape the future (Kaul 2019). The tagline of Expo 2020 is “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future” through various initiatives which includes sustainability, mobility and opportunity (Expo 2020 Dubai, 2021). Initially, this Expo was planned for 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was postponed till the last quarter of 2021. Expo 2020 is a grand event that can impact the branding of a nation on a global scale. Expo 2020 Dubai is meant for an opportunity for different countries to highlight their strengths and deliver a positive image of the nation to the world. In this research, although the focus remains on the countries suitable marketing strategies for nation branding, the research also highlights the marketing approach that the Expo itself uses. The events are highly focused on technological innovations like artificial intelligence, the future of air travel, and innovations in health care. This is seen as a great opportunity for the nations and so a total of 192 countries are participating in this event to brand and promote themselves. The Expo will be beneficial for these countries who would be working together to find out the solutions for multiple problems. Being the host country of this event, Dubai will greatly benefit from this event. From an economic point of view, Expo 2020 is a long-term investment that will positively impact the country's economy and it is going to create multiple jobs. More than 25 million visitors globally are attending this event and so it is going to have a positive effect on the economy of the country. A mega event like Expo provides a lot of exposure and improves the perceived benefits of the host country. Dubai has a great opportunity to promote its culture, economy, tourism and technology that people will be witnessing in this event and it increased the perceived value of the nation (Al Hallaq, Ninov and Dutt 2020). The winning of Expo bid by Dubai in 2013 has hugely impacted the county’s stock market as the country has witnesses the increase in share value. In the year 2020, total market capitalization value of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was almost 91.8 billion USD and in the year 2019, it was 98 billion USD (statista.com).  Total sixty-seven organizations were listed on Dubai Financial market as of 2014 and most organizations are mainly UAE-based organizations. Other organizations are based on other countries of the MENA region. Generally, three main stock exchange centers are there and those are NASDAQ Dubai, ADX (Abu Dhabi Exchange), and DFM (Dubai Financial market). It also has a huge impact on the banking and financial sector as well as insurance. This is for the first time that the Expo is being held in middle east which has given a plethora of opportunity in investment marketing and hugely impacted the banking sector (Bhavani and Kukunuru, 2016). The country has been able to brand itself globally by hosting an international event like Expo and has focused on the key sectors such as tourism and hospitality (Gomba, Hyland and Paris 2018). Dubai is well known as a tourist destination and people around the globe to experience the urban tourism and innovations of the country. From culture to modern technology, tourism plays a very important role for Dubai in economic development. With the commencement of Expo, it has been able to boost its tourism and hospitality sectors such as hotels and attractions in a much larger scale. Expo 2020 will provide an opportunity to improve its national image regarding excellent infrastructural facilities, attractive hotels and other amenities, ease of accessibility and advanced road and air transport system (Haneef, Ansari and Bhavani 2019). The country will have another opportunity of nation branding through media support. Due to Expo, lot of different media across the world will visit the country and explore the county about all the innovations, technology and culture of the country which will create a great opportunity for destination branding around the globe (Sharma, Stranjan?evi? and Kleber 2019).

Dubai expo helps to encompass different types of innovations and new technologies, youth empowerment, and sustainability, and Expo 2020 will also bring more people together worldwide and explore several opportunities for technological advancements. Expo 2020 in Dubai is also committed to set benchmarks for the future world expos and building the "legacy of sustainability". By integrating different types of modern technologies and techniques across several industries, Dubai Expo 2020 wants to become the greenest Expo across the globe.  Expo 2020 in Dubai is expected to contribute almost thirty-three billion US dollars to the economy of Dubai. Thousands of tourists and visitors come here to enjoy the exhibitions and programs of Dubai Expo 2020. Other industries in Dubai are also expected to reach the next level which includes communications, transportation, exhibitions, and conferences. In this way, the organizations that provide these services are also improving their profit rates and revenues. The global stage of this expo 2020 belongs to the UAE and Dubai for next few months, and during Dubai Expo 2020 many industries including hotels, organizations, and others have witnessed a huge profit. Such improvements of technologies, connectivity, and businesses have helped to bring more visitors or tourists from different countries of the world.

The Dubai Expo 2020 will further improve the strengths of the United Arab Emirates for attracting tourists as well as various business investments. There is no doubt that the Dubai Expo 2020will have profound effects on investment, real estate, tourism, construction, and other industries of the United Arab Emirates (Lamouchi, Rim Ammar and Suha Mahmoud Alawi). Some statistics are listed below that will help to show the profits of the UAE made by organizing Expo 2020. One of the main contributions of Dubai Expo 2020 is to eliminating cultural problems or issues. 

  1. Dubai Expo 2020, helps to improve the economic condition of the United Arab Emirates by contributing almost 33.4 billion dollars (Salameh, Hussein Mohammad and Bashar Alzubi).
  2. The economic activities during Dubai Expo 2020 are expected to contribute almost 1.5% of the total GDP of the UAE.
  3. The hotels and restaurants spending have been increased by 3.1 billion dollars. These hotels have achieved an increased profit rate during Dubai Expo 2020.
  4. The business services and event organizations are also expected to achieve an improvement or growth of 18.8 billion dollars.
  5. The construction industries of the United Arab Emirates have also witnessed a growth of 7.35 billion dollars.

Expo 2020 not only helps to increase the attractiveness of Dubai but also helps to attract expatriate workers. This expo has generated a path for developing economic improvement and also for making several positive impacts on the GDP within the host country (Elagamy et al.). Expo 2020 has achieved huge popularity and for this reason, many investors are trying to make a huge investment for the future of the United Arab Emirates.

Role of Expo 2020 in nation branding for all the participating nations

There is total 192 countries who will be participating in the Expo 2020 in Dubai, and for the first time every participating country will have their own pavilion where nations will be promoting about sustainability, mobility and opportunity as a method for branding their nations (Participants at Expo 2020, 2021). This will provide an unique and separate platform for the participating nations to showcase their culture and innovation. An important issue that every   country faces is the problem with stereotypes that negatively impact the country's brand image. There are some good stereotypes on one hand while on the other hand, there are some unjust stereotyping of nations as well. According to Avraham (2020), these stereotypes can be serious barriers to growth of that particular nation. Expo 2020 will provide a great opportunity for the countries to eliminate their stereotypes in every aspect including culture, heritage and tourism sector According to various authors such as Avraham and Eli, stereotypes are actually harmful to the nation’s image because assumption rather than the personalized information may justify denial of employment, educational, and housing opportunities. A good example will be Malaysia, whose theme will be Energizing Sustainability. Their pavilion will be focusing on balancing socio-economic progress with environmental issues to safeguard a secure and sustainable future (Malaysia Pavilion, 2021). There are more than nine-hundred shows during the Expo 2020 and all of these programs represent Malaysia’s blend of “Truly Asia” culture and heritage. Another example will be south Africa, featuring their rich heritage, wonders, creativity, and innovation in their pavilion (South Africa Pavilion, 2021).  Expos are not only a platform but it also helps nations to promote innovations and cultures and it can be determined as a social platform to engage more people on a global, grand scale. 

While the design and formats of Expos have remained consistent for several years. Contemporary expos incorporate several practices of nation branding through the national pavilion which is the core part of the entire system. The stylized pavilion helps to deliver and define nation brand to all visitors with an objective of cultivating appreciation and awareness. Actually, Expos can be defined as a platform of consumption and production of the national brands. As pavilions help to improve the nation's image, it explores several challenges and opportunities in several practices of the nation's branding through this platform. It also concludes with several observations about the future expos as audience experience and participation continue to diversify in this world. For exploring practices of nation branding in the World expos, it is essential to realize the significance and relevance of nations branding to improving nation’s image. On the other hand, branding mainly comprises three activities and those are brand communication, brand management, and brand definition. The Expos are increasingly incorporating nations branding through the participation of several nations in varied and vivid ways, especially through the platforms of the national pavilion. According to Shim et al., the national pavilion is mainly build with a themed environment that aims to cultivate and identify the distinctive and positive identity of a country. They are actually designed and developed as a “multifunctional space” that helps to encompass indoor exhibitions, meeting spaces, architectural frames, and others with a possibility of national representation. A pavilion physically includes exhibition displays, physical layout, and architectural design. All of these things help to transform physical space into a space of cultural significance and meaning. In this way, different counties will be featuring a unique aspect that will forecast their country’s image and help build an international brand image that will boost the country's development. Every participating country is taking Expo 2020 to promote their nations and create a strong brand value across the world. It is important to note that the marketing strategies that are commonly being used by these countries in nation branding are innovative and varied (Haneef and Ansari 2019). There is thus no common formula that can work for every country in every condition. Depending on the macro and micro factors that a country is facing, the marketing strategies and tactics that are to be used by the countries to brand themselves will change. This is the approach that can help the countries in branding themselves in a positive light. No country can skip the impact of the negative stereotypes they face. However, this issue can be resolved with a positive and innovative approach towards this problem. As Avraham (2020) has also studied, nation branding is being done in varied ways nowadays. Various platforms available to the countries are being utilized by their representatives to ensure that the negative stereotypes can be broken. According to Haneef and Ansari (2019), even in Expo 2020, the countries coming up with tailor-made marketing strategies focused on the current scenario the world is facing would be able to make an impact. This is of utmost importance for all nations to utilize events like Dubai Expo 2020 for nation branding. Marketing strategies that are suitable today need to be innovative and varied.

Expos are not only a platform but it also helps nations to promote innovations and cultures and it can be determined as a social platform to engage more people on a global, grand scale.  While the design and formats of Expos have remained consistent for several years, contemporary expos incorporate several practices of nation branding through the national pavilion which is the core part of the entire system. The stylized pavilion helps to deliver and define nation brand to all visitors with an objective of cultivating appreciation and awareness. Actually, Expos can be defined as a platform of consumption and production of the national brands. As pavilions help to improve the nation's image, it explores several challenges and opportunities in several practices of the nation's branding through this platform. It also concludes with several observations about the future expos as audience experience and participation continue to diversify in this world. For exploring practices of nation branding in the World expos, it is essential to realize the significance and relevance of nations branding to improving nation’s image. On the other hand, branding mainly comprises three activities and those are brand communication, brand management, and brand definition. The Expos are increasingly incorporating nations branding through the participation of several nations in varied and vivid ways, especially through the platforms of the national pavilion. According to Shim et al., the national pavilion is mainly build with a themed environment that aims to cultivate and identify the distinctive and positive identity of a country. They are actually designed and developed as a “multifunctional space” that helps to encompass indoor exhibitions, meeting spaces, architectural frames, and others with a possibility of national representation. A pavilion physically includes exhibition displays, physical layout, and architectural design. All of these things help to transform physical space into a space of cultural significance and meaning.

Stereotyping can be defined as a cognitive process that includes all factors of an intercultural process: the way an individual perceives members of several groups shape their behaviors and attitudes towards them, influencing different kinds of intercultural perspectives and interaction (Hao and Andy). The countries like South Africa, Malaysia, and others are focusing more on expos for nation banding through national pavilions and it can help them to eliminate all kinds of stereotypes. As an example, the pavilions in Austria feature a start-up and it gathers food wastages and also transforms it into gourmet food items (Gourlis, Georgios and Peter Holzer). Such an approach helps to highlight the needs for reusability. On the other hand, Slovenia aims to present itself as one of the crypto-currency nations, becoming the first nation of this World to issue NFTs or non-fungible tokens and also to offer visitors several gifts at the Expos (Kerkezi and Recep). Finland also makes waves with zero-waste agricultural technology and vertical farming systems based on principles of the circular economy. The pavilions of these countries are designed with several national symbols and narratives that help to incorporate cultural significance and meaning in a physical space. According to Zeineddine and Cornelia, several objectives of nations brand management influence several entities in the needs and efforts for establishing effective mechanisms or strategies to facilitate consistency and coherence in the brand communication of a nation. Highly specific and richly imagined pavilions, cultural spaces help to explore real-world experiences, it can stimulate the interest of the public to transform and visit experiences of visitors into liking and understanding of several countries represented. The national pavilion provides multisensory experiences of different cultures and nations and these are also emotive spaces which help to incorporate shared experiences and knowledge that are temporary and spatial. They also provide the setting for cultural engagement and direct contact. As World Expo is an important venue for the public diplomacy and it can not only be enjoyed but also experienced and remembered. Such memories help to crystalize pavilion experiences of the visitors and it is one of the main indicators to measure communicative effectiveness and capability. The brand identity of a nation can be expressed and defined through physical spaces of pavilions. The main impact of digital technology and globalization is to reshape international communication practices including branding practices of a nation at Expos. World Expos also reflect international relations and a broader geo-economic and geo-political context for nations branding (Nadkarni and Sanjay).

No matter how well research has been done, there will be always gaps in I and these gaps need to be properly addressed. To begin with, most of the researches that are conducted upon nation branding and Expo 2020 has not covered all the points in a single research paper. There are lot of different views regarding the event which makes the papers more open ended to many questions. Second of all, the papers have either focused on Dubai as the host country for Expo 2020 and the benefits that the country is going to have or about nation branding and how countries use various marketing strategies to brand itself towards the world. There are very few explanations about the host countries and how they are going to brand themselves in this event is not well researched. Lastly, most of the papers have focused on the tourism and hospitality sector, which is relevant for Dubai, but other factors such as culture and technology should have been addressed. Same goes with other countries as majority of the focus have been on tourism and not covering much of other aspects such as innovation and technology. The comparative analysis is necessary for any research paper which has been missing in most of the papers. The aim of this research will be to provide all the necessary information about Expo 2020, about how Expo 2020 is helping nations in branding and focusing the host and the participating nations as well. It will be a thoroughly discussed paper about the Expo 2020 and nation branding taking both the host and the participating countries into consideration.

Research philosophy

Research philosophy is implemented to develop the studies of the research in details. The various research philosophies include positivism, realism and interpretivism. Interpretivism includes management activities whereas positivism develops an in-depth analysis of a particular research, whereas realism includes mixed tactic of all the philosophies (Saunders et al. 2015). The  positivism approach will be used to conduct this study. The other two researches are not required for this particular study.

Research philosophy can be defined as the beliefs of different methods or ways in which data or information of a particular phenomenon must be gathered, used, and analyzed according to Hürlimann and Christian. Research philosophy mainly deals with various ways of knowledge development. This matter requires to be acknowledged as the researchers can make several assumptions about several traits of knowledge and truth (Ponce et al.). Research philosophy can help researchers to realize their assumptions. Actually, research philosophy lies at the external part of a research onion. Research philosophy helps to reflect the important assumptions of the authors and all of these assumptions deliver the main base of research strategy (Melnikovas and Aleksandras). Research philosophy includes several branches that are related to various disciplines. Research philosophy actually represents the thoughts of the researchers following which reliable and new knowledge about a research object can be obtained. It is actually main base of a research and it involves research strategy, problem identification, data collection, analysis and processing.

Mainly four types of research philosophies are there and those are interpretivism, realism, pragmatism and positivism.  According to several authors such as Alharahsheh, Husam Helmi and Abraham Pius, positivism research philosophy helps to describe a certain perspective that “factual” knowledge can be achieved only through observation and the measurement, is also trustworthy. In positivism research philosophy, the main role of the researchers is somehow limited to data interpretation and collection in a specific way. In other words, in this type of research philosophy, research findings or results are usually quantifiable and observable (Ryan and Gemma). Positivism research philosophy depends on several quantifiable observations and these may lead to statistical data analyses. Apart from this, in positivism research studies, the researchers are independent form research study. There is no provision for human interest within the research study. Positivism research philosophy has some certain principles. The research must aim to predict and explain. Research must be empirically observable empirically through human senses. Inductive reasoning must be applied for developing statement or hypotheses that need to be evaluated and tested during a research process. The science and the common sense are completely different. Science should be judged based on the logic and it must also be value-free. Pragmatism research approach accepts different relevant concepts and these concepts help to support various actions. According to Jaszczolt and Kasia, pragmatic research philosophy explains that different types of ways or methods are there that can undertake the entire research process and interpret all data or information. Interpretivism and positivism research philosophies are two main paradigms and most of the popular research topic fall under these two research philosophies. In a pragmatism approach, the research questions are the most essential determinants of the research philosophy.

Pragmatist researchers use different materials, methods and processes needed to generate find all answers of research questions. Realism research approach depends on the main idea or concepts of “independence of reality” from human mind. This research philosophy is mainly based on assumptions of the scientific method to the knowledge development. Realism can also be classified into two major groups and those are critical and direct. Direct realism research philosophy can be explained as a research philosophy that helps to focus more on different information collected through observations and research, and it can also be defined as a “native realism”. Apart from this, a direct realism approach helps to portray this world through the personal human sense. On the other hand, Fletcher and Amber stated that critical realism is known as an anther realism approach that helps to display that people do experience the feelings, images of the reality and sensations. According to the critical realism, images and sensations of the reality are deceptive and these factors do not display the reality.  Specifically, the researchers follow critical realism philosophy to appreciate the interrelationship and influence between the group, the organization and individual. Irshaidat and Rand stated that interpretivism research philosophy is known as an interpretivist approach that involves a researcher to interpret and analyse all important elements or factors of a research study, therefore interpretivism research approach can integrate human interests into the research study. Accordingly, the interpretive researchers also predict that accessibility to the reality can be conducted through social construction such as consciousness, language, instruments and shared meanings. Development of the interpretivist research philosophy depends on critique of the positivism approach in social science (Kankam and Philip Kwaku). Accordingly, this research philosophy focuses more on qualitative data analysis over quantitative method. But among these four research philosophies, positivism approach was applied in this paper.

There are three types of research approaches: deductive, inductive, and abductive. The importance of hypothesis to the study is the main distinguishing point between deductive and inductive approach. Deductive approach is used to test the legitimacy of the assumptions in hand, whereas the inductive approach subsidizes to the advent of new theories and generalizations. Abductive approach deals with elements of surprise and puzzles and it is being explained in the research. The inductive research approach will be used to conduct this study. It generally deals with the research questions, aims, and objectives necessary during this research process (Alase 2017).

Researchers adopting a deductive research methodology take the processes described for an inductive research method and also reverse their orders (Pearse and Noel). They generally begin with the social theory and they also find it compelling and after that, test its applications or implications with several data or information. A deductive research method can be determined as one of the effective and important research methodologies that most of the people or researchers associate with a scientific investigation (Melnikovas and Aleksandras). The researchers also study what other researchers have already done, different existing theories of the phenomenon that the researcher is studying. After all of the above processes, the researcher tests the hypotheses emerged from these theories. But deductive approach also has some limitations or disadvantages. The conclusions or findings of a research study will be true only if all premises described in an inductive approach are clear and true. On the other hand, in an inductive research approach, the researchers begin with a collection of observations. After that, the researchers move from a particular experience to the collection of several propositions about these experiences (Woo et al.).

Inductive research approach supports creation of several new theories and follows flexibility. In abductive research methodology or approach, mainly the research processes begin with “surprising facts” or “puzzles,” and these surprising facts may emerge while a researcher encounters with the empirical phenomena and it cannot be evaluated by existing theories.  Abductive research develops qualitative analysis method that mainly aims to theory construction. This research approach depends on cultivation of empirical and anomalous findings against several existing theories (?elechowska et al.). Qualitative researchers also use creative and selective processes for examining how the information or data support various existing hypotheses or theories. An inductive research approach was applied in the above research paper as it helps to deal with the main research topic, objectives and aims that are essential during a research process. Inductive approach mainly starts with many observations and the researchers can propose several social theories at the end of research process after evaluating all data or information collected through observations.

There are major three types of research design which includes descriptive, exploratory and explanatory which are used to design and carry out a research. Out of these three-research designs, analytical research design helps to understand and evaluate the study descriptively. The exploratory design is applied to understand the concept at the beginning ng stage of the research and explanatory design is used in developing a relationship among two other variables which is under consideration (Flick 2015). In this research, analytical research design will be implemented to gain a comprehensive idea of the prevailing theories and concepts relating to the study; while the other two designs will be rejected.

The researchers always try to identify the explanations for existence of different phenomenon and they also want to realize “why” a specific phenomenon occurs. According to Risi and David, descriptive research strategy includes using quantitative and qualitative research approaches for collecting data or information that aid to describe research problems accurately. Descriptive research method can be defined as one of the important research designs and the main objective of this research design is to obtain several information or data to describe a situation, population and phenomenon systematically (Di Francesco et al.). It helps to provide answers the when, how, what and where questions regarding research problems rather than why. In descriptive research method, the researchers do not manipulate or control any variables. These variables are also identified, measured and observed. Analytical research strategy tends to quantify relationships between two main factors and that is impacts of exposure or intervention on outcomes. Apart from this, analytical research strategy helps to ensure that analytical efforts are focused properly, executed and planned carefully. Analytical research strategy also helps to bring subtle details together for creating more possible solutions. Exploratory research method can be determined as an effective method that helps in investigating research problems which are not defined clearly (Wendt and Maria). Exploratory research strategy helps to better realise existing problems. The researchers usually start to conduct a research with basic ideas and applies exploratory research design as one of the effective mediums for identifying various issues or problems that may become the central part of future research. This type of research is mainly conducted while the problems are at primary stage and it sometimes refers to grounded theory or interpretive approach because it provides answers of several questions such as how, what and why. According to Swedberg and Richard, Exploratory research approach has many limitations that include small sampling size, outdated information, lack of the standardized analysis and delivering inconclusive results that can hamper authentication of several information or data. One of the main drawbacks of this research design is its subsequent analysis and qualitative data. It is quite hard to derive insights accurately that can also be summarized and analysed in an effective manner. Explanatory research design can be defined as an effective approach that helps to explore why something happens while limited information or data is available. This research design is known as “cause and effect” model. This model investigates different trends and patterns in existing information or data that are not being investigated previously. According to Iden et al., explanatory research design analyses causal relationship that helps to formulate hypotheses and it can also guide future research. To ensure that the researcher is conducting explanatory research accurately and properly, the data analysis must be causal, not correlated. Causal evidence should meet three main criteria and those are, variation, temporal and non-suspicious. But the main drawback of explanatory research design is that it often lacks conclusive outcomes. Among all of these research designs, analytical research design was applied in this research paper as it helped to assess all important facts by using critical thinking and analytical skills. Analytical research approach has several limitations but the advantages of this research approach outweigh all of its drawbacks.

This study will depend on the collection of both primary and secondary data sources. Primary data will be collected from sources like interviews and surveys during the process, and the secondary sources will include research papers, secondary sources from original websites, peer reviewed journals and verified news and magazines (Smith 2015). Both primary and secondary data will be used to conduct this research for this paper.

Two different types of data collection methods are there and those are secondary data collection method and primary data collection method. These two data collection methods or techniques help to father several information from the research participants and different articles, journals and research studies of various authors. According to Pitt and Edd, primary data collection method helps to directly collect several data from the research participants rather than focusing on the data or information gathered previously. This data collection method helps to gather several information through interviews, experiments and surveys. In this type of data collection method, the researchers ensure that all primary data or information meet the standard of availability, sampling, statistical power and quality needed for the research questions. With increased access to certain survey tools, field manuals, survey forms and others have become the main source for several data or information. A clear communication process is required to ensure both respondents and enumerators can easily understand survey questions. After collecting all data or information, the survey forms provide the final reports and these reports can be utilised for improving the quality of data or information in the last phase of data collection. Primary data collection method helps to resolve and address several issues or problems related to the main research topic. It also helps to provide the latest and up-to-date information but sometimes it may expensive and time-consuming (Clark et al.). On the other hand, secondary data mainly refers to information gathered by someone and some important secondary data sources are organizational records, previous research studies and papers. The researchers can easily access several secondary information sources and the cost of such data collection process is also low. Most of the secondary information resources are completely free and it saves money as well as efforts. According to Johnston and Melissa, the researchers can reanalyse all old information or data and such approach can bring new point of views and understandings. Secondary data research allows the researchers to perform longitudinal analysis that helps to define different trends. Apart from this, a lot of secondary information or data are available online with variety of resources. But some limitations are also present in secondary data collection technique. The secondary information may lack quality and sometimes, it can be noticed that some information resources are not clear. So, the researchers should evaluate the validity and reliability of the secondary sources before making any data-driven decisions (Williams, Trenton and Shepherd). In this research paper, both secondary and primary data collection technique were applied for collecting several information. Secondary research was chosen as this all secondary information helped to focus more on perspectives of several authors. Many journal articles, books, magazines and newspapers were analysed for conducting the above research paper. Primary data collection technique was also chosen as this method played a major role in providing all current and reliable data or information about the main research topic and resolving the main research problems through statistical data analysis method.

Profitability and no profitability are the two types of sampling techniques that are used for carrying out this particular research (Taherdoost 2016). Simple random sampling technique will also be used in this research to understand the topic better. In this research, the sample size will be 300. This will include people of different nations participating in this Expo 2020. Interviews and surveys will be conducted with them to collect the necessary data to proceed with   this research.

In statistics, sampling process or technique can be defined as a method of studying population by collecting and analysing several information. According to Sarstedt et al., profitability sampling method can be used for selecting a sample from a large population while this selection depends on the randomization principles. Profitability sampling method is a complex process and it is also costlier compared to non-profitability sampling process. One of the main objectives of profitability sampling process is to decrease sampling errors of estimates for important variables of survey, while reducing the cost and time of completing this survey. According to Brar et al., SRS or simple random sampling process can be defined as a method in which each of the sampling units of a certain population has equal opportunity of being selected in a sample. According to several authors such as Mendoza et al., simple random sampling is a common method that is used mostly and one of the main benefits of this sampling technique is, SRS does not need any information or data on survey frames. Most of the researchers choose this sampling technique to make generalization about a certain population. The main advantages of SRS include lack of bias and its simplicity. While there are several groups of researchers, there is always a possibility than unconscious or conscious bias will occur in applications of data (Zaman, Tolga and Erdem Toksoy). SRS helps to decrease this risk factor but the main limitation of this sampling technique is that it requires a large sample size. Non-profitability sampling is known as a method or sampling in which a researcher selects all samples depending on subjective judgement of that researcher. Non-profitability sampling process heavily depends on expertise of a researcher. The researchers use this sampling technique mostly for conducting qualitative research. In this sampling process. Each member has equal opportunity of being selected in the research study. This sampling is also useful for different exploratory research studies such as pilot survey (Sarstedt et al.). Researchers mainly use this sampling technique in those studies or research where it becomes impossible to pick random probability sampling because of cost or time considerations. Among all of the sampling techniques, non-profitability and profitability sampling processes were used in this research paper.

The qualitative and quantitative data both will be analyzed while conducting this research using different methods such as interviews and surveys. The qualitative data will be collected through surveys and interviews and, the collected data will be converted into numbers and percentages to gain a complete and comparative data that has been collected in this process. (Chambers et al. 2018). Further these data can be converted into charts and graph to make the research more specific and real. 

Demographic Questions

Fig1: Demographic Questions

(Source: Created by Author) 

Nation Branding and its role in nation development                                                        Fig2: Nation Branding and its role in nation development

(Source: Created by Author) 

Data analysis of survey results

Data analysis of survey results

Data analysis of survey results

Data analysis of survey results      

Fig3: Data analysis of survey results

(Source: Created by Author) 

Expo 2020 and the importance of it for Dubai

Fig4: Expo 2020 and the importance of it for Dubai

(Source: Created by Author)

Role of Expo 2020 in nation branding for all the participating nations

Fig5: Role of Expo 2020 in nation branding for all the participating nations

(Source: Created by Author)

From the above data analysis, it can be stated that 61% of the total participants are female and the remaining 39% are male participants (Fig4).  During the time of analysing the data, one hundred and thirty-one participants were found to be falling under the category of 25 to 30 years of age. Total 109 participants were capable to withdraw an income of above 25000. Total 85 research participants agree with the concept that expos can help the countries to display their strengths and 87 participants also agree that the expos can improve tourism and hospitality sector of a country in a much larger scale. It can also be stated from the above data analysis that expos help in nations branding and nations branding is also aligned closely with the country’s economic condition. So, there is no doubt that nations branding can improve brand image and success of a country. Nation branding can help to improve nation’s image and it is necessary to keep in minds the fact that nation’s image can be influenced by social, economic and political aspects. Nations branding helps to maintain and build the strategic advantage of a country with an objective of economic improvement. Most of the countries want to manage its reputation through nations branding and they aim to attract investment capital and more investors as it can influence the economic vitality of a country. Total 76 research participants agree and 48 participants strongly agree with the concept that the expos can make several positive impacts on the nations branding of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The expos can also help to promote cultures, technological improvements and tourism development in the UAE. 82 research participants agree and 54 participants strongly agree that expos can help to improve economic condition of the UAE. Apart from this, it can also be stated expos can create more job opportunities for the people in UAE. From investments to celebrity involvement and advertisement, Expo 2020 makes a huge contribution in improving the economic condition of the UAE.  75 research participants agree and 44 participants strongly agree with the concept that expos can help the countries to display their strengths as with the help of world expos, the countries can attract more visitors or audience and improve its nations branding.  On the other hand, 70 participants agree that stereotypes make negative impacts on nations branding and 60 people strongly agree with this concept. Nation branding is significantly important that can help a country to improve its brand image and success. 53 participants strongly agree that participating nations are promoting their brand values through World Expos. 63 participants also agree with this concept. The pavilions of different countries apply several branding practices in narrative strategies and design about a specific country represented. The pavilion of a country serves as a gateway to innovation and culture.  From the above data analysis, it can be stated that 77 research participants strongly agree that pavilions of different countries play a significant role in promoting sustainability, mobility and opportunity.  

Following ethical guideline is a part of every research and so it will be followed properly during this research. All the participants of this research will be filling a consent form during an interview to make sure that they have participated willingly and no participants will be pressurized to take part in an interview of a survey against their will. No particular logo or symbol will be used to represent any organization and the research process will be completely academic and will not portray any kind of advertisement. Proper permission will be taken from the officials of the event and an authorization letter will be signed from the university to validate the research process and it will work as a proof in the field. For carrying out the secondary research, various research papers, official sources, official newspapers and magazines and peer reviewed journals will be used to collect secondary data for the research process and proper references with citations will be provided in the research paper.

Ethical consideration can be defined as one of the main principles of any research study that help to guide and follow specific research practices and designs (McIntosh et al.). Researchers and scientists should adhere to “code of conduct” always while collection information or data from participants or people. Ethical considerations in a research help to protect the rights of all research participants and improve research validity. Ethical considerations of a research also help to improve scientific integrity. Research ethics actually matters for human rights, a collaboration between society and science, dignity, and scientific integrity. All of these principles help to ensure that participation is informed, safe and voluntary for a research subject. The researchers can balance pursuing essential research objectives by using different ethical research procedures and methods. It is necessary to decrease excessive and permanent harms to all research participants. Defying ethical research considerations may lower research credibility as it becomes hard for other people to trust on the data or information if research method is morally questionable. Informed consent is known as a situation where all research participants to understand and receive all important information or data they require to make decisions on providing personal information. This includes several information about benefits, funding, institutional approval and risks of the study. Confidentiality is also an important factor that helps to ensure the privacy of all personal data or information. The research participants have rights to privacy and for this reason, it is necessary to protect all personal information or data as long as it is stored or used.  Therefore, ethical considerations of a research help to support values needed for a collaborative work like fairness and mutual respect. It is essential as the success of an entire research process relies on the collaboration between several groups and researchers. Apart from this, ethical considerations help to convey that the researchers are accountable for all of their actions.

In this research, permission had been taken from all research participants before collecting information from them. The University signed authorization letter that helped to validate this research process. For conducting secondary research, different official resources, peer reviewed articles, journal papers and magazines were utilised for collecting several secondary information. Citations were provided with proper references as a valid proof.

In the research, there are always certain limitations which restricts or slows down the research process. For this research, the time frame will be a problem as only a limited amount of time is there to carry out this particular research and any kind of disturbance within this time can create a barrier in the research process. In addition to this, the availability of monetary resources for conducting this research can be a problem as it will get limited with time and research will get constrained. Furthermore, unavailability and inaccessibility of required sources can also be a constraint in a research process also the response gained from the audience might not be enough for gaining a particular outcome and deciding a proper conclusion. Further, problems might arise related to gaining permission for interviews and surveys in the event which would add some extra time and effort to overcome this process. However, the research has been planned in a most proper way and it would be feasible during the practical approach and so it will be possible to successfully complete the research within the given time period.

 

List of Activities

1st – 5th

 

Day

6th –7th

 

Day

8th – 9th

 

Day

9th – 10th

 

Day

10th – 11st

 

Day

11st – 12nd

 

Day

15th

 

Day

Topic selection

Data collection from primary and secondary sources

Layout creation

Literature review

Analysis and interpretation of collected data

Data findings

Conclusion of the study

Draft formation

Final submission

Conclusion

From the above data analysis, it can be stated that the Expos can help the countries to showcase their strengths and boost hospitality and tourism sectors such as attractions and hotels of different countries in a much larger scale. One of the most significant advantages of Expo is that it can help and lead to create brand relevancy. Expo has a great transformative power that helps to shape perceptions of cultures and nations and also helps to increase awareness of international participants and host country by enhancing the reputation and image of a nation. Expos are actually a global event or program that help to find the most appropriate solutions of different challenges faced by humans by providing a journey in the chosen theme through immersive and engaging activities. The expo also helps to improve economic condition of a country through nation branding. Dubai Expo 2020 is a popular event that helped the UAE to promote its cultures, technologies, tourism and economy. Dubai Expo 2020 can create several can create several job opportunities in this country. Not only the Expos but the pavilions of different countries also help to promote sustainability, mobility and opportunity. The Expos can attract more visitors by catalysing changes and creating new dynamics in host countries. Through combining different types of sensual and visual experiences, the expos can offer memorable experience to all visitors and participants. The creative and innovative architecture of the expos, interactive exhibit in international pavilion, different cultural programmes and modern technologies make the Expos engaging and convivial experience for the visitors. Expos encourage and advance meeting of several new cultures and fostering a great understanding among the people. For citizens, the World expos have a capacity to explore dreams, inspiration and desires, elevating self-awareness and boosting mobility. Participating in the Expos allow a country to develop a miniature world and expos also provide an international and unique platform for and interacting with host country, trade partners, investors and potential tourists. Through dedicated spaces or pavilions, the countries project themselves to a large, diverse and captive audiences, developing global village which offers unprecedented experiences to participants and visitors. The world expos provide the best platform for the organization and other countries to improve the brand success and image through meaningful interactions. Although, it may be costly and time-consuming but they can provide several benefits such as experimental marketing and others. Expos play a major role for the visitors in connecting with several prospects through engagement and face-to-face communication process. World expos are the most powerful ways to develop brand image and having an eye-catching and creative custom exhibition can help a country to promote its brand image. But the stereotypes can make negative impacts on the country’s brand image and success. So, from the above data analysis it can be stated that the World Expos can help a country to improve its brand image and economic condition. 

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