‘Australia’s reputation in India badly tarnished’

Australia`s reputation in India has been badly tarnished following attacks on Indian students, said a British branding expert.

Last Updated: Oct 14, 2010, 12:03 PM IST

Melbourne: Australia`s reputation in
India has been badly tarnished following attacks on Indian
students, said a British branding expert, who also termed the
island nation as a "dumb blonde" of the world which is
attractive but "shallow and unintelligent".

Simon Anholt, advisor to over 40 countries on national
identity and reputation, said that the result of an annual
reputation survey -- which he oversees with the public affairs
company GfK Roper -- showed Australia`s reputation in India
has been badly tarnished by the attacks.

"The damage to Australia`s reputation in India is
quite severe," he was quoted as saying by `The Age` newspaper.

Australia`s one-dimensional image meant that events
such as attacks on Indian students could do greater damage
here than in countries with which people were more familiar.

"A well-rounded national reputation is an insurance
policy against that kind of thing," said Anholt while
addressing a conference on international education in Sydney
organised by IDP Education, the international student
recruitment company half-owned by 38 Australian universities.

According to survey, in 2008, the Indian panel of
respondents ranked Australia seventh in the world for
promoting equality within society but in 2010, its rank on
this measure dropped to 34th.

Overall, the survey of 39,000 people in 26 countries
ranked Australia the ninth-most admired country in the world.

Australia was ranked best in the world for natural
beauty and as a place to visit if money was no object, Anholt
said.

However, he said, the success of Australia`s tourism
promotion campaigns had produced an "unbalanced" view of the
country.

"What you have is an image of a country that is
considered to be very decorative, but not very useful," he
said, adding Australia relied too much on "logos and slogans"
in its efforts to change people`s minds about the country.

Rather than waste time fiddling around with
promotional campaigns, what Australia needs to do is to invest
in the sectors which demonstrate its seriousness and its
capability and education is one of them, he said, adding
another such area was culture.

Australia was unusual among developed nations in not
having an organisation devoted to the promotion of culture,
such as Germany`s Goethe Institute or France`s Alliance
Francaise, Anholt said.

PTI