“Our results also indicate that with sensory stimulation and dramatic resonance, the UAE Pavilion was the most successful in presenting its national image at the Shanghai EXPO. It serves as a revealing case of “strategic narrative” in nation brand storytelling by achieving an even balance between �credibility’ and �novelty’ through its content and expressions. Most important, this was accomplished with an adept grasp of the contextual dynamics of the Shanghai Expo. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the UAE pavilion made a distinctive, positive impact on the image of the country among the Chinese public.” This is a direct quotation from the closing remarks of a book published by the University of Southern California Centre on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School. The authors, Professor Jian Wang and Dr Shaojing Sun were reporting on the results of a survey entitled: Experiencing National Brands, A Comparative Analysis of Eight National Pavilions at EXPO Shanghai 2010. The report gave its top rating to the UAE at EXPO 2010 and presents a detailed statistical analysis of a visitor survey that revealed ‘significant’ differences in results from the UAE Pavilion in several areas of questioning.
Basing their analysis on two key dimensions of human appraisal, i.e. subjective experience and behavioural experience, the authors further subdivided subjective experience into three dimensions, i.e. sensory, affective, and intellectual. The UAE came top in all three of these subjective experiences and was declared as the overall top performer with significant statistical differences confirming the result.
The academic study on public diplomacy posed the question: “What specifically did UAE do right in delivering a compelling nation brand experience?” It goes on to state that “the UAE’s national story of development, from poverty to prosperity appeared to resonate well with its Chinese visitors”. The authors also expressed the view that the way the exhibition at the UAE Pavilion was laid out provided a key to its success: “Most central to the success of the UAE pavilion and, to some extent, Spain, is the employment of a succession of cutting edge, high impact cinematic presentations that delivered thrilling, immersive experiences for their visitors.” This report comes on top of an earlier survey based on visitor experience at EXPO 2010. Conducted by Jao Tang University, that also gave top rating to the UAE. More recently the UAE Pavilion at Yeosu, Korea was awarded a silver medal in the official contest, based on assessment by a panel of judges. China took the gold medal in the same class.
The UAE is now making arrangements for its participation in EXPO 2015 Milan and is competing against four other countries to host EXPO 2020 in Dubai.
“We were pleased to read Professor Wang’s book and to see that his research supported our own observations on visitor responses to our EXPO Pavilion in Shanghai”, stated H.H. Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Media Council which is responsible for the UAE’s EXPO pavilions . “We put a great deal of effort into creating a successful participation in the event and it is gratifying to see that we achieved our desired goal. We look forward to doing the same in Milan and to hosting the world in Dubai if we win the bid to host EXPO 2020”, he added.