Portland launches Place Branding practice

Portland has appointed leading soft power and place branding expert Jonathan McClory as Director for Branding and Global Engagement.

He will head the Agency’s Place Branding Practice, serving countries, regions, and cities. The team will provide comprehensive, evidence-based strategies to enhance their reputations through campaigns combining policy, communications, branding, and marketing. McClory brings years of experience at the cutting edge of research and analysis on place branding and soft power (the ability of nations to use attraction in achieving objectives).

He has worked in both research and brand consultancy – developing the Soft Power Index while at the Institute for Government – used as a benchmark by foreign ministries across the globe – and working on global campaigns, Thailand being the largest. Jonathan has played a key role in Portland’s work on brand building for clients in the Middle East and Europe as a consultant over the past two years.

Deploying Jonathan’s expertise in the field, Portland will use soft power as an analytical framework to underpin a pioneering approach to place branding and government reputation management. Building on Portland’s strong track-record of advising governments, the firm’s new practice will provide clients with a comprehensive approach to building a stronger global brand, from research and analysis to strategy, through to the full range of branding and marketing products and services.

As a widely recognised expert in soft power, McClory has advised governments in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East on reputation, policy, and brand strategies. He was an expert witness to the House of Lord’s Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence, appearing before the committee in 2013.

McClory said, “The international reputation – or brand – of a country, region, or city has never been more crucial to success in the global economy. Soft power provides the ideal framework for helping governments understand and improve their global reputation. Portland is an industry leader in strategic communications and no other firm will be able to match Portland’s comprehensive, end-to-end service of building a stronger international brand for places and governments.”

Portland’s Managing Director Tim Allan said, “Portland has a wealth of experience supporting countries and cities with their communications. Our expertise in government communications is unrivalled, both in global reputation management and capability-building. Developing a world-class Place Branding practice is a natural evolution, and there is nobody better qualified than Jonathan McClory to lead it. He is a real expert in the field, with a deep understanding of the issues that drive perceptions of country brands. We are delighted to have him join our rapidly-growing team”.