Branding Lebanon is used today by states as well as by corporations. Brands have become non-exclusive references generating flexible (universal and fragmented) communities of belonging. Inserted into a technological (ICT) setting, relationship to brands challenges the traditional framework of the relationship towards ‘authority’ and the display of identity providers — from pyramidal to network.
Moreover, the citizen legal and moral identity hitherto considered as a fixed state, and the exercise of citizenship hitherto seen as exclusively linked to nationality (within the legal and moral boundaries of the nation-state), are being fragmented in a post-national context and taken to other spheres and discourses, such as branding. In this fragmentation, a metaphorical transfer is operating, which generates, in a ‘marketplace of ideas’, a model of citizenship updated by the format generated by loyalty towards brands — the metaphorical flexible citizen-consumer of a delocalised and networked e-government.Through research into three case studies — the European flag, the Euro coins and banknotes, and the notion of capital-city of Europe — this work suggests particularly that branding is becoming a defining tool for political symbolism of post-national loyalties such as those generated by the European Union. The research has followed recent interest on ‘branding nations’ from brand consultants Wally Olins (Corporate Identity, 1989; Trading Identities, 1999; On Brands, 2003) and Simon Anholt (Brand America, 2004), to political scientists Mark Leonard (Britain TM, Renewing our Identity, 1997) and Professor Peter Van Ham (The Rise of the Brand State, 2001; Branding European Power, 2005). Design historian Jane Pavitt’s BRAND.NEW co-publication and co-curated exhibition held at the V&A in 2000 was also an inspiring source of thoughts. It is contended that branding can provide the conceptual framework for the analysis of phenomena in design and political science.