Ten years ago, how many average people in the Western world had any reason to think about Qatar? How many people had even heard of it?
Fast forward to 2012, and Qatar has become the country everyone’s talking about. And usually for the right reasons, thanks to the determined image building and reputation management strategy implemented by the country’s leader.
Qatar has been getting richer since its independence from Britain in 1971, when it began to fully exploit its enormous reserves of oil and natural gas. After ousting his father from the throne in 1995, the current Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has put this tiny country firmly on the map.
As discussed in detail by Kenneth Wardrop in his recent article for Place Management & Branding, Qatar’s nation branding efforts have been extravagant, as befits a country with unlimited wealth. As Mr. Wardrop pointed out, Qatar showcases a unique and fascinating ‘if money were no object’ nation branding exercise. Qatar is ambitious, and its efforts range from mega construction projects such as the New Doha International Airport and super-luxury dwelling complex the Pearl, to hosting major international events such as the World Petroleum Congress, Asian Games, and bidding for the 2020 Olympics. This month, Qatar will host its biggest international event yet – COP18, the United Nations conference on climate change. But Qatar’s biggest achievement so far has been winning the right to host the football World Cup in 2022 – the first ever Middle Eastern country to do so.