Branding in International Organizations (ongoing)

Case Study:
Branding in the United Nations System

My research aims to contribute to the effectiveness of global institutions such as the UN system or the EU. These organizations, which have contributed to global peace and social and economic advancement for more than 70 years, are under siege. Countries quit their membership, politicians withdraw funding, and in many parts of the world the public lacks interest in and support for these organizations.

One of the reasons for this dwindling support is poor understanding of the role, activities, and contribution of these organizations. To counter misperceptions and improve understanding, communication experts in these organizations increasingly employ marketing concepts that have their origin in the for-profit world: branding and brand management. While the practice is increasing, very little research and literature exists that could aid professionals in using branding concepts in the context of international organizations.

With my research, I aim to fill this gap in scholarship by developing a set of theories, models, and best practices for branding in international organizations (for example UNESCO or the World Food Program) and in a network of international organizations (for example the UN system). I have presented insights at a number of UN and academic fora, for example for UN communication experts (2016), on a panel on branding in the UN system at the UN in Geneva (2017), and two academic conferences (Austrian Research and Innovation Talk 2017, Academic Council of the UN System 2018).

Selection of Related Work

  • “The United Nations Brand Challenge.” Case for the course Global Marketing Management for Fletcher’s Master of Global Business Administration. 2019.
  • “Towards a Better Understanding of the United Nations.” Presentation at the Academic Council of the UN System (ACUNS) annual meeting. Rome. July 2018.
  • “Global Perception of the United Nations: An Annotated Guide to Major Global, Regional, and US Polls.” Working paper. Mar 2018.
  • “Branding at the United Nations: Four Steps Towards a Better Understanding of the UN.” Concept note. Feb 2018.
  • “Branding in the UN System: Five Theses.” Presentation at the panel “UN BRANDED: A Look at Branding & Visual Identity in the UN System.” UN in Geneva. Dec 2017. Download
  •  “Branding the United Nations.” Poster presentation at the Austrian Research and Innovation Talk (ARIT). Austin, TX. Oct 2017. Download
  • “Strategic Communication and Branding in International Organizations: The Case of the United Nations – UN-Internal Perspective on Branding at the UN-Secretariat and the UN-System-Wide Level.” Report of the Master’s Thesis research. The Fletcher School. 24 May 2017. Receive thesis by sending an email to
  • “How to ‘Sell’ an IGO – an Intergovernmental Organization.” Presentation. Sciences Po. Oct 2016.
  • “Public Information in UN Peacekeeping Missions: An Overview.” Research paper (unpublished). The Fletcher School. May 2016.
  • “The United Nations’ Communications Regime.” Research paper (unpublished). The Fletcher School. April 2016.
  • “The United Nations Organizational Chart Revisited: Drafting an Alternative Chart That Explains What the UN Is and Does.” Research paper (unpublished). The Fletcher School. Dec 2015.
  • “Does the United Nations Apply Propaganda in Its Communication Outreach?” Research paper (unpublished). The Fletcher School. Dec 2015.
  • “Strategic Communication in Complex International Organizations: Designing Information and Communication Models That Facilitate Understanding of the UN and Generating Support for the UN.” Research proposal. Nov 2014.
  • “Re-Branding the United Nations.” Presentation and report. Koç University. Dec 2013.