Corporations as Diplomatic Actors: Conceptualizing International Communication Tools
This chapter presents a theoretical look on the available international communication tools that can be used by multinational corporations (MNCs) to engage in diplomatic relations. Specifically, the chapter will provide details about three concepts: lobbying, nation brands, and commercial diplomacy. The research objective is to propose a conceptual framework that (i) explains when and how a specific tool should be used and (ii) demonstrates the inherent connection between the tools. The main assumption in this research is that communication is an essential aspect of conducting international businesses. There are two different categories at the center of these communication attempts. First, MNCs address politicians and other key decision-makers within the local political systems in order to start their businesses. Second, local populations should be persuaded to consume their goods and services. The focus in this chapter is the interplay between the three communication tools that are used to address these two audiences. It is argued that even though there are differences between the needs and expectations of decision-makers and consumers, the communication campaigns used to address one audience affects the other.