What is a brand in your opinion?
A brand is reaction to an entity such as a company or product, usually strongly associated with a word-mark that is often the product name or company name. It is a perception in the mind of the audience. As such a brand differs from person to person, the goal most companies have is to get as many people as possible to react favourably to the brand so they will be inclined to buy stuff bearing the brand mark in future.
It’s a psychological tool for securing future sales, income, or good will.
Do you think the UK as a country has an image?
Everything on which a group of people share a consensus has an image. That’s what an image is - shared opinion. One thing can have more than one image, strong branding attempts to reduce any conflict in the images people have, and control the perspective through which they see things.
Would you say that a country is a brand?
No. A country has an image - as everything does - but it is not a brand. It can be bastardised into that thought process by considering a country name as though it is a product in a branding exercise - but that is entirely artificial. A country is a vast interaction of people in a myriad of complex ways all confined in one geographical area. The area itself may change over time, so a country isn’t even the land its made of. It’s not a single physical thing, it’s not even a singular concept - it is a collection of systems and interactions that emerge from the people within it.
A country may have an image relating to aspects of it - “Japan is beautiful and the people polite”, “Britain has a rich and long history”, “German manufacturing is high quality” - but these are not brands and neither is the country.