Nye contrasted soft power with hard power and defined soft power as “the ability to influence others through attraction and persuasion rather than coercion and payment. According to Nye’s definition, “soft power” is rooted in a country’s culture and values, not in its political system, although the term has become almost inextricably linked to democracy promotion by the United States and Western European countries. Eric Lee’s article in Foreign Policy magazine sums up the rise and fall of “soft power,” and I was struck by the obvious parallels with the shift in budgets from brand building to innovation and sales activism. “Soft Power. “It’s a curious combination of ideas, isn’t it – how soft can soft power be? Butsoft power’ can be associated with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Arab Spring, and the influence the United States continues to have on many people around the world. And in a summary, Nye states, “Propaganda is not credible and therefore not appealing. “Soft power must be followed by action, but not just the action of a government, but the action of its people, its institutions and its culture.” What I admire about the concept of “soft power” in international relations is that it is misunderstood and misinterpreted, just as people misunderstand and misinterpret how brands help generate sales. Third, in his book Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, Nye acknowledges that soft power is not just about achieving certain goals, but about creating conditions that facilitate the achievement of certain political goals. Soft power, in turn, is a company’s ability to create demand, to ensure that people want to use a product or service, seek it out and, most importantly, are willing to pay a price for it. Today, as democracies are challenged around the world, the focus is no longer on soft power, and most of the world has shifted its attention to the hard power of business and the military. For a company, “soft power” is its brand. However, as Lee points out, soft power has not stopped North Korea from developing nuclear missiles or Iran from submitting to U.S. pressure, and China has shown that the trade embargo is a two-way street that only brings chaos for the people and companies involved. When a head of state chooses hard power and has the power to do so, it trumps soft power, just as the iPhone trumped Nokia and Blackberry. Second, soft power does not come from governments, although their actions may promote it or undermine it. Brands use both hard and soft power to gain market share. Nye goes so far as to say that “soft power” is not so much determined by governments as by a country’s culture and values. One consequence of the fact that “soft power” flows from “hard power” is that “hard power” alone is not enough to achieve the goal. First, and most importantly, soft power cannot be separated from hard power.