This study responds to a critical call for a blended policy-driven and communications-based approach to nation branding [Govers in Place Branding Public Dipl 9(2):71–75, 2013; Kelly in Place Branding Public Dipl 1–16, 2016]. This article examines how the Make in India (MII) campaign in its tone and urgency reflects strategic nation-branding communication aimed at ‘reframing’ India as a manufacturing destination. It examines the MII logo as a key visual signifier which enacts significant ‘reframing’ strategies for Brand India as it builds upon its emerging market status and the wider Indian institutional context. The analysis demonstrates how this re-alignment of perceptions is performed at the micro level by the verbo-visual logo, which in turn is enacted through strategy at the meso level and reflects perceptual shifts required by the nation brand at the macro level. The study uses visual semiotic analysis, recalls Barthes’ (in: Heath (ed) Image/music/text, Fontana, London, 1977) seminal work on text–image relations to introduce an extended application of the principles of ‘anchorage’ and ‘relay’, and draws upon ‘framing’ as a useful construct to discuss the semiotic import of visual devices and their differentiated role in investment branding initiatives. It acknowledges the reciprocity of investment promotion and nation branding strategies and seeks to provide an explicatory framework to academics and marketing practitioners.