According to the Nation Brands Index 2017, Switzerland held eighth place, which is the same as its 2016 ranking. The report was based on the Society for Consumer Research institute (GFK), and independent policy advisor Simon Anholt’s national branding surveys on 50 nations.
Switzerland’s image is closely related to its mountains. The nation’s image was greatly affected by natural phenomena and events in 2017 in two main areas. These were climate change related events in Valais, and the landslides in the town of Bondo,
The collapse of the Trift glacier was caused by melting ice, and the bodies of dead hikers were found in the Tsanfleuron and Hohlaub glaciers. These were manifestations of Switzerland’s exposure to the climate change. They also highlighted the country’s risk management ability. Local authorities had predicted these disasters and had taken precautions in advance.
Nicolas Bideau, president of the Switzerland Nation Branding Committee, related, “Mountains are sources of incredible stories. They are beautiful but dangerous, drawing global media attention. In 2017, they shaped the image of Switzerland even more.” In addition, the victories of Swiss professional tennis player Roger Federer, Switzerland’s position as a financial centre, and some of the nation’s referendums attracted foreign media attention.
Switzerland’s political system and direct democracy were frequently reported on by both the domestic and overseas media because of the referendums. The referendums related to many issues, such as bills for reforming corporate taxation
(III), simplifying procedures for thirdgeneration immigrants to obtain Swiss citizenship, and the 2050 Energy Strategy. Topics about the economy and innovation, including Chinese President Xi Jinping’s participation in the World Economic Forum and his state visit to Switzerland, were also reported.