US regains ‘top nation brand’ position from Germany
After being pushed off the number one position last year by Germany, the USA has this year taken back its position at the top of the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI). UK, in third place, edges closer to the top and is followed by France. Further down the ranking, Ukraine and Russia achieve large reputation gains, while Greece stands alone in suffering a steep drop.
The study measures global perceptions of 50 developed and developing countries - and is unmatched in the level of detail on which the nation ranking is judged. The study asks questions about 23 different national attributes, which are then combined into six overall dimensions on which the national image is based. Those are: exports, governance, culture, people, tourism and immigration/investment.
“This year’s results stand as a reminder that, although the images of countries are incredibly stable, changes can and do take place - particularly when people around the world sense that countries are contributing noticeably more or less to humanity and the planet. It’s their perceived impact on the world that affects countries’ reputation far more than their assets or achievements,” said Professor Simon Anholt, the independent policy advisor who created the Nation Brands Index in 2005.
“Despite its continued perceived leadership in Europe, Germany has fallen back to second place, largely as a result of losing the gains it made last year. On top of that, Germany also lost ground on ‘governance’ (which incorporates both international and domestic behaviours) following its high-profile stance on European challenges such as immigration and struggling Eurozone economies. In particular, Russia’s perceptions of Germany’s governance dropped significantly, following Germany’s support of anti-Russian sanctions.”
The rest of the top ten ranking remains in the same order as last year, but with certain nations continuing to close in on the one ahead.
UK, steady in third place, has moved closer to the top nations and is followed by France in fourth and Canada in fifth. Japan and Italy, who hold sixth and seventh places, respectively, also showed stronger than average performance, increasing the pressure on the top five nations.
Greece, a nation facing chronic economic issues, struggles to maintain its image, with notable falls across all indices. This means that it has slipped one place to 21st position in the overall ranking, while Brazil moves up to 20th.
Looking outside the top 20 nations, both Russia and Ukraine have seen impressive gains on all six indices that make up the overall NBI ranking. Russia has risen from 25th last year to 22nd this year, overtaking China, Singapore and Argentina, while Ukraine has moved from 48th to 46th, overtaking Kenya and Qatar. This change follows a slowing of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, with both nations seeing their greatest boosts coming from their governance scores and - in particular - improved perceptions of their behavior in the areas of international peace and security.
In fact, the conflict’s easing appears to be improving the image of the region as a whole: the Czech Republic (30th last year, now 28th) has edged ahead in the rankings. And Poland (steady in 26th place) and, to a lesser extent, Hungary (28th last year, now 29th due to being overtaken by Czech Republic) also raised their scores somewhat. Turkey increased its rating, but not enough to prevent it being overtaken by two Asia-Pacific nations, Thailand and Taiwan, so that it now holds 34th place.
“A country’s global reputation can make a critical difference to the success of its business, trade and tourism efforts, as well as its diplomatic and cultural relations with other nations,” explained Vadim Volos, GfK’s senior vice president of public affairs and consulting and head of NBI.
“Our clients depend on the NBI study because it is unbeaten in the depth of information that is included in forming the ranking - making it the most thorough and robust monitor of national reputation available.”