Nation branding

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Nation branding aims to measure, build and manage the reputation of countries (closely related to place branding). Some approaches applied, such as an increasing importance on the symbolic value of products, have led countries to emphasise their distinctive characteristics. The branding and image of a nation-state "and the successful transference of this image to its exports - is just as important as what they actually produce and sell."[1] This is also referred to as country-of-origin effect. Nation branding is still a developing field in which scholars continue their search for a unified theoretical framework. Many governments have resource dedicated to Nation Branding. Their aim is to improve their country's standing, as the image and reputation of a nation can dramatically influence its success in attracting tourism receipts and investment capital; in exports; in attracting a talented and creative workforce and in its cultural and political influence in the world.

Nation branding in practice[edit]

Nation branding appears to be practiced by many countries, including the United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom (where it is officially referred to as public diplomacy), Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, Israel and most Western European countries. An early example of this was the Cool Britannia approach of the early days of the New Labour government (following the Britain (TM) pamphlet by Demos's Mark Leonard), though this has since been replaced by a more credible Public Diplomacy Board. There is increasing interest in the concept from poorer states on the grounds that an enhanced image might create more favorable conditions for foreign direct investment, tourism, trade and even political relations with other states. Developing nations such as Tanzania and Colombia are creating smaller nation branding programs aimed at increased overall image and with the case of Colombia, changing international perception.

Nation branding in academia[edit]

Nation Branding can be approached in academics as a field in social sciences, political sciences, humanities, communication, marketing and international relations. Scholars such as Evan H. Potter at the University of Ottawa have conceptualized nation brands as a form of national soft power. All efforts by government (at any level) to support the nation brand - either directly or indirectly - becomes public diplomacy.

Anti-globalisation proponents often claim that globalisation diminishes and threatens local diversity, but there is evidence that in order to compete against the backdrop of global cultural homogeneity, nations strive to accentuate and promote local distinctiveness as a competitive advantage.[2]

Nations Brands Index[edit]

The concept of measuring global perceptions of countries across several dimensions (culture, governance, people, exports, tourism, investment and immigration) was developed by Simon Anholt. His original survey, the Anholt Nations Brands Index, was launched in 2005 and fielded four times a year.

Rank Country NBI 2014[3] Country NBI 2013[4] Country NBI 2012[5] Country NBI 2011[6] Country NBI 2010[7]
1  Germany  United States United States United States (69.09) United States United States United States United States
2  United States  Germany Germany Germany (67.72) Germany Germany Germany Germany
3  United Kingdom  United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom (67.14) United Kingdom United Kingdom France France
4  France  France France France (66.58) France France United Kingdom United Kingdom
5  Canada  Canada Canada Canada (65.90) Japan Japan Japan Japan
6  Japan  Japan Japan Japan (65.87) Canada Canada Canada Canada
7  Italy  Italy Italy Italy (65.08) Italy Italy Italy Italy
8   Switzerland   Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland (64.61) Australia Australia Switzerland Switzerland
9  Australia  Australia Australia Australia (64.36) Switzerland Switzerland Australia Australia
10  Sweden  Sweden Sweden Sweden (63.49) Sweden Sweden Sweden Sweden

Monocle Soft Power Survey[edit]

Main article: Soft Power Survey

Monocle released its third annual Soft Power Survey in 2012,[8] ranking nations according to their soft power; the amount of attractiveness and thus influence a country has within the world. Ranking nations according to their standard of government, diplomatic infrastructure, cultural output, capacity for education and appeal to business, the list is calculated using around 50 factors that indicate the use of soft power, including the number of cultural missions, Olympic medals, the quality of a country’s architecture and business brands.[9]

Rank Country
1 United Kingdom United Kingdom Increase
2 United States United States Decrease
3 Germany Germany Increase
4 France France Decrease
5 Sweden Sweden Increase
6 Japan Japan Increase
7 Denmark Denmark Increase
8 Switzerland Switzerland Steady
9 Australia Australia Decrease
10 Canada Canada Decrease
11 South Korea South Korea Increase
12 Norway Norway Decrease
13 Finland Finland Increase
14 Italy Italy Increase
15 Netherlands Netherlands Decrease
16 Spain Spain Decrease
17 Brazil Brazil Increase
18 Austria Austria Steady
19 Belgium Belgium Steady
20 Turkey Turkey Increase

Country Brand Index[edit]

Main article: Country Brand Index

FutureBrand publishes the annual Country Brand Index, which has historically studied perceptions of 118 countries around the world in the same way we measure consumer or corporate brands – ranking them according to strength of perception across association dimensions.

The Country Brand Index 2014-15 includes an overall ranking of the 75 countries, rankings by dimension, complete perception dashboards for the top five country brands, regional leaders and averages and 'ones to watch' for the future. It will be of primary value to country brand managers, tourism, trade and investment experts keen to understand the levers they can pull for competitive advantage. But it also provides valuable insights for professional brand managers and leaders seeking to further harness country of origin associations for corporate and consumer brands.[10]

Rank Country
1  Japan
2   Switzerland
3  Germany
4  Sweden
5  Canada
6  Norway
7  United States
8  Australia
9  Denmark
10  Austria
11  New Zealand
12  United Kingdom
13  Finland
14  Singapore
15  Iceland
16  Netherlands
17  France
18  Italy
19  United Arab Emirates
20  South Korea
21  Ireland
22  Belgium
23  Spain
24  Qatar
25  Fiji
26  Israel
27  Portugal
28  China
29  Czech Republic
30  Greece
31  Russia
32  Bahrain
33  Puerto Rico
34  Oman
35  Malta
36  Taiwan
37  Costa Rica
38  Thailand
39  Saudi Arabia
40  South Africa
41  Panama
42  Argentina
43  Brazil
44  Croatia
45  Poland
46  Chile
47  Estonia
48  Malaysia
49  Peru
50  India
51  Jamaica
52  Uruguay
53  Turkey
54  Egypt
55  Mexico
56  Hungary
57  Morocco
58  Jordan
59  Slovakia
60  Sri Lanka
61  Lebanon
62  Romania
63  Colombia
64  Vietnam
65  Kenya
66  Indonesia
67  Bulgaria
68  Cambodia
69  Zimbabwe
70  Ghana
71  Iran
72  Bangladesh
73  Pakistan
74  Ukraine
75  Nigeria


  1. ^ True, Jacqui (2006). "Globalisation and Identity". In Raymond Miller. Globalisation and Identity. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-19-558492-9. 
  2. ^ True, Jacqui (2006). "Globalisation and Identity". In Raymond Miller. Globalisation and Identity. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0-19-558492-9. 
  3. ^ "GERMANY KNOCKS USA OFF BEST NATION TOP SPOT AFTER 5 YEARS". Press Releases. GfK Custom Research North America. 12 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "US VOTED TOP COUNTRY FOR ATTRACTING TALENT AND INVESTMENT – BUT WITH A REDUCING LEAD". Press Releases. GfK Custom Research North America. 14 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Two-Thirds of Nations Experience Reputation Decline in 2012 Nation Brands Index". Press Releases. GfK Custom Research North America. Oct 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ Nation Brands Index 2011 released
  7. ^ Nation Brands Index 2010 released
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Chan, Rachel (April 20, 2011) Review of Brand Singapore by Koh Buck Song at University of Southern California Center on public diplomacy at the Annenberg School.
  • Townsend, Jake (August 8, 2011) "Branding Peace: Norway's Identity Put to the Test" Huffington Post.
  • Olins, Wally (2002) "Branding the nation – the historical context", Journal of Brand Management 9(4-5).
  • Fan, Y. (2006) "Nation branding: what is being branded?" Journal of Vacation Marketing 12(1): 5-14.
  • Council on Foreign Relations (November 9, 2007) Backgrounder on Nation Branding.
  • Entry on Nation Branding, Center for Media & Democracy's Sourcewatch
  • Meike Eitel, Marie Spiekermann (2005) Nation Branding : San Marino developing into a brand
  • Risen, Clay (March 13, 2005) article, Boston Globe.
  • Weiner, Eric (January 11, 2006) Feature of National Public Radio's "Day to Day",
  • Gubel, Peter (May 29, 2005) article in Time Magazine.
  • Clay Risen (Dec 11, 2005) "Branding Nations", New York Times.
  • Andrew Stevens (June 8, 2011) "The Singapore brand offers a thoroughly modern city" City Mayors Foundation.
  • Rendon, Jim (November 23, 2003) "When Nations Need a Little Marketing", New York Times.
  • Anholt, Simon (2003) Brand New Justice: the upside of global branding, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.
  • Johansson, Johny K. (2004) In Your Face: How American Marketing Fuels Anti-Americanism, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Financial Times/Prentice-Hall.
  • Kotler, Philip; Jatusripitak, Somkid; Maesincee, Suvit (1997) The Marketing of Nations: A Strategic Approach To Building National Wealth, The Free Press, New York.
  • Melerowicz, Mariana (2009) National Branding in Poland in: AICELS Law Review - Journal on Central European Law. No.1, Rincon: The American Institute for Central European Legal Studies (AICELS).
  • Potter, Evan (2009) Branding Canada: Projecting Canada's Soft Power through Public Diplomacy Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • True, Jacqui (2006) "Globalisation and Identity", in Raymond Miller (ed.) New Zealand Government and Politics, Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

External links[edit]