The FINANCIAL — Results just released by GfK show that all of the top ten countries in the leading Anholt-GfK Nation Brands IndexSM (NBISM) have suffered falls in their global reputation this year – with eight of those being classed as significant drops.
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.
This year, the UK and USA suffered the largest decreases of over one point each, with Germany, Japan and France seeing the next largest drops. The fact that all of the top ten countries saw falls in global perception marks a stark departure from 2015, when eight of the top ten countries actually improved their overall NBI score.
Professor Simon Anholt, the independent policy advisor who created the NBI study in 2005, comments, “Usually, global perception of individual countries is incredibly stable – but changes can and do take place. It is a country’s perceived impact on the world that affects its global reputation, far more than its assets or achievements – and this is what we are seeing here. Those countries that are perceived as being world influencers are suffering following a year of ongoing international conflict and humanitarian issues.”
Vadim Volos, GfK’s senior vice president of public affairs and consulting, adds, “How a nation is perceived is a function of both long-standing attributes (such as stereotypes of its people or region and images of its natural and social environment) and short-term influences (such as positive or negative news coverage or dramatic events). Each nation has some ability to impact either of these areas, by promoting the nation’s key positive assets to drive up inbound tourism and investment. But dramatic shifts in reputation can take time. Our study shows our clients where their nations stand in terms of their current image, momentum and potential – helping them to determine their best path to success: a strong nation brand.”
Declines in NBI scores do not necessarily produce changes in the overall rankings – at least, not immediately. The US, Germany and the UK all maintain their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes – however, the US now holds only a nominal lead over Germany, presenting Germany with an opening to reclaim the top spot in the coming year. Similarly, Canada – now in 4th place, having overtaken France – is breathing hard on the heels of the UK.
Outside the top three positions, there have been several changes of position, signaling a sharp contrast to the stability observed prior to 2015. France’s significant score drop, driven largely by losses in its perceived Governance and Immigration & Investment, has allowed Canada to capture 4th place, leaving France in 5th. Japan also moved down the ranking from 6th place to 7th, allowing Italy to overtake and move up one position compared to 2015.