Last year, Japan, the land of the rising sun, has been trying to develop and boost its economy which has been progressively on the rise.
This year and for the first time in the ranking’s history, Japan tops the ranking in the annual “Country Brand Index” of FutureBrand, the global brand consultancy. This global study of country brand measures perceptions of countries around the world in the same way it measures consumer or corporate brands – ranking them according to strength of perception across association dimensions.
This year, FutureBrand stated that not every country can be qualified as a brand (out of the 75 countries reviewed only 22 met the criteria). Thus, this year’s results differed a bit from those of previous years. The used metrics include the vision that a country produces high-quality items, that people like to live or study in that country, and that the infrastructure is good.
According to the report, “to qualify as a ‘country brand’, people need to want to consume your products and services and prefer you as a place to live and learn.”
The study also stated that when respondents rate a country highly as a brand, it is most likely that they will “visit, recommend and do business with it”.
Moreover, according to the report, “By this, we mean that people have stronger than average perceptions of the country across our six dimensions relating to ‘status’ and ‘experience’. In other words, they perceive it equally strongly in aspects relating to quality of life, values and business, as they do for its culture, history, tourism and ‘Made In’ expertise.”
To conduct the study, FutureBrand collected data from 2530 survey respondents who are frequent flyers from 17 countries: The U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, India, China, Thailand, Japan, and Australia.
According to Tom Adams, FutureBrand global head of strategy and co-author of the report, “This year’s research shows that having a strong country brand brings measurable competitive advantage in terms of visitation, advocacy, and investment, as well as consumer preference for products and services. It continues to be vital to manage country identity and reputation as you might a corporate or consumer brand.”
Japan surpassed Switzerland which was ranked first last year. This is due to Japan’s “uniqueness”, and its development and expertise in technology, health and education, heritage, art, and culture.
Switzerland took the second place this year, and it was still described as a “beautiful,” “clean,” “safe,” and “expensive” Country.
The third on the list was Germany and was associated with a high standard of living, advanced technology, and good infrastructure.
The USA ranked number seven having New York being the first city in matter of brands.
According to Christopher Nurko, FutureBrand global chairman, “a country brand perception strength is as much about momentum in innovation, technology, and the environment as it is political and economic significance, which hints at a shift in the drivers of country reputation shaping the future.”
He also stated that “the Country Brand Index offers valuable insight into the levers you can pull for stronger perception across the dimensions that drive visitor choice.”