Cecilia Garland - Nov 10, 2009
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The much awaited Country Brand Index by FutureBrand is here. Who is the winner? Any losers? Brought to you by

1. USA

Brand USA climbed to the top position in the 2009 rankings with the infusion of global goodwill brought by the election of Barack Obama. More than just the symbolic effect of the election, the new administration softened the tone of America’s dealings in world affairs, as evidenced in part by President Obama’s recent award of the Nobel Peace Prize. The heavy-handed, “big stick” approach of the Bush administration has been replaced by discourse and diplomacy. With these changes, the US experienced significant improvement across a number of related image attributes: Political Freedom, Standard of Living, Most Like to Live In, Environmentalism, Safety and Rising Star.

2. Canada

Brand Canada, with strong, diverse business and tourism offerings and a solid marketing effort, solidified its position as the #2 country brand in 2009, achieving Top 10 rankings in 22 of 29 image attributes and showing strong performance across almost every measure of country brand strength.

3. Australia

After three consecutive years as the #1 ranked country brand, Australia fell to the #3 position after experiencing a modest softening across familiarity, preference, advocacy and several image attributes. There were no dramatic declines, but with the performance of the US and Canada in 2009, Australia dropped two places. The country remains one of the most compelling destinations, however, ranking #1 for both Desire to Visit/Visit Again and as a place to Extend a Business Trip.

4. New Zealand

With its “100% Pure” branding efforts, New Zealand has created a powerhouse country brand. The nation with the smallest population among the Top 10, New Zealand is strong on the political dimensions with Top 10 rankings in Political Freedom, Environmentalism and Safety. Top 10 rankings in Authenticity, Friendly Locals, Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities & Sports explain why New Zealand is also one of the most desirable tourist destinations.

5. France

The #1 most visited country, France vies with the US as the most famous country brand in the world. France is one of the best developed country brands overall with strengths across every measure from awareness to advocacy. Perhaps best known for its Art & Culture, Fine Dining, Nightlife and Shopping, France is also a Top 10 brand in Advanced Technology, History, Quality Products and Standard of Living.

6. Italy

The country of “la dolce vita,” Italy remains one of the best performing country brands overall. With a brand image focused around the country’s strengths in Art & Culture, Fine Dining, History and Shopping, it is not surprising that Italy is one of the most desirable destinations.

7. Japan

At #7 overall, Japan has one of the strongest country brand images of any country in the Top 10. Affirming its strength as a business Japan is ranked #1 in Advanced Technology, Conferences, New Country for Business and Quality Products. However, Japan is also rated #1 for Nightlife and Authenticity and is in the Top 10 for Art & Culture, Fine Dining and Shopping, making this one of the most well-rounded nation brands.

8. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is one of the most respected and best-loved country brands with solid performance across every measure of brand strength. Another well-rounded country brand, the UK is strong in image rankings related to business, politics and tourism.

9. Germany

Germany at #9 cracked the overall Top 10 in the Country Brand Index for the first time in 2009. It has been a strong nation brand in each of the four previous studies, finishing just out of the Top 10. This year—with #1 rankings for Ease of Travel and Standard of Living and Top 10 rankings in everything from Art & Culture, Families and Nightlife to Advanced Technology, Ideal for Business and Quality products—Germany earned a place among the leading country brands.

10. Spain

Spain returns to the Top 10 overall nation brands in 2009 with a strong showing in every measure of country brand strength. Spain ranked in the Top 10 for every key measure, from awareness to advocacy, and is a Top 10 brand for Nightlife and Ease of Travel.

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  1. USA is the 1st?

    I don't understand how can USA be the first one. They are well known of the lack of any unified promo strategy of the country as a whole. They started to discover the value of tourism only recently and I don'T think they work on their tourism image much.

  2. It is interesting to note that the top 10 countries listed are first world countries with economic strength and well developed cultural identities.

    Is there data on a country brand index for warm weather destinations?

  3. It is interesting to see the top 10 countries being developed ones.

    I am not surprised by NZ appearing 4th. For such a small country (4M population) it's amazing to see such a huge country brand. If they can do it anyone can. If there's infrastructure, culture, environment and thrills to be had people want to see it.

  4. Interesting findings

    When compared the real tourism revenue and visits, some of the best country brands perform greatly. Some not so much.

  5. wow

    I hope Indonesia can do it too, but we're just not strong enough to approach that level :( otherwise I do love Indonesia.

    But I would love to say congrats to the countries with the best image branding (especially USA, thanks to Mr. Obama, Indonesians love him so much).

    I also agree with all the ratings
    Japan: love their cars, hair care treatments, all the cute stuff, the food (sushi, sashimi, soba, etc.), some of the cosmetic like Shiseido, the work ethics, Ayumi Hamasaki, Princess Masako, Princess Kiko, electronics (Sony, Toshiba, Fujitsu, and Panasonic), and I also love the adorable Kimono.

    USA: love their iPads, Microsoft, iPhone, Apple computer software, Hollywood films, gorgeous Hollywood stars (Natalie Portman, Amy Adams, and of course the sexy Angelina Jolie), the enthusiasm, Liberty Statue, Pizza Hut, McDonald's hamburger, Barack Obama,white House, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Thomas Alva Edison, Martin Luther King, JFK, Jackie'O, Audrey Hepburn, Marylin Monroe, Coca Cola, Disney, Ava Gardner, and Wendy's, but the touristic destination HAH??!! seriously???

    Germany: love the stationary (rotring, faber castle, and staedler), love the cars too (VW, Mercedes, Audi, and BMW), and I also love the knives or the pressure cooker like WMF (I have it at home), the chocolatte too like Ritter Sport (yummy but expensive), Angela Merkel, Branderburg Gate, Ludwig van Beethoven, William Roentgen, but I cannot drink the beer yet (cause I'm still 18).

    France: love the wine, cultures (musics and literatures), touristic places (Paris, Eiffle tower, Champ Elysee, Champ de Mars, Arch de Triumph, and of course the magnificent Provence), cosmetics (L'oreal, Lancome, Dior, Keraste, Garnier, L'Occitane, and etc.), french actress (Marion Cotillard, Laeticia Catista, Audrey Tautou, and of course Eva Green), fashion brands (Hermes, LV, Givenchy, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, Lacoste, and Channel), the food (I really want to eat French food), love atmosphere, Carrefour, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Pierre Curie, Lumiere Brothers, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, and healthcare system (only read on the article).

    Spain: love the men (soo handsome), the Paella, the touristic place (Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and the old castles are magnificent), the beaches, the dances (tango, salsa, and etc.), the wine, Penelope Cruz, Paz Vega, and of course the sunshine.

    UK: love the chocolatte (Cadburry and Malts Balls), the food a bit (Fish and Chips, Roast Beef, and English Breakfast), british celebrities (Nicola Roberts, Cheryl Cole, Lily Cole, Rachel Weisz, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Kate Winslet), the teas (Earl Grey and Breakfast Tea), the fashions (Mark and Spencer, Next, and West End), some of the cosmetics (Body Shop and Mark and Spencer), Tesco, David Beckham, London Bridge, Big Ben, Lady Diana, Kate Middleton, Isac Newton, James Watt, John Locke, and Shakespeare.

    Australia: love Sydney, beaches, kangaroos, The Rocks, Opera House, Sydney Bridge, education system (only know from the net), Nicole Kidman, Miranda Kerr, Hugh Jackman, Melbourne, Koala, and Goldcoast.

    Where's Sweden anyway?? I think Sweden is quite awesome love ABBA, IKEA, Electrolux, and Alfred Benhard Nobel.

    Tiffany Cheng (Indonesia)

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