Country Brand Index 2008

This is the fourth year that FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy, has issued its Country Brand Index. After conducting substantial qualitative and quantitative research, this year’s Index includes rankings and trends as well as country brand analytics, travel motivations and insights into the challenges and opportunities within the world of travel, tourism and country branding. With polling expanded to almost 2,700 international travelers on even more criteria, this year’s Country Brand Index is more comprehensive, extensive and insightful than ever.

This year, Australia earns the first spot as the world’s top country brand for the third consecutive year. Not among the top 10 two years ago and rising from its sixth place ranking last year, Canada is recognized second and the United States rounds out the top three country brands in the 2008 study. Other countries making the top 10 include Italy, Switzerland and France. This is the Country Brands Index 2008 top-ten country brands:

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. United States
  4. Italy
  5. Switzerland
  6. France
  7. New Zealand
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Japan
  10. Sweden

This year’s CBI touches on a variety of topics relevant to travelers and tourism professionals including: intergenerational travel (represented by countries such as the U.S., Canada and Japan), medical tourism, mainstream luxury (represented by countries like Japan and Spain), ‘stay’cations and a rise in the off-the-beaten-track trips. Other notable trends this year focus on niche travel opportunities and the changing destination landscape.

The Country Brands Index 2008 rankings for specific dimensions of the brand and here are some examples and the top performers: Continue reading

Country Brand Index 2006

Principles of branding apply in equal measure to countries as they do to corporations. But methods are different. Countries will compete daily with neighbors or block regions for tourism, inward investment and export sales. There’s only so much business that can go around. Those countries that start with an unknown or poor reputation will be limited or marginalized. They cannot easily boost their commercial success. Consequently, they will often languish at the bottom |of the ladder of influence. No voice or even worse, they are the butt of jokers at every regional summit.

With toursim as the world’s second largest industry, and countries spending more to promote themselves, their product and their assets, FutureBrand feels it is time to look at countries in a whole new way – as brands. Since I presented here the 2005 Country Brand Index, is time now the 2006 Top 10 (number in brackets are representing last year standings): Continue reading

Branding a Country

Tourism is only one of several areas that every nation needs to develop and only one of the sectors that can benefit from country branding. After all, a country with fine beaches might also be an easy or safe place to invest in if relevant legislation is in place and the rule of law firmly established.

How a country is perceived, both domestically and from abroad, from the quality of its goods and services, to the attractiveness of its culture and its tourism and investment opportunities, to its politics, economic policies and foreign policy, can be shaped under a brand. The branding process strengthens democracy and helps both internal development and successful integration into the world community, on all levels.
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Country Brand Index 2005

At the moment I blogged something here about destination branding, earlier this month, I have to admit I didn’t know anything about the fact that FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy, in conjunction with sister company and leading global public relations firm, Weber Shandwick, were about to release first-of-its-kind global survey that identifies countries as brands and suggests the pivotal role that branding could
make in helping countries differentiate themselves.

If a ‘brand’ is defined as an experience, then some of the world’s most powerful and recognizable brands should be countries. The challenge the industry faces is that it must move away from the traditional reactive and tactical marketing approaches and instead, create and deliver an overall brand experience that drives sales and turns visitors into country-brand evangelists

said Rene A. Mack, president of Weber Shandwick’s global travel practice.

Branding a country takes time,commitment and focus. While many of the countries that ranked high have scored well, not all of them have fully crafted their brands as places that differentiate, nor do theystand for something in the hearts and minds of key audiences, expand and drive business opportunities or perpetuate loyalty and preference.

As both tourism and international trade becomes morecluttered and competitive, brand is one of the few ways to truly differentiate. Those countries willing to truly work on brand building will be more likely to enjoy a competitive advantage, higher returns, longer term momentum and stronger advocates.

says the study.

The study has many interesting insights into the travel and destinaiton branding and has as its output an overall top of 2005 destinations:

  1. Italy
  2. Australia
  3. USA
  4. France
  5. Maldives
  6. Greece
  7. Fiji
  8. Thailand
  9. Egypt
  10. Bahamas


Destination Branding

Although the concept of branding has been applied extensively to products and services, tourism destination branding is a relatively recent phenomenon. In particular, destination branding remains narrowly defined to many practitioners in destination management organizations and is not well represented neither in branding or the tourism literature.

Communities, cities, and states all compete in the world of everything — commerce, tax bases, cultural riches, hometown intellects, the creative class, and happy folks using it all. It’s the fuel to keep geographic areas going and growing.

It also brews healthy combat zones, the seduction of buyers to destinations. For business or pleasure, the game is called branding. As in, regional branding.

For decades, this practice has existed, but more recently it’s become in business vogue — and a powerful economic advantage.

As people and companies decide where to plop down their roots and cash, just like with any other buying decision, they need to feel the emotional connection to their needs and the earned trust to reduce their fears.

Destination branding is about:

  • clearly defining a purpose
  • distinct
  • consistently communicating a persona
  • delivering on a promise

Here is an interesting reading material on the subject from the online edition of Business Week magazine giving an overview on How States Project a Come-Hither Look, listing some of the strategies US states approached the subject, from logos, slogans, flags all the way to the licence plates.

Q2 Nation Brands Index

The second Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index (NBI) report ranks the brand power and appeal of 25 developed and developing nations and is based on the opinion of 10, 000 consumers from 10 countries.This is the first analytical ranking of nation brands based on worldwide public perceptions of a country’s cultural, political, commercial and human assets, investment potential and tourist appeal

NBI report analyzes the brand values of more countries (25 compared to 11) than the first report published in May 2005. Australia, a new entry in the NBI, has replaced Sweden as the world’s strongest nation brand. Canada is ranked number two, Switzerland three and the UK is fourth, with Sweden fifth. Overall, the U.S. is now eleventh, rather than fourth.

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