The ultimate guide to place brand rankings

As a place brand or marketing professional, you will no doubt have been inundated with different rankings over your career. And while it’s always nice to be told you’re top of the leader board for any particular area, there are often many questions to be had.

What do the findings mean for your place? Which rankings are most valuable to your strategy? How do the methodologies differ? What was the ranking intending to demonstrate?

Place brand or other place attribute rankings can be helpful benchmarks for your strategy when used correctly. They can also help convince your local politicians about the value of your work. But to use them effectively, you have to understand how that ranking has been developed and what that really means for your city, nation, or region. So, we’re creating the ultimate guide to help you identify those rankings that are most relevant to your goals and ambitions and what you should be keeping an eye on going forwards.

Are we missing a ranking that you’d like to learn more about? Email and we’ll do our best to get it added to our guide.


Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index

Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking – Tourism and Trade edition

FutureBrand Country Index

RepCore Nations Ranking | Reputation Lab

The Global Soft Power Index | Brand Finance

The Good Country Index

The World’s Best Cities Report | Resonance Consultancy

Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index

See the Anholt-Ipsos NBI 2022 Official Press Release here.  

UPDATED: The Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index is run annually, with the next edition due to be published between October and November in 2023.

ELEVATOR PITCH: Originally launched in 2005, the Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index (NBI) measures the power and appeal of each country’s “brand image” by examining global perceptions of six aspects of a nation’s identity (Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism, and Immigration and Investment), which together make up the Nation Brand Hexagon®, a model used today by many governments, and developed by the NBI founder Simon Anholt.   

METHODOLOGY: The NBI provides a highly detailed, comprehensive, and unbiased evaluation of perceptions towards 60 nations globally. Using a questionnaire with 50+ indicators and demographic questions, the NBI collects the opinions of respondents from 20 major advanced and emerging economies that play important and diverse roles in international relations and trade, as well as in the flow of business, culture, and tourist activities.  At least 3,000 interviews are conducted in each panel country, resulting in a minimum of 60,000 interviews conducted globally each year. In each panel country, respondents are randomly assigned to rate 10 nations, resulting in each nation being rated at least 500 times. This ensures that representative samples are collected to provide subscribers with relevant perceptions of their nation in a competitive context. The total NBI Score is reflective of the views and opinions of the online population aged 18 and over in these 20 countries. The total NBI score is an average of the scores from each of the six Indices.  The cumulative NBI database now includes over one billion data points. 

AUDIENCE: Since 2008, more than 60 Clients have used the NBI to measure, understand, and improve their position and reputation in the court of global public opinion in a variety of ways. These include government and foreign ministries, tourism boards, trade/investment/culture promotion, and communication agencies.


Jason McGrath – EVP Head of Corporate Reputation, Ipsos -

Moriya Bobev – Nation Brands Index Program Lead and Account Manager, Ipsos -

Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking

See the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking - Tourism edition 2022/3 here.

See the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking - Trade edition 2022/3 here.

UPDATED: approximately every two years, with the next edition due to be launched in 2024.

ELEVATOR PITCH: The Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking helps governing organisations establish a benchmark and develop strategies for steering their brands into a sustainable and prosperous future, using a proprietary algorithm to identify performance across key pillars.

METHODOLOGY: Bloom Consulting derive their rankings from their proprietary algorithm which considers exclusively tourism and investment related data. Each ranking examines economic performance, D2 – Digital Demand©, CBS Rating©, and online performance for toursim and trade respectively.

  • Economic performance is calculated based on net FDI inflows and growth reported by UNCTAD or international tourism receipts and growths reported by the WTO – alternatively the national investment or tourism organisations can provide the data themselves.
  • D2- Digital Demand© is proprietary software that measure the online search volumen for either socio-economic factors and investment or tourism-related activities, providing insights into the online behaviour and decision-making processes of the relevant audiences.
  • CBS Rating© examines the alignment between the IPA or NTO’s strategy and what investors or travellers are really looking for.
  • Online performance is an evaluation of a country’s online presence. The ranking looks at the IPA or NTO’s website analytics and social media data to determine the overall visibilit and permeation of the country brand.

Together, the algorithm’s four variables create a holistic overview of the latest results of country and territory brands on their own and in relation to each other.

AUDIENCE: Those who need to measure their country branding performance in the area of trade or tourism. Therefore, Ministries of Economy, Investment Promotion Agencies, and National Tourism Organisations can get valuable information for their short to medium-term strategies and goals from the Trade report, whereas the Tourism report is geared to Ministries of Economy and National Tourism Organisations.


Gonzalo Vilar - Partner and Director of Place Analytics, Bloom Consulting -

Press Office -

FutureBrand Country Index

See the FutureBrand Country Index 2020 here.

UPDATED: approximately every two years

ELEVATOR PITCH: The FutureBrand Country Index provides an in-depth and nuanced ranking of global country brands, drawing on qualitative and quantitative data from chief executives, civil servants and other high-ranking professionals across the globe.

METHODOLOGY: The research is generated from a globally informed audience of frequent flyers who evaluated the image and reputation of the World Bank’s top 75 countries by GDP. Some 2,500 interview were conducted with – among others – CEOs, C-suite, MDs, and top-level civil servants from across the world, each of whom rated seven countries they were familiar with, making this report uniquely informed and invaluable.

For the Country Brand Index 2020, FutureBrand worked with QRi Consulting, its international research partner, who has more than three decade of experience in brand strategy.

AUDIENCE: A country brand manager or tourism, trade and investment expert keen to understand the levers you can pull for competitive advantage. It also provides valuable insights for professional brand managers and leaders seeking to further harness country of origin associations for corporate and consumer brands.


James Martin - Global Associate Director, Marketing, FutureBrand –

Gustavo Koniszczer – Managing Director Hispanic America, FutureBrand –

RepCore Nations Ranking | Reputation Lab

See top-line findings from the 2023 study here

UPDATED: Each year in May

ELEVATOR PITCH: To analyse the reputation of countries, Reputation Lab have built the RepCore Nations model, using a range of indicators to develop a RepScore that synthesises information regarding 22 variables covering economic, social, political, cultural, and other elements of a country’s reputation.

METHODOLOGY: The RepCore Nations methodology is an adaptation of Reputation Lab’s RepCore methodology, commonly used to analyse the reputation of companies. More than 45,000 people are interviewed in over 30 countries to understand how the reputation of the 60 largest countries by GDP are changing on the international stage. The RepScore for a nation is created by weighting perceptions across five categories of attributes: Institutional Quality, Quality of Life, Level of Development, Human Factor, and Ethics & Responsibility.

AUDIENCE: Nation branders looking to understand the strength and weaknesses of their nation brand and to successfully manage a country’s reputation.


Fernando Prado – Managing Partner, Reputation Lab -

The Global Soft Power Index | Brand Finance

See the 2023 Global Soft Power Index here.

UPDATED: annually in March

ELEVATOR PITCH: Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Index is the world’s most comprehensive research study on perceptions of nation brands, surveying opinions of 100,000+ respondents in 100+ markets.

METHODOLOGY: The Global Soft Power Index is based entirely on research data, gathered in online surveys and conducted on representative samples of general public respondents across a broad range of markets from all regions and cultures. The Index incorporates a broad range of measures to provide a balanced and holistic assessment of a nation’s presence, image, and impact on the world stage. These include three key performance indicators of Familiarity, Reputation, and Influence, alongside nearly 40 attributes grouped under eight soft power pillars: Business & Trade; Governance; International Relations; Culture & Heritage; Media & Communication; Education & Science; People & Values; and Sustainable Future.

The weightings given to each measure within the Index are based on a combination of expert opinion, coming from an extensive literature review and expert consultation process, involving more than 50 academics, practitioners, and journalists reporting on soft power, as well as statistical correlation and regression analyses assessing the importance of individual attributes in driving Reputation and Influence. 

AUDIENCE: Governments and nation brand organisations looking to understand their potential on the world stage. The Index offers a wealth of data on perceptions of 121 nation brands worldwide and – thanks to a robust drivers analysis - insight from 100+ markets into what really matters when it comes to investment, trade, tourism, and talent promotion.


Konrad Jagodzinski - Place Branding Director, Brand Finance -

The Good Country Index

See the Good Country Index here.

UPDATED: approximately every year.

ELEVATOR PITCH: The Good Country Index (GCI) is a ranking which shows how much each country on earth contributes to humanity and to the planet, and how much it takes away – a balance sheet for the human race, and a vital tool for the age of globalisation.

METHODOLOGY: No country, no organisation, no individual can prosper of survive long in isolation. By showing people around the world how interconnected we are, by raising the profile of the challenges we face as a species and as a planet, by naming the countries and people who are working to make things better, and by naming the free-riders, the Index will raise awareness of the topics which are critical for the future of humanity.

The Index is a composite of 35 datasets produced by the UN system and other international agencies. The indicators, which can be positive or negative, are grouped into seven sub-rankings to identify a country’s contributions to: Science & Technology; Culture; International Peace & Security; World Order; Planet & Climate; Prosperity & Equality; and Health & Wellbeing.

AUDIENCE: The GCI aims to create an environment where national governments are increasingly answerable not only for their domestic performance but also their contribution to the global commons. Aimed primarily at the global populace to help them hold their governments accountable, it’s also invaluable to place branders who are looking to increase their moral soft power and contribute positively to the global community.


Simon Anholt – Founder & Publisher, The Good Country Index -

The World’s Best Cities Report | Resonance Consultancy 

See the World’s Best Cities report here

UPDATED: approximately every year, with the next edition due in November 2023.

ELEVATOR PITCH: Cities are the collective future: Resonance Consulting’s report creates a comprehensive and credible benchmark of city performance (rather than perception) when it comes to monitoring factors most closely correlated with business formation and attracting talent and visitors, allowing cities, investors, and government agencies to identify their strength and weaknesses in each area.

METHODOLOGY: Resonance Consultancy ranks principal cities, defined as the largest cities in each metropolitan statistical area with populations of more than one million, by using a combination of statistical performance and qualitative evaluations by locals and visitors.

The rankings incorporate 24 factors grouped into six core categories to provide the most holistic assessment of a city’s performance and competitive identity. The core categories include: Place (weather, safety, sights & landmarks, outdoor activities); Product (airport connectivity, attractions, museums, university ranking, convention centres); Programming (culture, nightlife, attractions, restaurants, shopping); People (labour force participation & educational attainment); Prosperity (Global 500 corporate headquarters, GDP per Capita, income equality); and Promotion (Facebook check-ins, Google search results, TripAdvisor reviews, Instagram hashtags, Google Trends).

AUDIENCE: City governments, destination marketing organisations, national tourism organisations, and economic development organisation will all find the World’s Best Cities report to be of value in understanding how they are performing on metrics most highly correlated with economic development and visitor and talent attraction. This report is particularly helpful for those looking to access synthesised data regarding the performance of their city as opposed to domestic or international perceptions.


Omneya Fahmy - Research Director, Resonance Consultancy -

Shannon Duffy - Marketing, Communications & Account Manager, Resonance Consultancy -

Is there a ranking that you think we should include? Email to tell us more!

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The Place Brand Portfolio is City Nation Place's searchable portfolio of Awards case studies from the past five years.