What is the true mark of a strong country brand?

The FutureBrand Country Index measures the strength of perception of countries around the world in the same way we study consumer or corporate brands. Now in its second decade, the Index reorders the World Bank Top 75 countries by GDP according to strength of perception.

The Index examines what transforms a country from a spot on a map to a place our survey respondents ultimately want to invest in, live in, visit, and buy goods and services from. Countries have traditionally been measured and ranked by measures of might — GDP, population size, even a sovereign’s nuclear arsenal. However, in the current day when our world is defined by rapid change, do these measures continue to make sense in the ranking of nations?

Technology trends are changing the world we live in: IoT, smart technology, the advent of 5G. Sociopolitical shifts are reshaping how we live in ways big and small. Countries are grappling with topics such as immigration, gun rights, and social safety net provisions like healthcare and education. Weighing in on the global dialogue for gender equality triggered by #metoo and the call for allies in the United Nation’s HeForShe global solidarity movement calls on nations in a different way than ever before. Our natural world is rapidly transforming too: The World Meteorological Organization reports that climate change continues to accelerate. Our passion for convenience contributed to the creation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world — approximately twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France — floating between Hawaii and California.

When we consider the confluence of these factors, we are forced to discard the historical paradigm for measuring country strength — GDP growth. Against this complex reality, it feels insufficient. Instead, we are compelled to consider how countries react, strike balance, and even thrive in today’s new dynamic. Narrowing in on how countries are faring, FutureBrand answers the question of what makes a country strong or weak by upending traditional metrics, and introducing a new framework: Countrymaking.

Countrymaking is an optimized set of shared beliefs, rooted in experience and purpose, that has the power to shift the global perception of a nation. The explicit goal of countrymaking is to boost tourism, investment, and consumer choice for a country’s goods and services.

In this way, Countrymaking acts as an equalizing force, placing countries with smaller GDPs on comparable footing with more traditionally dominant nations. And the net effect establishes an entirely new world order.

The FutureBrand Country Index will be of real value If you are 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.

To download a copy of the FutureBrand Country Index, please visit https://www.futurebrand.com/futurebrand-country-index

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