Japan is Top Country Brand for 2014-15, USA is 7th: Despite its economic woes of late, Japan is received well abroad; for the first time in the ranking’s history, it has earned first place in the annual Country Brand Index by global brand consultancy FutureBrand. The index measures perceptions of countries around the world according to guidelines similar to those used to evaluate the strength of various consumer brands.
Seventy-five countries were reviewed in this year’s ranking process, with 22 meeting the criteria laid out for a “country brand.” The FutureBrand report said that, “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.”
A key finding in the research that led to the ranking reveals that when respondents rank a country highly as a brand, it increases the likelihood that they will “visit, recommend and do business with it” than other countries on the list. Other findings include the following:
- Awareness alone does not make a strong country brand.
- Country brand strength is connected to how many consumer brands you are known for.
- Strong country brands are seen to have expertise across multiple consumer categories.
- Country brands have most momentum in technology, innovation and sustainability.
- An influential city is not enough to make a strong country brand (but it helps).