Well done to Australia which has been named as number 3 on the FutureBrand ‘2009 Country Brand Index‘. Australia has a very good international reputation as is realized through the numerous reports listing Australia as a great place to live, do work and visit.
Below is the media release from FutureBrand:
UNITED STATES CLAIMS #1 SPOT FOR FIRST TIME AS WORLD’S TOP COUNTRY BRAND
-Canada Holds on to Second Spot and Australia Slips to Number Three–
-Global Study Expanded to Cover Regional Rankings Including Asia Pacific, Sub-Sahara Africa and the Americas-
LONDON – Nov. 6, 2009 – The United States earned the coveted spot as the world’s top country brand for the first time in the fifth annual Country Brand Index (CBI), rising from the third spot in 2008. Canada, host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, held on to the second ranking as Australia, always a perennial favorite, slipped from the premier ranking to number three. Other countries making the top 10 of the global 2009 CBI study include New Zealand, France, and Italy. CBI is a comprehensive study of approximately 3,000 international business and leisure travelers from nine countries. It examines how countries are branded and ranked, and identifies emerging global trends in the world’s fastest growing economic sector – travel and tourism, which accounted for US$944 billion in international tourism receipts in 2008.
This year’s index, conducted by FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy, in conjunction with public relations firm Weber Shandwick’s Global Travel & Lifestyle Practice, includes rankings and trends, themes in nation building and marketing issues, as well as more in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Top 10 country brands and a look at the “Next 10,” those top country brands ranking 11-20. Additionally, research was expanded to cover 102 country brands, which allowed a breakdown of regional rankings to be included. Other new topics include: the political and economic sides of country branding; discrepancies between perception and reality of a country brand; and “A New Focus on Value,” which speaks to one of the chief motivators in travel and tourism this year.
“This is the fifth year we have been able to continue to innovate around country brand thinking, methodology and findings. This category remains one with tremendous potential not only for tourism but investment, trade and policy. Even with the global economic circumstances facing many nations, the need to maximize opportunity and present a cohesive identity is critical,” said Rina Plapler, senior executive director, FutureBrand.
“It is interesting to note that America has risen to #1 country brand this year. It’s logical to assume that the shift in the political climate and renewed optimism surrounding the election of President Obama was a key influencer in the U.S. topping the list,” said René A. Mack, president, Weber Shandwick’s Travel & Lifestyle Global Practice. “It will be very interesting to see the U.S.’s performance next year and understand if this was a halo effect of a new president, or if the country can actually capitalize on this opportunity to better create a strong brand.”
This year’s CBI also touches on a variety of topics relevant to travelers and tourism professionals including: how small nations can compete with much larger countries; the different ways destinations can communicate value; and the year’s best and worst country brand marketing. Other notable topics focus on the use of social media in country branding and how icons, national companies and sports drive the development of country brand image.
The following are highlights from this year’s Country Brand Index, listing the top five countries in rank order for each category:
|Best Country Brand Ideal for Business||United States, Singapore, Japan, Germany, Canada|
|Best Country Brand to Extend a Business Trip||Australia, Japan, Italy, United States, New Zealand|
|Best Country Brand for Art & Culture||Italy, France, India, Japan, Greece|
|Best Country Brand for Authenticity||Japan, India, Peru, Cambodia, Bhutan|
|Best Country Brand for Beach||Tahiti, Bermuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bahamas|
|Best Country Brand for Families||Canada, Australia, United States, New Zealand, Portugal|
|Best Country Brand for History||Egypt, India, Peru, Israel, Italy|
|Best Country Brand for Resort & Lodging Options||Canada, Tahiti, Bahamas, United States, Mexico|
|Best Country Brand for Natural Beauty||Tahiti, Costa Rica, Canada, New Zealand, Fiji|
|Best Country Brand for Nightlife||Japan, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Thailand|
|Best Country Brand for Fine Dining||France, Italy, Japan, Argentina, Singapore|
|Best Country Brand for Outdoor Activities & Sports||Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Canada, Aruba|
|Best Country Brand for Rest & Relaxation||Tahiti, Barbados, Aruba, Fiji, Bahamas|
|Best Country Brand for Safety||Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Bermuda|
|Best Country Brand for Shopping||Singapore, United States, Japan, UAE, United Kingdom|
|Best Country Brand for Value for Money||India, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, Bulgaria|
|Best Country Brand You Would Most Like to Live In||Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, United States|
|Best Country Brand for Ease of Travel||Germany, Ireland, Canada, Singapore, Bermuda|
|Best Country Brand for Standard of Living||Germany, Canada, Japan, Finland, Singapore|
|Best Country Brand for Political Freedom||Canada, Germany, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand|
|Best Country Brand for Advanced Technology||Japan, Germany, United States, Singapore, United Kingdom|
|Best Country Brand for Quality Products||Japan, United States, Germany, Finland, Switzerland|
|Best Country Brand for Environmentalism||Finland, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Iceland|
|Best Country Brand for Friendly Locals||Fiji, Ireland, Aruba, Thailand, Bermuda|
|Best Country Brand Easiest to Do Business In||Singapore, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany|
|Best Country Brand for Conferences||Japan, Germany, Singapore, United States, United Kingdom|
|Best New Country for Business||Japan, United States, United Kingdom, India, Singapore|
|Best Country Brand You Desire to Visit / Visit Again||Australia, New Zealand, Maldives, Tahiti, United States|
The 2009 Country Brand Index reports
a number of emerging trends in travel and tourism that include:
- Value-Oriented Mindset – The global economic downturn has led consumers to think about travel from a financial standpoint and make decisions accordingly. The concept of value, as defined by more for less, continues to flourish in this environment. Whatever type of vacation travelers are able to afford, whether this be basic or luxury accommodations, consumers expect a bargain. Consumers are thinking like financial analysts in choosing destinations and properties that are undervalued and booking trips that allow them to maintain the style they were accustomed to in boom times.
- Attitudes Towards Travel Planning – With the plethora of last-minute travel bargains and new internet tools allowing for instant bargain bookings, there is a growing divide between those favoring impromptu trips and others prone to careful organization and advanced planning to account for more meaningful and structured travel experiences. This being true, the study also finds that even in the downturn, must-do travel—whether attending a milestone event like a wedding or taking an event-driven trip like attending the Super Bowl to support a local team—still persists. Additionally, semi-permanent and open road trips are also aspects of the travel landscape that are expanding as technology permits passengers to plan on the go and hotels largely have vacancies and thus the ability to accommodate travelers at the last minute.
- The Mystery of Authenticity – The importance of authenticity is well-known — but the differing attitudes toward and different definitions of the idea mean that there is some discrepancy on why some destinations are thriving and other travel experiences are reinventing the concept. Below are four trends emerging from this larger conversation:
- Synthetic Destinations – Destinations conscious of “classic” places of the past—like Paris, Rome and London—are desperate for a piece of this tourism business and are subsequently planning and buying their ways onto the map by upgrading infrastructure and building attractions to build the number of foreign visitors and investors. Examples of new synthetic destinations include United Arab Emirates’ man-made islands and Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Arts.
- Fauxthentic Travel – Travelers looking for authentic experiences yet would prefer not to put in the leg work and expense are turning to “faux authentic” hotels and tours for a simulated experience replicating the originals. Some travel to the Mayan Temple at Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas and take gondola rides at The Venetian Las Vegas to have “real” experiences from afar, while others pretend to rough it in luxury “tents” at places like the Molori Safari Lodge in South Africa while guides give them a real taste of the destination.
- Tomorrow’s Hidden Jewels – For those constantly seeking out the next destination untouched by tourism, an authentic travel experience is an off-the-beaten path adventure. Destinations such as Croatia and Thailand used to top the list of uncharted spots, but the study predicts Azerbaijan, Ghana and the Balkans will be next to hit adventure seekers’ radars.
- Cradles of Civilization – Though many of the world’s most historic places are currently immersed in civil unrest, making them unsafe for most visitors, this study predicts an upsurge in visitors to these cradles of civilization as the zones become safer. Examples are the Fertile Crescent in Iraq, the Indus Valley in Pakistan and the ancient kingdoms of Mali and Songhai in modern-day Mali and Niger.
CBI also identified the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, and Vietnam, respectively, as the top three “rising stars” – those likely to become major tourist destinations in the next five years. Also making the list this year are Croatia, South Africa, and India.
FutureBrand has developed a three-tiered system for examining and ranking country brands. The Country Brand Index incorporates global quantitative research, expert opinions, and relevant secondary sources for statistics that link brand equity to assets, growth and expansion. The result is a unique evaluation system that provides the basis of our rankings and insights about the complexities and dynamics of country brands. The 2009 survey tracks the perceptions of approximately 3,000 international business and leisure travelers from nine countries—the US, the UK, China, Australia, Japan, Brazil, UAE, Germany and Russia. Participants were screened to include frequent international travelers (who travel internationally more than once a year) between the ages of 21 and 65, with a balanced split between men and women. Respondent perceptions of 102 country brands were quantified through questions about behavior around destination selection; country associations across an array of 29 image attributes; and overall awareness, familiarity, past visits, intent to visit, and willingness to recommend destinations to others. Survey results were aggregated and weighted in proportion to regional volume of travel consumption. This was done in order to minimize potential bias around preferred locations from respondents from regions that may have been over-represented in the sample. Our 2009 expert panel consists of 47 travel, tourism and hospitality professionals who are not associated with one specific destination.
About Weber Shandwick
Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations agency with offices in 77 markets around the world. The firm’s success is built on its deep commitment to client service, creativity, collaboration and harnessing the power of Advocates – engaging stakeholders in new and creative ways to build brands and reputation. Weber Shandwick provides strategy and execution across practices such as consumer marketing, healthcare, technology, public affairs, corporate/financial and crisis management. Its specialized services include digital/social media, advocacy advertising, market research, and corporate responsibility. Weber Shandwick was recognized as PRWeek’s 2009 Global Agency Report Card Gold Medal Winner, named Global Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report and Large PR Firm of the Year by PR News in 2008. The firm also won the United Nations Grand Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Relations for a lifestyles educational campaign in India. Weber Shandwick is part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). For more information, visit http://www.webershandwick.com.
FutureBrand (www.futurebrand.com), part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE: IPG – News), is a leading brand consultancy within IPG that commands a global presence spanning 24 major cities around the world. Partnering with the world’s leading companies, FutureBrand helps its clients to develop profitable brands both today and into the future. Offering a full range of services from consumer branding and corporate identity, to brand identity, brand management and beyond, FutureBrand works with clients to measure and increase brand value, define breakthrough brand strategies and create powerful brand experiences. Clients include ArcelorMittal, P&G, Microsoft, Dubai World, Intel, Barclays Premier, Nokia, Nestle, MasterCard, UPS and Unilever.