These economies have the best ‘brand’

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Victoria Masterson, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • The Nation Brands Index has ranked economies by brand appeal since 2008.
  • 2021 is the seventh year that Germany has topped the Index for its brand.
  • Canada, Japan and Italy are amongst other places making gains.
  • Around 60,000 people give their views on factors like governance, culture and immigration.

It’s not a chocolate bar or favourite shop, but the place you live has a brand, just like companies and products.

This is the premise of the Anholt Ipsos Nation Brands Index, which has been assessing how citizens of the world view its nations, cities and regions since 2008. And it finds that Germany tops the ranking of 60 economies for the fifth year in a row in 2021.

The Index measures the power and quality of these brands by looking at six factors: exports, governance, culture, tourism, people, and immigration and investment.

Germany preserves its top ranking in overall NBI.
Germany topped the Anholt Ipsos Nation Brands Index for the fifth year in a row in 2021. Image: Anholt Ipsos Nation Brands Index

Germany is the brand winner

It’s the seventh time overall Germany has topped the rankings.

“Global respondents feel particularly positive about buying German products, the appeal of investing in German businesses, the employability of German people, the German government’s work to fight poverty, and excelling in sports,” Ipsos says.

The other top 10 places for their brand appeal are Canada, Japan, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, the United States, Sweden and Australia.

Canada was ranked first place in the Index for governance, people, and immigration and investment indices, helping it move into second place for the first time.

What is the World Economic Forum doing on trade facilitation?

The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is a collaboration of international organisations, governments and businesses led by the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Economic Forum, in cooperation with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.

It aims to help governments in developing and least developed countries implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement by bringing together governments and businesses to identify opportunities to address delays and unnecessary red-tape at borders. Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation | Benefits of Trade

For example, in Colombia, the Alliance worked with the National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute and business to introduce a risk management system that can facilitate trade while protecting public health, cutting the average rate of physical inspections of food and beverages by 30% and delivering $8.8 million in savings for importers in the first 18 months of operation.

The United Kingdom’s contributions to science and technology helped boost its brand, although having been ranked second last year it has slipped to fifth in 2021. Canada and Japan now complete the top three. The reputation of the United States has begun to rebound across all five categories.

Growing brand appeal

Japan and Italy have both enjoyed “noteworthy improvements” in their Nation Brands Index ranking, Ipsos said. Tourism, culture, and people were point winners for both places.

Norway, Scotland, Singapore, India, Kenya and Nigeria are among the other 60 economies in the Anholt Ipsos Nation Brands Index.

The desire to visit locations around the world – assuming that money was no object – was also intensifying over time and reached its highest point in 2021, Ipsos added.

Desire to visit - overall average ratings.
People want to travel to places more than ever in 2021, the Nation Brands Index suggests. Image: Anholt Ipsos Nation Brands Index

The term “nation brand” was coined in 1996 by economist and policy advisor Simon Anholt.

Ipsos said the number of economies measured for the Nation Brands Index Rose to 60 in 2021 from 50 in previous years.

The global sample size has expanded from 20,000 interviews to 60,000 interviews a year.

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