Germany remains most positively perceived nation

Germany continues to be the nation perceived most positively around the world, retaining its number one position in the prestigious Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index (NBI) for 2018.

Japan jumped to second place from fourth in 2017. Despite Brexit concerns, the UK continued to hold third place. France declined by two positions to fourth place, and Canada ranked fifth. The United States – suffering a perception problem in the Trump era – retained the sixth rank, now tied with Italy. The top 10 was rounded out by Switzerland (8th) Sweden (9th) Australia (10th).

The data, which is taken from 20,224 online interviews online in 20 panel countries rates the brand image of 50 nations worldwide. It assesses the current reputation of a country in six fields: Exports, Government, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment, which in turn incorporate 30 regional factors.

Germany repeated its win as in 2008, 2014, and 2017, with its advantage lying in its consistent strengths across multiple dimensions; it is ranked in the Top 10 across all six fields for 2018. It is perceived particularly well in Exports (the global public view “Made in Germany” products as the best to buy) and Immigration-Investment, but also in the Culture & Heritage sub-categories. The Chinese in particular have a positive perception of Germany, ranking it first in Exports, Governance, People, and Immigration/Investments.

Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) says: “Germany enjoys an excellent reputation in the highly competitive environment of the world’s most important economic nations. This positioning confirms the success of our sustained, ongoing promotion of Germany as a travel destination.”

While the overall NBI rank of the United States in 2018 remained number 6, the US saw the greatest overall NBI score drop this year. The US brand image has been further eroded in the Governance, Culture, and People categories, where the United States ranking dropped by three positions, driven by more negative perceptions in Canada and China. Nevertheless, it still ranks among the top five nations in three categories: Culture (where it is ranked fifth), Exports (second), and Immigration/Investment (fifth).

Perceptions of the UK remained stable, despite uncertainties around Brexit. The UK was ranked among the top four on four reputational categories, including Tourism, where it fell behind destination heavyweights Italy, France, and Spain, but ahead of Greece.

Japan’s national image continues to hinge mostly on Exports (where it ranks first) and People (gaining three positions to fifth). Its overall score was boosted by improved perceptions among South Africans (+2.84), Polish (+2.68), and the French (+2.45).

Big sporting events were also shown to have an influence on the image of their host nations on the global scene. South Korea, as host of 2018 Winter Olympics, gained solidly in the total NBI score and moved up in rank by three positions. FIFA World Cup host Russia gained more modestly in the total Index and did not move up in ranks, but improved significantly in the sub-categories People and Tourism.