Monday, November 15, 2010

For what it's worth: Canada's 'brand' is #1

As described by FutureBrand:
The strength of a country's brand is determined in the same way as any other brand. We can measure levels of awareness, familiarity, preference, consideration, advocacy and active decisions to visit. But the most important factors, the aspects that truly differentiate a nation brand, are its associations and attributes -- the things that people think of when they hear a place name, or look at a photograph or plan a trip.

The FutureBrand 2010 Country Brand Index, produced in partnership with BBC World News, is our most comprehensive study of country brands to date. It is based on more respondents across more countries and questions than ever before. After five years of research, we know that country brand strength is driven by perceptions of heritage and culture, tourism, what it's like to do business, quality of life and national value systems.

But above all, a strong country brand is more than the sum of its attributes: it makes peoples' lives better.

From progressive politics to openness, freedom of speech, movement and a positive outlook on the world, countries that are geared around their people and their needs score highly. They also have to create a strong emotional connection, making people want to visit, do business, learn and build their lives in a place. Not just that, but like any brand, they need to be consistent across all touch points, from advertising and public relations to political representatives, cultural ambassadors, tourists, companies and indigenous products. We need to be able to differentiate between country brand experiences, from people to places, from products to companies. Country brand ranking even correlates to how far a nation exports its values through its iconic brands.

These features, coupled with a strong point of view and role on the world stage and a tireless effort to drive the world forward, encouraging tourism, immigration, cultural exchange and partnership, make the difference between a nation state and a genuine country brand. Also, as the 2010 Country Brand Index reveals, while economic performance is vital to brand strength, it is not enough to guarantee a high world ranking.
Download the entire report (.pdf) here.