Place branding is steadily gaining prominence, with more and more towns, cities, regions, and countries around the world committing resources to the development of their brands. Places are investing in branding campaigns in order to establish a reputation for themselves, and to have a competitive edge in today’s competitive arena.
Country branding is an exciting, complex and controversial phenomenon. It is exciting, as it represents an area in which there is little literature but a considerable amount of real examples. It is complex, because it encompasses multiple disciplines beyond the limited realm of conventional brand strategy. It is controversial as is a highly politicized activity that generates passionately held and frequently conflicting viewpoints and opinions.
Some of that “conflicts” have emerged as the current branding measurement scales and indices used to understand the defining characteristics of places are far from being generally accepted and clear of doubts.
Among the measurement scales and indices the new Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2013 has been recently released. For the first time a worldwide ranking measures the “search engine” appeal of countries in the fields of:
The 2013 edition of the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking, developed under supervision of José Filipe Torres, CEO of Bloom Consulting, is based on global research that measures, among other variables, the number of searches produced every year by potential tourists and investors about every nation.
Bloom Consulting, a company located in the Spanish capital of Madrid has developed a proprietary tool, the Online Search Demand (OSD ©). The OSD is able to understand the online behaviour of potential tourists and investors (see page 7 of both rankings, for more details about OSD ©) and included it in the Ranking Algorithm.
The methodology applied by Bloom Consulting establishes 6 different Country, Region and City Branding (CRC) objectives or dimensions which are represented in the Bloom Consulting CRC Brand Wheel (see figure bellow):
1 – Attraction of Investment (Trade)
2 – Attraction of Tourism
3 – Attraction of Talent
4 – Increase in Pride
5 – Improvement of Public Diplomacy
6 – Increase in Exports
Each of these six objectives, or dimensions, have different target audiences that have different needs. In other words, what attracts each particular target audience to opt for any country, region or city is completely different (see figure).
Bloom Consulting CRC Brand Wheel objectives, target audience and respective needs
Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2013 – Tourism edition
The Tourism economic performance is a very important variable in the ranking. Good economic results, whether achieved by a carefully planned strategy or not, are in part a consequence of good country branding. If one applies common sense to this variable, it is easy to understand that tourists prefer to travel to a country they like or have emotional attachments to rather than to a country for which this is not the case.
The objective of this ranking is to classify how well each and every country is doing in terms of branding, that is, to measure how effective their brand is in the most tangible and realistic manner. For Bloom Consulting to classify the effectiveness of each Country Brand, we analysed 4 key variables for each of the 187 countries included in this Brand Ranking.
For the third consecutive year, the United States of America continues its dominance in the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking ©. This is thanks to both higher tourism receipts and international tourist arrivals (particularly in the past year) and effective Destination Brand promotion of the majority of its best assets. The U.S.A. has maintained a strong CBS Rating © reflecting the positive impact it has on the on Brand USA.
The European tourism powerhouses of Spain, Germany, France and the United Kingdom dominate the rest of the top 5. Of these countries, Germany (3) has improved 4 places from 7th last year.
You can download the full ranking here:
Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2013 – Trade edition
The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) performance is a very important variable in the ranking. Good economic results, whether achieved by a carefully planned strategy or not, are in part a consequence of good country branding. If one applies common sense to this variable, it is easy to understand that investors prefer to invest in a country with a good reputation rather than to a country for which this is not the case.
Moreover, all information was calculated based on official UNCTAD international FDI statistics as Nation Branding is aimed at each country’s international audience, rather than the domestic one.
Almost every country listed in the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © has an Investment Promotion Agency (IPA). The IPA is the official state agency responsible for positioning their respective Country Brand (from an Investment Strategy perspective). The IPA effectiveness can impact the Country Brand performance.
For the third year in a row, the United States of America are the winners of the ranking. This is no surprise though, having registered their strongest level of FDI for the past three years and also the largest online appeal in the world.
The rest of the top 5 most successful Nation Brands is split between Europe with the United Kingdom (3) and France (4) and Asia with China (2) and Hong Kong (5). China and Hong Kong have both increased due to their best year ever in terms of FDI Strategy. However, they have been penalized as neither utilizes an active Social Media platform as a component of their Country Branding Strategy. This would be the way forward if they were to challenge the United States at the top of the Brand Index.
You can download the full ranking here:
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José Filipe Torres blog (CEO Bloom Consulting)