The FutureBrand Country Index 2020

FutureBrand & QRi Consulting
on 07/09/2020

The FutureBrand Country Index 2020 includes a swathe of questions relating to coronavirus, including qualitative and quantitative data on the domestic handling of the virus in respondents’ country of residence. For example, in the U.K., a small majority of respondents (28%) felt the government had handled the crisis “reasonably well”. Just 15% of respondents felt it had been handled “extremely well”, mirrored closely by the number who felt it had been dealt with “very badly” (17%).

Why was the research conducted?

This 2020 wave is the 3rd FutureBrand Country Index (FCI). Previous waves were conducted in 2014 & 2019.

In addition we are in the middle of the SARs Cov2 (Covid19) Coronavirus pandemic and the research also covered attitudes towards how countries are seen to be dealing with the Pandemic, and how it might impact on the image of that Country Brand.

How was the research conducted?

The FutureBrand Country Index 2020 draws on qualitative and quantitative data gathered from over 2,500 influential individuals, including chief executives, civil servants and other high-ranking professionals across the globe. Crucially, each individual surveyed by FutureBrand’s research partner QRi Consulting has travelled internationally in the last two years and has either visited or is familiar with the countries they rated.

This research is a global informed audience of frequent flyers evaluating the image and reputation of the World Bank’s Top 75 Countries by GDP.

What are the key findings of the research?

Key findings include Japan securing #1 country brand spot for third time; New Zealand topping new list of best handlers of coronavirus; and the UAE entering top ten as Middle East improves global standing

Japan retained its #1 spot in the rankings, a position it has held since the inaugural index was launched in 2014. It was joined in the top five by Switzerland, Germany and Canada, with the UAE and New Zealand entering the top ten for the first time in 9th and 10th place respectively.

The U.K. and U.S. retained spots in the top twenty, despite a year marked by political tensions and, of course, the continuing fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic. Each country fell just one place in the rankings, taking 20th and 13th place respectively, indicating robust country brands in the face of crises.

New to the Ci for 2020 is a swathe of questions relating to coronavirus, including qualitative and quantitative data on the domestic handling of the virus in respondents’ country of residence. In the U.K., a small majority of respondents (28%) felt the government had handled the crisis “reasonably well”. Just 15% of respondents felt it had been handled “extremely well”, mirrored closely by the number who felt it had been dealt with “very badly” (17%).

The index also includes a ranking of the best handlers of the coronavirus pandemic. New Zealand secured the top spot in the list, followed by China in 2nd place and Germany in 3rd place. Interestingly, “don’t know” took 4th place, with qualitative data from respondents indicating more time was needed to properly assess the success of different governmental strategies. South Korea rounded out the top five.

Jon Tipple, Global Chief Strategy Officer, FutureBrand, commented: “This year’s index once again goes beyond GDP to take into account broader metrics such as perceived Quality of Life, Value System and Heritage and Culture to inform up-to-date country brand rankings. This more nuanced index of global country brands offers fresh insight into challenger countries, which may yet be unclear from their economic standing.

“Ultimately, it's clear that countries which consistently invest in their global brand holistically are better placed to withstand the shocks of economic uncertainty, polemic news headlines, populist politics and even pandemics.”

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Contributor's Name: Simon Patterson
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