Marketing Planet

Nation Brand Index - what brand image does your country have?

What’s your country’s branding?

When speaking about marketing, we all know that branding and positioning are important elements. However, who did think about bringing this into the spheres of geopolitics? Well Simon Anholt did so since beginning 2005 when he launched a completely new topic: the Nation Brands Index.

This index ranks various countries and the image the have upon others in the world. How about explaining the fact that some prefer German cars, Italian design, or French cooking? According to Simon Anholt and the company GMI, together Anholt-GMI, these nation brands are far more important than a Nike or Nestlé. It is their vision that with globalisation, "countries compete with each other for the attention, respect and trust of investors, tourists, consumers, donors, immigrants, the media and the governments of other nations." It is thus clear that as a country’s government or organisation it is important to know where you stand.

How do you define the branding of a country?

The Anholt-GMI Nation Brand Index is based upon people’s perception of a country by means of 6 different areas. These areas are:

  • Tourism
  • Exports
  • Governance
  • People
  • Culture and heritage
  • Investment and immigration

Each country will be ranked on these 6 areas and the result is indicated by a hexagon. The country with the highest overall score will become the country with the best branding. But beside the world’s number 1, there is also a winner for each area.

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Anholt Hexagon

The first Nation Brand Index was edited in Q1 2005 with a limited number of countries. In the edition of Q2, this number already rose to 25 and gradually increased during the rest of the year.

The Q3 Edition: even more innovations

Recently the Q3 edition of the Nation Brand Index was edited and showed a new approach. This time it where the inhabitants of a country that ranked the other countries. Some of the major results were that for tourism most inhabitants preferred their own country. The main exceptions on this were the Dutch and the Polish. The Dutch, often prefer to go the South of Europe for their holidays, and place their country only on an 8th place. It is indeed rather Dutch to "poorly" appreciate their local aspects.

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Cover of the NBI Q3-2005

This Q3 report can be downloaded for free - after a simple and free registration. To have a look at the report, simply tick on the link: Report Q3 2005 Anholt-GMI Nation Brand Index. (Link for the NBI-Q2 edition The Q4 edition promises some more features that may interest many.

But who are Simon Anholt and GMI?

It may sound strange to you that this Nation Brand Index is for free available; there are today very few philanthropists. But the occupation that brings in the real money for Mr Anholt and GMI is probably not the Brand Index. Let’s have a look who’s behind this all:

  • Simon Anholt has had a large international experience with Proctor a Gamble, notably in market research. On his own website Earthspeak.com it says that he’s "regarded as one of the world’s leading specialists in creating brand strategies for countries, cities and regions". Further on, his biography states that "Simon Anholt advises governments, ministries, civil services and NGOs on the branding aspects of public diplomacy, economic development, public affairs, cultural relations and trade, tourism and export promotion."
  • GMI, founded in 1999, provides e-Business solutions for global market research offering a range of software applications and database services which enable MR firms to conduct global research, either on an ASP basis or via stand-alone Enterprise systems. Accordingly, Net-MR, GMI’s main software product, integrates panel management, project management, mixed-mode data collection, data processing, analysis and reporting into a single solution, enabling their clients to more efficiently conduct market research.

Well, you can combine the two and you will end up with the Anholt-GMI Brand Index family.

And now also: the City Brand Index

The Olympic Games for 2012 have already been appointed to London, but if the City Brand Index would have existed before, maybe this could have saved Paris from their defeat. For yes, Anholt-GMI have recently also launched the City Brand Index. What city - out of currently 30 in the world - is the most attractive? The website on the City Brand Index reveals the secrets.

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Anholt-GMI_city brand index

The principle of this index is the same as for the countries. Especially for tourism this index may be very interesting. Not only government organisations but also the tourist offices can find their interest in positioning their city among the others. Knowing with what cities you have to compete for weekend tourists is very important. Here the rules of marketing apply without any difference from any other products. The first report can be found here: citybrandindex.com/downloads

Its clear that this reports are condensed ones. More specific reports are available - not free - and can reply to special needs such as:

  • Compare their city’s image against their regional competitors
  • Identify which cities are their real competitors
  • Create more understanding and collaboration between stakeholders and sectors by showing them how they all can contribute to their city’s brand
  • Show potential investors which overseas markets are likely to favour their city’s exports
  • Track progress in city’s image enhancement
  • Create pride in their city’s international profile
  • Target investment promotion more efficiently and effectively

To find some more information about this new Brand Index, you can have a look at their press releases.

What will the future bring?

With the development of these brand indexes, we are likely to expect some more innovations from Simon Anholt and GMI. With Anholt’s link to government organisations, maybe we can even expect a brand index regarding organisations or associations (like Red Cross, Unesco etc...)