Japan is the world’s strongest country brand: FutureBrand study

Words used to describe Japan, source: FutureBrand

Words used to describe Japan; source: FutureBrand

Japan is the world’s strongest country brand, according to global perception study by FutureBrand.

Japan emerged on top for the first time of an annual study that in recent years has been led by the likes of Switzerland and Nordic countries.

Australia, ranked eighth, is the only other country from Asia Pacific to feature in a top ten dominated by Europe. Switzerland was second, Germany third, Sweden fourth and Canada fifth.

More than 65 per cent of survey respondents said they would consider visiting Japan in the next five years and 90 per cent would recommend it to family and friends.

About 90 per cent of those asked think Japan is a good place to do business and 63 per cent said they’ll buy Japan-made products compared to the countries average of just 20 per cent.

The most common words respondents used to describe Japan in the study included technology, culture, respect and food.

FutureBrand APAC country rankings

APAC country rankings

Australia ranked highly because it is well regarded as a tourism destination, its living standards and value system.

New Zealand is ranked 11th in the study, also because of its well-perceived value system.

Singapore is 14th because it is reckoned to be a good place to do business, while South Korea, which is rated for its consumer brands, is ranked 20th.

As a region overall, Asia Pacific scored well as a tourism destination, natural beauty, range of attractions and historical points of interest, but poorly for political freedom, tolerance and value for money.

In the rankings for APAC, Fiji, China, Taiwan and Thailand featured in the top 40, and Malaysia and India in the top 50. Pakistan was the lowest ranked APAC country, in 73rd place.

China was highlighted as the world’s most exciting country brand to watch for the future, followed by the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

City rankingsThe study of 118 countries was conducted using similar metrics FutureBrand uses to measure consumer or corporate brands – ranking nations according to strength of perception. It involved 2,530 men and women aged between 21-65 years old.

On what makes a strong country brand, FutureBrand highlighted the value of cities, the strengths of a country’s domestic brands and a nation with momentum in technology, innovation and sustainability.

FutureBrand also asked respondents to say which cities they felt would be the most influential in three years’ time. In a ranking topped by New York and London, Beijing came third, Tokyo sixth, Shanghai ninth, Hong Kong eleventh and Singapore 12th. New Delhi, Seoul and Mumbai was also in the list of 20 cities.

Not all countries can be described as brands, FutureBrand proposed in this year’s study. Only countries that people feel rate highly in terms of their status and the experience of being there are defined as brands.

The full country rankings can be seen here:

Overall ranking

Overall ranking (click to enlarge)

FutureBrand has released an explanatory video to accompany the study, which can be read in full here.


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