RI recently published research listing countries with the strongest reputations worldwide.
This list, the result of our annual Country RepTrak® study, compiles the reputation of the 55 largest countries in the world. Fieldwork is carried out among informed consumers in the former G-8 countries (USA, Germany, France, Italy, UK, Canada, Japan, and Russia).
2018 results: Trust in countries is in decline – just as it is for corporations.
The general public is losing faith as nations around the world shift focus to inward challenges rather than on a collective global good.
Country Size Does Not Impact Reputation
Here’s what we learned: country size, GDP, and superpower status do not matter.
Contrarily, our research reveals that countries leading in reputation tend to have smaller populations and are admired internationally due to factors beyond economic power. These factors include:
This year, Sweden takes the lead as the country with the strongest reputation, followed by Finland, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Denmark and the Netherlands.
RI analyzes what we call a country’s rational dimensions to help qualify reputation. Sweden, for example, is 2018’s country with the best perception on the quality of its institutions; New Zealand, on the quality of life; and Japan on level of development.
One of the most considerable conclusions we have reached during our analysis is that a country’s reputation has a substantial impact on supportive behavioral attitudes of international observers (e.g., “I would visit the country,” “I would buy its products,” “I would work or study in the country”). These approaches, subsequently, impact the country’s economy.
The ROI of Country Reputation
An analysis made with 72 countries’ historical records shows that increasing one additional Country RepTrak® Pulse point equates to an average increase of 0.9% in tourist arrivals and an average increase of 0.3% in exports.
2018 Country RepTrak® results demonstrate the importance of being a soft power. Countries with the strongest reputations do not necessarily have the largest economies or the most powerful armies, but they can influence the global community as a cause of their credibility.
Good reputation not only results in positive economic outcomes, but it also empowers a country to have an international role far beyond the one its objective size would grant: presence within international institutions and the ability to spread and effectuate its government’s views on political, social or economic issues of consequence, and even controversy.
Reputation Results by Country
We live in an environment of geopolitical tension, populistic movements and reemergence of nationalism within an atmosphere of skepticism and doubt, a place in which we are not always certain of the veracity of the media — an era of post-truth. This current context impacts the perception of countries.
The quantifiable facts point to an overall average decline on country reputation of 1 Pulse point (potentially due to the aforementioned generalized apprehension).
Other more specific conclusions of the evolution of country reputation data between 2017 and 2018 include, but are not limited to, the following:
(Reputation Pulse: Overall emotional perception. Reputation Index: weighted average of rational perceptions)