New Report Suggests Brand America’s Global Equity Is Declining

Ed Burghard“The price of light is less than the cost of darkness.”

Quote Attributed To: Arthur C. Nielsen

Every year, FutureBrand ( a leading authority on brands and branding) publishes a global ranking of country brands. The country brand index (CBI) uses both quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the strength of a country’s brand equity. The analysis evaluates seven areas – awareness, familiarity, preference, associations, consideration, decision/visitation and advocacy.

While the methodology is cumbersome to describe (you need to read their Report to trill understand it), the bottom line is counties ranked high have a stronger global equity than countries ranked low.

Why does it matter? Here is FutureBrand’s response “… strength or weakness of perception of a country can influence peoples’ decisions to choose them as places to visit, live or invest in.” As economic development professionals, we can relate to all three impacts.

Here is how Brand America ranked in the 2014-15 Report.

Overall -#7 It should be noted that in 2009, Brand America ranked #1. Our Nation continues to struggle.

Value System (political freedom, environmental standards, tolerance) – Not in the top 10. Sweden tops the list.

Quality of Life (health & education, standard of living, safety & security, would like to live/study there) – Not in the top 10. Switzerland tops the list.

Business Potential (good for business, advanced technology, good infrastructure) – #2. Japan was ranked #1.

Tourism (value for money, range of attractions, resort & lodging options, would like to visit for a vacation, food) – #3. Italy tops the list.

Heritage & Culture (historical points of interest, art, natural beauty) – Not in the top 10. Italy tops the list.

Made In (make products that are authentic, high quality, and unique) – #4. Japan tops the list.


I don’t know how you feel , but in my mind a #7 ranking is simply unacceptable. In fact, when last year’s ranking was published I authored a post entitled “Enough is Enough”. In the post, I share other ranking reports that attempt to measure the same thing.

Couple the #7 ranking with the data from Xavier University which indicates residents of the US believe they have achieved only 64.6% of their American Dream. When 35.4% of the American Dream is left on the table to be realized, is it any surprise the world questions the authenticity of our Nation’s promise?

Better enabling residents to achieve their American Dream will go a long way toward rebuilding Brand America’s global equity and getting us back to the #1 position as the best Nation in the world to live and work in.

I encourage you to learn more about Xavier University’s research into the American Dream and FutureBrand’s study. Both offer important perspective to the economic development profession.

2013 American Dream Cities Report

2013 American Dream Cities Report

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