The Reputation Institute just published its 2018 Country Reputation Ranking. Based on its RepTrak methodology, which involves surveying a representative audience, the institute has identified Sweden to have the strongest reputation among the 55 largest countries by GDP, followed by Finland and Switzerland.
A look at the data and a comparison of the dynamics over the past years permits quite a few interesting observations. The RI team highlights the low impact of economic power, country size or population. In contrast, being welcoming, safe, beautiful and highly principled is identified as the key driver of a country’s reputation. A strong positive impact on country reputation, however, is therefore to comments and articles in the news or on social networks. Combined with the significant positive impact of familiarity (an indicator of the extent that someone feels to know the country well), this highlights the potential of storytelling and awareness raising by countries.
Sweden itself has climbed onto the top spot from being 3rd last year. The survey shows that it has an excellent image as being welcoming, tolerant and very ethical. Finland, which climbed from 7 to 2, was identified as the highest climber, driven by the recent legalization of same-sex marriage and its reputable education system. Canada, on the contrary, dropped from 1st to 7th place, owing to a significant slip in approval rates for the Canadian government and less liberal policies.
The full summary presentation is absolutely worth reading. It has additional case studies including the UK (in the context of Brexit), Spain (in the context of the Catalonia uprising) and the US (reflecting on Trump). It can be downloaded here.