How do world consumers see the U.S.? According to a
recent report called the Nation Brands Index,
people believe that it’s a great place to do business,
but that our culture is not attractive. This reinforces
our call (see
story) for the need for an effective, credible and
pro-active public diplomacy policy to be quickly
developed and implemented in Washington to better
address global public relations issues.
The second Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index (NBI) report
ranks the brand power and appeal of 25 developed and
developing nations and is based on the opinion of 10,
000 consumers from 10 countries.
While the U.S. garnered the top spot for business, the
country was at the bottom of the list for culture and
heritage. This left the U.S. in 11th place overall,
below countries such as Australia, Switzerland, the U.K.
As globalization evolves, countries are increasingly
competing for investment money, tourism dollars,
attracting quality human resources and consumers. How
our country is viewed by the rest of the world has a
definite impact in all of these areas.
“Unlike other polls, the NBI is designed to measure the
real underlying brand power of each country, something
that takes generations to build and change," said Simon
Anholt, one of the authors of the report. “Further
research is needed, but the implications are genuinely
significant for how governments manage their countries’
international reputations. A country isn’t a packet of
soap powder that you can sell to a consumer.”
When the international panel was asked how much they
trust a country’s government to make responsible
decisions on peace and security, the U.S. came 19th just
above South Korea, China, and Russia, but below all
other Western nations. This perception reflects not
having an effective communications policy in place to
articulate American culture and values abroad.
If the U.S. is to continue to be the place everyone
comes to for education, work and lifestyle, then it will
have to proactively change others’ views of the country
and its people. This will require effective
international public relations on a scope that
transcends the private sector.