In December Brand Finance published its Nation Brands 2020 ranking, which measures countries' national branding. The report and rankings explain how a country positions and promotes itself, calculating the value of its Nation Brand. 100 countries are covered. Broadly the data matches economic heft, but many countries punch above their economic weight where they have soft power. Brand Finance use 7 factors - business / trade; governance; international relations; culture / heritage; media / communications; education / science; and people / values. A Nation brand translates into: more investment, stronger human talent, exports of goods and services from the country and tourism. Of course 2020 noted a huge negative value drop for most Nation brands due to the pandemic; almost everywhere.
In SE Asia most countries’ Nation brands were relatively static as would be expected. Several fell more – Malaysia and Philippines - due to local factors reducing their attractiveness. The star was Vietnam which bucked the worldwide trend. Its Nation Brand rose in value by a huge 29% taking the country up a 9 places. This is explained by the shift in manufacturing from China driving growth, opportunity and attractiveness.
The ranking of the values of SE Asia's Nation brands are as follows:
17 Indonesia – down 2 places
27 SG – same as 2019
28 TH same as 2019
29 MY down 6 places
31 PH down 6 places
33 VN up 9 places
69 MN down 1 place
99 KH up 1 place
A separate analysis by Brand Finance measures the pure brand strength, combined with the Global Soft Power Index; in effect this reduces the impact of economic size. This year that top 10 includes Singapore which of course punches well above its economic weight in soft power.
This shows the impact of brands, and is a lesson for businesses trying to build brands and for governments trying to encourage and incentivize IP owning companies. Brand investment creates soft power which leads to greater economic opportunities. This works for SMEs, MNCs and even countries.