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Australia drops from second to fifth on global brand scale

There's nothing like Australia...except Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan

Nov 12, 2011

Australia's tourism image has taken a big hit over the past year, dropping from second to fifth in a global survey measuring country's brand identity.

While Australia ranked fifth for overall brand image in the annual FutureBrand survey - down from two last year - its fall was more dramatic in the tourism category.

Canada was named the number one country brand for the second year in a row, using the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics as a platform to build sustainable brand strength across the board.

It was followed by Switzerland, New Zealand and Japan.

Other iconic countries such as the United States and United Kingdom also fell - despite the publicity of the Royal Wedding earlier this year.

Australia ranked 10th for value, down one spot from last year, and seventh for quality of life, up one from last year.

It was still number one for advocacy, which means visitors who visit Australia are satisfied with their experiences.

FutureBrand Australia managing director Erminio Putignano said being in the top five branded countries was still a great result, but Australia had suffered because of the strong Australian dollar and recent natural disasters.

"The intention to come to Australia is high, when they are here they like it and they become advocates but converting that intention to convert that intention with the Australian dollar so high has been the big problem,'' he said.

"There's been a shift in the power of the iconic countries and brands... what we're really seeing probably for the first time is the traditional countries are losing their ground.

"They are losing their power in the world's psyche and smaller countries like Switzerland, Sweden and Finland are performing well.''

New Zealand led the rankings when it came to perceptions of natural beauty and is enjoying high levels of macroeconomic growth.

Despite its devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japan rose to number four spot.

"It was probably almost a sympathy vote,'' Mr Putignano said.

The report said that, like the Chilean miners rescue and the Iceland volcanic eruption in 2010, global news exposure can have on perceptions of a place, regardless of the nature of the news itself.

But in Japan's case it said it could be latent goodwill and decades of strong reputation building that led to its resilience.

The global survey assesses 113 countries across 26 image attributes and six measures of brand strength.

The strength of a country brand is measured on the levels of awareness, familiarity, preference, consideration, advocacy and active decisions to visit or establish a commercial relationship with.

The report said the best country brands have a strong sense of identity, developed over time and presented consistently across touch points.

Top 10 Country Brands

1. Canada (=)
2. Switzerland (+3)
3. New Zealand (=)
4. Japan (+2)
5. Australia (-3)
6. United States (-2)
7. Sweden (+3)
8. Finland (=)
9. France (-2)
10. Italy (+2)

There's nothing like Australia...except Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan
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