India has been placed as the globe's seventh most valued 'nation brand' in 2015, moving up one notch from eighth position in 2014.
With an increase of 32 per cent in its brand value to USD 2.137 billion (from USD 1.621 in 2014), , according to Brand Finance, which brought out its annual report on the world's most valuable nation brands in October 2015.
Brand Finance is the world's leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy and was set up in 1996 with the aim of 'bridging the gap between marketing and finance' and it companies and organisations of all types (including government institutions, trade associations and nation branding agencies) to connect their brands to the bottom line.
According to the report, US remains on the top with a valuation of USD 19.7 billion, followed by China and Germany. About the US, the report said: "The USA is undoubtedly a powerful brand with an inviting business climate. However its value comes in large part from the country's sheer economic scale. Not only is there a large, wealthy market predisposed to 'buy American' but also an unrivalled group of established companies and organisations exporting worldwide whose American heritage forms (to a lesser or greater extent) part of their appeal. The US' world leading higher education system and the soft power arising from its dominance of the music and entertainment industries are significant contributors too. This soft power will help the US to retain the most valuable nation brand for some time ."
The report noted "China's seemingly imminent rise to become the world's biggest economy" and it has retained its second position despite a decline of one per cent in its brand value to USD 6.3 billion. It said: "China's recent stock market turbulence and slowing growth will also extend the US' tenure of the top spot. The recent economic wobble is reflected in its stalling nation brand value, down 1% on 2014."
The Chinese slowdown however affects commodity exporters more than its own economy. "The moneyearning potential of countries such as Australia and the brands based there has decreased as a consequence. This is a critical factor in determining brand value, hence Australia's 10% fall to US$1.4 billion. Canada has suffered similarly, dropping 8% to US$2 trillion," the report pointed out.
Brand Finance has listed the UK as ranked 4th, Japan fifth and France sixth. But Brazil, it said, is down. "Growth has been a lowly 2% since 2011 but the collapse of commodity prices has seen it fall further. GDP is now in reverse dropping 1.9% from Q1 to Q2, while 500,000 jobs have been lost in the first half of the year."
Citing the war in Syria and neighbouring countries as detrimental, Brand Finance noted that Russia's involvement has brought negative results to the fore. "Both Russia and Ukraine saw their nation brands suffer heavy losses between 2013 and 2014 thanks to the detrimental impact of the conflict on investor and consumer perceptions. This year is no different. Russia is down 31% to US$810 billion and Ukraine 45% to US$44 billion," it noted. In fact, Russia and Ukraine fall among the five worst-performing nation brands. The other three are Peru, Honduras and Argentina.
Of the five best-performing nations brands, the report says, four are African - Cameroon, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia - and leading the pack is Iran! "Iran meanwhile is the fastest growing nation brand this year. Its brand value is up 59% to US$159 billion as Hassan Rouhani's moderate approach slowly shifts international perceptions of the country's potential," the report said.
According to Courtney Fingar of fDiIntelligence, the largest centre of foreign direct investment excellence, "India's "Incredible India" slogan works well across all of these groups (international consumers, tourists, students, investors), in my opinion. Who doesn't want to discover something incredible?"