Some months ago, Reputation Institute published the latest findings of its Country RepTrak report, which measures the reputation of 55 nations based on a survey of 48,000 citizens of the G8 countries: France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada.
Countries were evaluated on 16 attributes, ranging from safety and economic stability, to the friendliness of residents and even the beauty of the countryside. Based on the indicators, the world’s 20 most reputable nations were as follows:
Canada once again claims the top spot, having been unseated the previous year by Switzerland (which still ranks a respectable fourth place). Most of the top countries were European, and unsurprisingly tend to perform well in a range of other metrics such as wealth, stability, healthcare, education, and civil liberties.
The Reputation Institute’s Fernando Prado told CTV, “We all love Canada because of several things … absence of corruption … a high level of welfare for the inhabitants, and with friendly and welcoming people.”
Eight of the top 10 nations are very far north, seven of them (all European nations) are or have been militarily neutral in the past, and five are NATO members.
Surprisingly, the U.S. falls just short of cracking the top 20.
Prado explains: “The U.S. has an average reputation … because they don’t have the highest scores in all the different attributes. They have very strong ones in technology, in having strong brands, but not as much in other ones.” Prado describes a negative “emotional halo” surrounding the U.S., citing that the U.S. scored well in rational areas but less so in emotional ones.
Significantly, the most improved countries included Iran (+10.8%), China (+7.9%), and India (+7.4%).
The rise and fall of reputations year to year says a lot about what is going on in the world. For example, Iran’s rise likely has a lot to do with its efforts to improve relations with the West (as of the study, the nuclear talks were still ongoing). By contrast, Qatar’s decline can be attributed to the negative press surrounding the deaths and abuse of migrant workers involved in the preparation for the 2022 World Cup.
Just as individuals worry about their image and social standing in society, so, too, do entire nations take into account their perception on the global stage. In a rapidly globalizing world, where economic fortune is increasingly reliant on more transient human capital, a good reputation can count for a lot. Ostensibly, countries that are perceived to be friendlier and more attractive places to live and work will be able to draw in more talent, investment, and diplomatic goodwill.