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Investors feared damage to rUK's credibility

‘No’ vote helps Brand Britain surge 20% in value

scot refThe No vote in the Scottish referendum added 20% to the total value of Brand Britain after years of investor concern which threatened to undermine “centuries” of value.

According to a new study the poll result was the biggest factor in a surge in the value of the UK brand this year to £1.8 trillion.

The study of 100 leading ‘nation brands’ by Brand Finance, a brand valuation and strategy consultancy, assesses the impact a country’s reputation has on governments, investors, students and consumers.

Key Findings:

  • The Scottish referendum threatened ‘Brand Britain’ but a ‘no’ vote has seen the UK’s nation brand value surge 20% to $2.8 trillion (£1.8 trillion)
  • The US is the world’s most valuable nation brand with a $19.3 trillion brand value
  • Germany is the strongest nation brand, with a score of 75.84 out of 100
  • Qatar is the fastest growing nation brand; its brand value is up 39% to $256 billion
  • Ukraine is the fastest faller; its brand value is down 37% to $80bn
  • The impact of conflict has been felt in Russia too; its brand value is down $90 billion

Economic growth in Britain allowed it to outstrip most other European states but the growth in the value of Brand Britain has been “muted” over the last two or three years in the run up to the referendum, says the report.

“Some investors were put off by the uncertainty around the result and analysts attached a greater risk premium to the country’s growth. Had Scotland voted Yes, the centuries of brand equity built up around the UK Nation Brand would have been lost.”

It went on to acknowledge that Scotland has developed “a robust nation brand even within the greater UK”, however what was left of the UK would have had “a tricky task to stabilise its international reputation and to re-establish a credible identity.”

The UK total brand value has risen 20% to $2.8 trillion (£1.8 trillion). Of the ‘four pillars’, the UK’s biggest improvements have come from ‘goods & services’ and ‘tourism’. The UK has actually fallen back slightly (from 75 to 74) on the ‘Talent’ segment as efforts to curb immigration from outside the EU have made attracting the world’s brightest students more difficult for the UK’s world leading universities and most critically, its businesses.

Brand USA continues its domination of the Brand Finance Nation Brands report. Its $19.3 trillion brand value is more than three times that of second placed China, whose brand value comes in at $6.4 trillion.

Though the actions of the US on the international stage are frequently in question and polarisation and deadlock beset domestic politics, decades as the preeminent force in finance, entertainment, democracy and technology means the US should continue to top the ranking for years to come.

Germany remains Europe’s powerhouse with an almost unrivalled reputation for quality manufacturing and efficiency. Unemployment is falling and the country’s World Cup win has, to a limited extent at least, generated a positive ‘halo’ effect. In terms of overall nation brand value, Germany sits in third place.

Qatar is this year’s fastest growing nation brand. Alleged corruption surrounding its bid for the World Cup has focused attention on its social policies and political entanglements. However, these reputational issues have by no means overwhelmed the emirate.

It is particularly stable and has been afflicted by neither civil war, nor conflict in neighbouring states. Home grown brands such as Ooreedoo are flourishing internationally, laying the foundations for success beyond the era of liquefied natural gas. Total nation brand value is up 39%, making Qatar this year’s fastest mover.

The falling price of crude oil threatens to play havoc with Russia’s balance of payments and potentially destabilise the Putin government. The invasion of Crimea and support for rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk has alienated many foreign governments, investors and tourists and has led to the imposition of economic sanctions.

The combined effect of all these issues has meant Russia has lost its status as an ‘A rated’ nation brand. Overall national brand value is down, from $1.26 trillion to $1.17 trillion, which sees Russia fall behind Italy and into 12th place.

Brand Finance chief executive David Haigh said:  “The states of the 21st century are participants in a global marketplace, with intense competition for tourists, students, the best workers and investment.

“The results of this year’s Brand Finance Nation Brands report show the advantages that a strong nation brand can confer; the effect of a country’s image on the brands based there and the economy as a whole makes a nation brand the most important asset of any state.

“Governments, trade bodies and businesses must take steps to ensure that their nation brand is strategically appropriate, well-managed and regularly monitored in order to maximise the benefits.”

Most Valuable Nation Brands – The Top 10

Brand Value Rank 2014

Brand Value Rank 2013

Nation Brand

Total Nation Brand Value 2014 ($bn)

Brand Value Change ($bn)

Brand Value Change %

Total Nation Brand Value 2013 ($bn)

Brand Strength Rating 2014

Brand Strength Rating 2013

1

1

US

19,261

1,271

7%

17,990

AA+

AA

2

2

China

6,352

242

4%

6,109

AA-

AA-

3

3

Germany

4,357

355

9%

4,002

AA+

AA

4

4

UK

2,833

478

20%

2,354

AA

AA

5

5

Japan

2,458

195

9%

2,263

AA-

AA-

6

7

Canada

2,212

349

19%

1,863

AA-

AA

7

6

France

2,076

139

7%

1,938

AA-

AA-

8

9

India

1,621

255

19%

1,366

A+

A+

9

10

Australia

1,555

298

24%

1,257

AA

AA

10

8

Brazil

1,403

-75

-5%

1,478

A

A+

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