‘got Switzerland?’ Globally, It’s the Best Branded Country.

The Swiss Alps

Overlook view of the Alps.

There’s little doubt in my mind that you’d fall short of recognizing Toblerone chocolate packaged goods, a Swiss watch company, Wegner Swiss Army Knives, or Volvo automobiles. I bet you’ve even heard of the country Switzerland being a top brand in itself. Or have you? Yeah– neither had I.

Recent polls from Forbes Magazine have landed Switzerland “the best country brand globally.” Right off the bat, Forbes Staff writer Jacquelyn Smith stated Switzerland as “The Apple of the world.” For what it’s worth, a separate article by Forbes announced Steve Jobs’ most important products. Seems ironic to me!

Screenshot from Twitter handle @Forbes

Switzerland beat out two-time leader Canada by scoring high marks in CBI’s Value System dimension, including impressive scores in the political freedom, environmental friendliness and stable legal environment attributes.
What do you think? Should any nation truly be eligible to obtain a legitimate award for being “The Best”? I don’t think so.
Some Tweets from @Forbes Twitter handle revealed positive feedback from followers about the latest Swiss development. Following, yours truly had some beans to spill as well:

But according to the Country Brand Index, Switzerland made its way past Canada within the past 24 hours! It seems like country ‘brandedness’ might actually be a legitimate system.

Tweets from the @FutureBrand Twitter homepage.

Tweets from the @FutureBrand Twitter homepage.

I’m still not fully convinced.

After scrolling through folds of pages, I was able to find qualifications every country must meet for first place status. According to FutureBrand.com, “the CBI ranks nations based on today’s global perception” across public policy, globalization, and media-related disciplines for the final ranking of 118 nations.

According to Forbes:

“This year’s CBI surveyed 3,600 international business and leisure travelers from 18 countries around the world, including the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico the UAE, India, South Africa, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Australia to find the best country brands.

The overall index score was determined by performance in 26 image attributes across five key association dimensions: Value System, Quality of Life, Good for Business, Heritage and Culture, and Tourism. This score is then combined with the performance in six other areas of brand strength (Awareness, Familiarity, Preference, Consideration, Decision/Visitation and Advocacy) to find the top 25 country brands.”

If you wonder how the ranking is obtained, FutureBrand.com says that this is based on the government’s ability to effectively implement policies that protect its people and goals, on the country’s financial commitment to its future vision based on investment in infrastructure, education, healthcare, communications technology and international partnerships, on human capital, growth, sustainability and influence.

So, once more information about FutureBrand.com’s award for Switzerland was milked dry, I felt it necessary to take a gander at Google Trends to find out more reaction from the latest Swiss news….

Google Trends

A screenshot of Google Trends revealing the Top-10 Swiss Trends being searched just hours after the CBI revealed statistics.

…and the Top-10 Trends didn’t seem to reveal much about Switzerland’s latest accomplishment. As I searched through each term or phrase, I landed on sites about Geneva, Zurich, Switzerland weather, and maps, all the way to the end for Swiss job searches.

After that, I utilized the ‘Rising’ trends and I still found nothing about the recent news of the “best brand globally.” I’ve had to keep in mind, though, that these trends can, and will change during any given time period. News always has potential to spread like wild fire, especially when more readers discover the Forbes.com article recently mentioned.

So, does one have the right to say that the Country Branded Indices are just a joke? Not so fast, my friend. Here’s why FutureBrand.com will presumably always swear by it:

“In today’s world, brands are a collection of perceptions around products, services, places and experiences, and how they’re marketed to audience groups to drive preference, purchase and ultimately advocacy,” says Daniel Rosentreter, Future Brand’s North American chief strategy officer.

What about America, you ask? What’s our ranking? FutureBrand.com ranked the U.S. No. 8 spot.

As many would probably agree, I believe America’s truths lie within our freedom, democracy, ambition, and individualism. That said, I also feel it’s apparent that our scores decreased due to the ‘Obama Effect’ and successive fiscal issues in both the United States and Europe. That said, our social and economic capital are beginning to lose its global audience.

And other countries suffered as well. According to New York Times Stewart Elliot, Italy and Spain descended a considerable amount due to the scrutiny of the euro zone crisis.

So how does one go ‘all-in’ and boost their national brand?

FutureBrand.com’s analysts reveal that brands are more than just the sum of its parts:

“From progressive politics to a sense of openness and freedom of speech, a country that is geared around its people and their needs will inevitably boost their brand image. This creates an emotional connection and ripple effect whereby others around the world will want to visit the country, do business with it and build their lives in a particular place.”

As a student seeking to grow within the creative industry, I also hold similar truths to general ideas for any brand. I believe that a brand is ultimately an identity. I believe all brands reflect a relationship, and either appreciate or negate more users. That said, after the 2012-2013 CBI, I think it’s safe to say that Switzerland has earned its fair share to be first place on FutureBrand.com’s analysis of this country’s awareness, familiarity, preference, consideration  advocacy, and active decisions to interact with this place.






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