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With a strong industry, cutting edge technology, breathtaking landscape and exciting culture, Sweden is ranked as one of the most admired countries globally, according to a new nation branding survey.

The United States is still the most admired country in the world with the best overall brand, according to public affairs agency GfK Roper and policy advisor Simon Anholt. At the same time Brazil and China rallied in the charts.

Sweden came in at number ten, the same place as in last year’s ranking.

"Sweden is certainly one of the most admired countries on the planet", Simon Anholt told The Swedish Wire, adding that Sweden's image doesn't change much from year to year. "Fiddling around with slogans and logos does absolutely nothing to affect a country's image, which is deeply rooted in the global cultural commons". 

The Scandinavian has the privilege of holding both functional and decorative values. Most people think of most countries as being either predominatly useful or predominantly decorative: Brazil and Italy and Thailand and Jamaica are decorative but not useful, while Germany and Japan are slightly more useful than decorative. 

"One of the reasons why Sweden's image is so perfect is because it is unusually well balanced. Sweden manages to be both in almost equal proportions: competent and stylish, efficient and sexy, smart and attractive. The UK and US are the only two countries who are even better balanced in this respect", Simon Anholt said.

Sweden's so called brand value is the result of factors such as a good business environment, the welfare system, international diplomatic relation, long-lasting peace and generous attitude towards poorer countries.

"My survey tells me that more and more these days, people admire countries that are believed to be responsible and principled players in international affairs", Simon Anholt said. "Sweden scores well because it is perceived to care about good governance, the environment, racial and cultural tolerance, poverty reduction and many of the other borderless issues that people really care about.

"Ultimately, people are glad that Sweden exists, and that's the best possible predictor for a positive national image".

American magazine Newsweek recently ranked Sweden the world’s third best country. The magazine hailed the Scandinavian country’s high level of political participation and its long-lasting neutrality - ranking Sweden as having the best political environment in the world. The magazine was also impressed by the country’s commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Still, for countries far away the picture of Sweden is fuzzy.

Simon Anholt points out the importance of understanding not only the overall reputation standing of nations, but also individual attributes. "While the United States ranks No. 1 on the overall Nation Brands Index, it ranks much lower on a few individual questions such as ‘behaves responsibly in world peace and security’ and ‘behaves responsibly in protecting the environment’.”, he said.

The steady gains of developing economies suggest that the reputation gaps between the West and the East will continue to narrow, the survey also pointed out.

Overall Brand Ranking (Top 10 of 50 Nations)

 

2010

2009

1

United States

United States

2

Germany

France

3

France

Germany

4

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

5

Japan

Japan

6

Canada

Italy

7

Italy

Canada

8

Switzerland

Switzerland

9

Australia

Australia

10

Sweden

Spain, Sweden (tie)

Source: 2010 and 2009 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands IndexSM

 

 

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