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SG sees surprise jump in rankings in comms pillar since 2020, finds Brand Finance study

SG sees surprise jump in rankings in comms pillar since 2020, finds Brand Finance study

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Singapore saw an unprecedented jump since 2020 of five ranks to 19th place for the media and communications pillar. The nation brand now joins the top 20, which includes the USA, United Kingdom, Germany and France, for this pillar.

Singapore also placed 16th for the report’s maiden sustainability pillar introduced in this year’s edition. This data was found in Brand Finance’s global soft power index 2023 report. Within the report’s media and communications pillar, Brand Finance’s research found that Singapore posted score improvements for the “affairs I follow closely” and “easy to communicate with” attributes.

The nation brand’s rank for the “influential media” attribute also went up three places to 20th position despite maintaining 2022’s 4.4 score.

Released at Brand Finance’s annual global soft power summit in London, Brand Finance’s global soft power index 2023 report measured the perceptions of 121 nation brands based on a representative sample of over 100,000 respondents in more than 100 markets worldwide.

Last year, Singapore took the title of Global Soft Power Index leader for 2021 in the ASEAN region, and is the only country in this region to make the global top 20 in Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Index 2021. Across Asia, it ranked fourth behind Japan, China and South Korea. Singapore is also ranked second among all Asian countries for the reputation score and is only second to Japan. 

Don't miss: Study: Which countries have the biggest soft power influence?

Alex Haigh, managing director, Asia Pacific of Brand Finance, said: “As Singapore continues to garner international attention owing to its strong position as a business and cultural hub, we see this mirrored in the influence of its media, also feted for professional rigor in terms of content production and dissemination.”

Additionally, the nation brand is leading much of the conversation on sustainability regionally and its research shows that this is being noticed, Haigh added.

The report also included other nations' data. China witnessed a marginal 0.8-point growth of its overall soft power score to 65, but it dropped in the rankings to fifth place from 2022’s fourth, overtaken by Japan.

While most nation brands accelerated global engagement across trade, investment, tourism and talent, China maintained its "zero-COVID" stance and kept international borders closed in 2022. This seemed to have undermined its ability to improve perceptions in relation to other nation brands as reflected in performance declines, such as for the people and values and media and communication pillars – down 57 places to 95th and down 12 places to 24th respectively.

Notwithstanding, China defended its 2022 position for several attributes including keeping its crown for “easy to do business in and with” and “future growth potential”. This is likely reflected by an uptick in sentiments owing to revised International Monetary Fund economic growth forecasts predicting a 5.2% gross domestic product (GDP) growth following China’s lifting of pandemic restrictions and economic rebound.

The nation brand’s influence score ranking remained in second place, second only to the USA. China also retained its third position for the education and science pillar, having posted strong performance gains for attributes such as “leader in technology and innovation”, “leader in science” and “invests in space exploration”.

Russia was the world’s only nation brand to lose soft power over the past year, while Ukraine saw the strongest soft power improvement. Although Russia’s familiarity and influence performance scores increased owing to global repercussions from its decision to go to war, the nation brand’s reputation score was severely damaged. Russia’s reputation score ranking fell from 2022’s 23rd to 105th, resulting in an overall soft power score decline of 1.3 points which caused it to drop out of the overall top 10 to 13th place from 2022’s ninth. Russia also lost ground relative to other nation brands on all 35 attributes apart from “affairs I follow closely”.

Concomitantly, Ukraine gained an overall soft power score increase of 10.1 points – more so than any other nation brand – driven by a steep rise in familiarity and influence scores. This resulted in a jump of 14 places to 37th position overall from 2022’s 51st. Ukraine also gained significant ground across attributes accentuated in official communications and media reports, such as securing third place for “affairs I follow closely”. The popularity of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy along with his closest aides propelled the nation brand a remarkable 36 places to 12th for the “internationally admired leaders” attribute.

The USA continues to defend its top spot in the overall rankings, having increased its lead with an overall score improvement of 4.1 points to an all-time high of 74.8.

Amidst a strengthening greenback and publicised large-scale federal government investment projects, perceptions of the US economy were positive, resulting in the nation brand wrestling top spot for the business and trade pillar away from China. In all, the USA clinched pole position for 12 attributes and placed within the top three for four others, bagging an unmatched total of 16 soft power medals.

The UK defended its second position in the overall rankings with an increase of 2.4 points to 65.8, led by gains across various attributes such as “good relations with other countries” and “appealing lifestyle”. 2022 will also go down in UK’s history as a year marked by a transition of three prime ministers.

While the nation brand’s reputation score remained at 7.3 from 2022, perceptions of the UK as “politically stable and well-governed” fell 10 places for this attribute as 2022 will be remembered as the end of an era. The passing of Queen Elizabeth II after a 70-year reign shook the nation. Intense media coverage of the mourning leading to the monarch’s funeral saw world leaders convening in attendance – a reminder of the nation brand’s greatest soft power asset.

Related articles: 

Brand Finance: A look at the leading brands in SG, and why tech brands tumbled
Brand Finance: PETRONAS CEO only ASEAN leader ranked in top 100 globally
Brand Finance: Only 7 ASEAN brands listed under top 500 global brands ranking

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