By Deutsche Welle, USA Today
Germany has replaced the United States as the country with the best “brand image,” according to a new study of 50 countries released Thursday.
The Nation Brands Index (NBI) survey by German-based market research firm GfK and the British political consultant Simon Anholt measured public opinion around the world on “the power and quality of each country’s ‘brand image.'”
Germany moved up to first place after coming in second in 2016. The U.S. dropped from top to sixth, with France, Britain, Canada and Japan taking spots two to five.
Not just a pretty car
The study calculated the final NBI score by researching how well people viewed a country across six categories: Its people, governance, exports, tourism, investment and immigration and culture and heritage.
The land of sausages, Angela Merkel and “Made in Germany” was in the top five for all but one category. Only in “tourism” did Germany fall outside the top five, coming in tenth.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel welcomed the results, saying: “Germany’s image no longer rests on our economic strength. People think we’re capable of much in the world.”
‘The Trump effect’
Foreigners’ views of the US worsened considerably compared to 2016, particularly in the category “governance,” where it slipped from spot 19 to spot 23.
The “Trump effect” explains the fall, according to Anholt.
“The loss of the U.S.’s image in the governance category is indicative of the Trump effect, which was triggered by President Trump’s policies and his ‘America First’ message,” he said.
Americans themselves nevertheless viewed their country more positively than in 2016.
France back, Britain steady
France went up three spots after coming in fifth in 2016 thanks to better scores in “governance” and “investment and immigration.”
The land of fine wine, Balzac and Voltaire came in number one for “culture.”
Britain stayed steady at spot 3, despite fears the country’s exit from the European Union (EU) would damage the country’s international image.