Switzerland is the strongest nation brand in the world

According to the "Nation Brands 2021" report, Switzerland is the world's strongest nation brand in 2021. Last year's winner Germany slips to fifth place and Austria lands in 13th place.

Brand Finance identifies the world's strongest and most valuable nations every year. A country's national image not only has an impact on its economy and its brands. It is also one of the most important trump cards when it comes to investment in the country, exports or tourism and skilled migration. Two metrics are important here: brand strength - the Brand Strength - and brand value, the Brand Value. Brand strength makes a non-financial or non-monetary statement about the brand effectiveness of a nation. Brand value, on the other hand, makes a monetary statement about a nation's brand.

A small country as the strongest national brand

With a Brand Strength Index of 83.3 points - a maximum of 100 is possible - Switzerland has moved to the top of the ranking of the world's strongest nation brands. Its Brand Strength Index BSI remained stable compared to the previous year. In 2020, Switzerland achieved 82.9 points out of a possible 100. In contrast to Switzerland, the BSIs of competing countries fell in 2021. "Switzerland is the best proof that a country's small size is not an obstacle to taking a solid position in national brand strength. Switzerland has held its own while other countries have faltered during the pandemic," David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, was quoted as saying in a statement.

The experts of the Nation Brands Report see one reason for Switzerland's winning position not least in its Corona policy: During the pandemic, the country relied on a mixture of mandatory and non-mandatory measures to contain the Covid 19 virus, which had a positive impact on Switzerland's external perception in particular. For example, while non-essential businesses had to close, the government's call to stay home always remained a request, not an obligation.

Top 10: Germany with biggest increase in brand value

Last year's winner, Germany, falls from first to fifth place in the BSI's brand strength ranking. "The Germans are to blame. They rated the performance of their government in the Corona and election year 2021 more negatively than in the previous year in almost all areas, but especially in business and trade. Abroad, on the other hand, Angela Merkel's government is praised for 16 years of strong and stable leadership.

The good news for Germany is that even though it slipped in the brand strength ranking, it was able to score points in terms of brand value. In the 2021 ranking, Germany just missed the podium and once again landed in the top ten. It recorded the biggest increase in brand value there, namely by almost 14 percent. Germany's national brand value climbed from USD 3.813 billion (as of 2020) to USD 4.335 billion (as of 2021).

Austria in 13th place

Austria has improved slightly in terms of brand strength, landing in 13th place in the 2021 ranking - compared with 15th place in the previous year. Austria also scored a success in terms of brand value: After a year in 26th place, it has once again made it into the top 25 of the national brand value ranking and thus into the top quarter of the world's most valuable nation brands. Austria's national brand value soared from 470 billion U.S. dollars in the previous year to 536 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, an increase of 14 percent.

"In the difficult pandemic environment, the nation brand Austria was able to gain momentum. To what extent the current government crisis in Austria will take the wind out of the brand sails again, we will see in our ranking next year," says Ulf-Brün Drechsel, Country Manager DACH at Brand Finance, referring to the corruption allegations against former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his resignation. "But Austria - just like Germany and Switzerland - has proven in recent years that it is a stable nation brand and can compensate for crises in the long run."

Global tops and flops

The biggest losers in the ranking of national brand strength in 2021 are the USA and the United Kingdom. The UK plummets from second to 14th place. The USA slips from fourth to 17th place.

In the brand value ranking, the USA and China battled it out for first and second place, as usual. In this year marked by the pandemic and the US elections, the United States is ahead.


"Nation Brands 2021" is an annual report that identifies the 100 most valuable and strongest national brands worldwide. The report is published by Brand Finance, a consulting firm for brand valuation. The report can be downloaded and further information is available at Brandirectory.com/rankings/nation-brands/.

Brand Finance determines the brand strength of a nation on the basis of three parameters: Firstly, on the basis of a country's investments, for example in business and trade, education and science. Secondly, on the basis of outputs such as exports, labor potential and tourism. Thirdly, on the basis of the perception of a nation at home and abroad by means of the Global Soft Power Index. This is the world's most comprehensive survey, gathering the opinions of over 75,000 people in more than 100 countries. Topics such as the economy and trade, culture, the press, and also the handling of the Corona pandemic were surveyed for this year's report.

Each metric is assigned a maximum score of 100 and together contribute to an overall Brand Strength Index (BSI) score for the national brand, which can also reach 100 points. Based on this score, each national brand is assigned a Brand Strength Rating, which is similar to a credit rating.

The monetary brand value is then calculated from the hypothetical royalty rate, taking into account the Brand Strength Index (BSI), and a country's brand-related GDP flows based on the IMF's World Economic Outlook forecasts. The calculated after-tax brand-related GDP flows are discounted to a net present value using the discount rate to determine the national brand value.

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