The UAE has been ranked 19th globally among the world’s Top 20 Strongest Nation Brands in 2013, according to a recent study published by Brand Finance, an independent intangible assets and brand valuation consultancy.
The consultancy’s Nation Brand Impact Framework identifies the four segments that enable countries to identify, build and unlock the potential economic value within their nation brand. These four segments each have a crucial role to play in leveraging and improving a Nation Brand’s ability to enhance GDP growth, it maintains.
The four segments are: Investment, Tourism, Products & Services, and People & Skills. The 2013 annual report on Nation Brands reveals that the UAE was ranked as top mover on both Investment as well as People & Skills parameters.
The UAE is ranked No 7 among world’s most investor-friendly nations, and is also the country that has improved the most (along with the Philippines) in this area.
“The Philippines and the United Arab Emirates have made the greatest gains [on Investment], while Singapore remains the world’s most investment-friendly nation,” the report states.
“The UAE is aiming to make Dubai the host city of Expo 2020, Brand Finance research suggest that success could boost nation brand value by $8 billion [Dh29.4bn], by showcasing the city and the country as a whole as a prime destination for investment and talented workers from all over the world,” it maintains.
The UAE’s current Nation Brand is worth $249bn (Dh915bn), according to the report, up 29 per cent from $193bn (Dh709bn) in the previous year.
Another area where the UAE has improved remarkably during the past year is People & Skills. “In fact the UAE seems to be succeeding here already; having improved its score by 6 points, it has made greater gains this year than any other nation,” the report maintains.
The UAE in fact has performed very well on all the four parameters – it is among the Top 10 performers on Tourism (ranked No. 9 in the world), and is ranked the second best ‘mover’ on the Goods & Services parameter, jointly along with the likes of US, China and others.
Last year, the UAE moved a step closer to creating a unified national brand after a team of local, Hong Kong and US-based researchers received a two-year-grant in October.
The team includes marketing experts from Zayed University, University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), George Washington University in Washington DC, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Academy of Arts University, San Francisco, according to a report by state news agency WAM.
“A strong brand has become a defining feature of success in the current economic climate. Worldwide hyper competition for business, combined with an increasingly cluttered media environment, means that the clear message carried by a properly managed brand can provide the crucial leverage needed to thrive,” says David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance plc.
“The financial uplift provided to a product or corporation from a strong brand is well known, and companies invest heavily in protecting their brands.
"Nations can adopt similar techniques to capitalise on the economic growth that comes with proper positioning of a nation brand. All nations should be working to actively realise this potential,” he says.
According to the Brand Finance methodology, the strength of a nation brand across the four segments of the Nation Brand Impact framework is measured by the Brand Strength Index (BSI). A country’s BSI score is combined with GDP data to arrive at the nation brand value.
“Looking at the BSI in isolation can therefore in some ways be seen to be the truest reflection of governments’ guidance of their nations’ brands, as the inherent GDP advantage of larger countries is removed,” the report maintains.
While the UAE is ranked 19th in the world in terms of its brand strength, when GDP data is combined, it moves to No. 34 among Nation Brands purely because larger countries with bigger GDP data move up the rankings on the basis of their bigger population.
In the past, Singapore has held sway at the top of the BSI table but this year has just been edged out by Switzerland.
“Both countries have performed well, serving as benchmarks for other nation brands,” the report states. However Switzerland’s impressive growth, particularly in the ‘Tourism’ segment of the BSI where it has increased its score from 66 to 73, has allowed it to claim the top spot, it notes.
When the weight of their respective GDP is added to the nations’ brands, the USA tops the Nation Brands list, with a brand value of almost $18 trillion. Standalone, however, it is ranked No. 3 on BSI, trailing both Switzerland and Singapore.
Similarly, buoyed by GDP numbers, China is ranked No. 2 on the Nation Brands list with a brand value of $6.1 trillion. The country, however, doesn’t feature among the Top 20 when measured by the Brand Strength Index.