India is ranked the eighth most valuable nation brand while the United States retained its top position and China took the second spot in the league of nations according to Brand Finance’s Nation Brands 2017.
India went down one spot over the previous year, the report said, because the economy grew at its slowest pace. India switched places with Canada and its brand value dropped by one percentage point while that of Canada’s rose 14 per cent. China, the fastest growing nation brand in 2017, saw valuation grow 44 per cent.
The report says that China has gained because “in a virtuous circle, Chinese brands and the transformed national
image of China as an emerging global power are reinforcing each other.” India, on the other hand, has taken a hit on several fronts. “Reforms must be introduced to maximise job creation, provide fiscal support and to boost economic growth. However, the less than impressive track record of implementing change renders the nation’s outlook unstable. This poses a threat to its future nation brand value,” said David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance.
India improved its brand rating from ‘AA-’ to ‘AA’ though, but failed to make it into the top ten ‘best performing’ or ‘strongest’ brands. Brand analysts list democracy, diversity, young population and technological receptivity as the pillars of India’s brand value. Brand consultant Bharat Bambawale
said that India's strategy for GDP growth
should focus on services and investment.
The report also said that India is seen stronger in attributes related to culture and weaker in attributes related to business. “India needs rapid economic growth, accelerated employment, exponential increase in infrastructure and a do-or-die spirit of enterprise,” says Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media.
According to Haigh, India has surpassed China and the US as the top recipient of greenfield foreign direct investment and the key task is to maintain this position. He also said that the real long-term growth of both the Chinese and the Indian economy has cooled off since last year, but the Chinese economy is still perceived as less risky. Bambawale says that India has to not only match, but exceed China's growth rate consistently for a decade or two, if it wants to climb the Index and reliably hold a higher position.
China is the fastest growing nation brand in absolute terms
US dominance as the most valuable nation brand threatened by Trump’s presidency
Asian nation brands boom as the West stagnates
Southern European nations show double-digit growth
Game of Thrones brings record growth to Iceland, brand value up 83% year on year
Singapore defends strongest nation brand title as it continues to invest in its citizens
Not everyone believes that India needs to pit its brand against China though. N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA, a brand insights agency says, “China has a monolithic government where all decisions are implemented without opposition. India must grow, there is no doubt about it, but our pace must be measured as under a distinct set of conditions.” Brand valuations are not the best indicator of a nation’s value or progress he believes.
The report points out that the dynamic between American and Chinese nation brands is mirrored by the broader trends of Western stagnation and Asian advance. Established European nation brands, such as Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, record either a decline or a negligible growth of value. At the same time, Asian nation brands grew at breakneck speed.
One of the most interesting stories among nation brands in 2017 is that of Iceland. Its tourism industry is booming, post the success of Game of Thrones that was shot in the country, helping it become the fastest growing nation brand of 2017, up 83 per cent from last year.
India, on the other hand, saw a two per cent drop in tourism over the past year. Bambawale says, “The gap between advertising and on-ground experience is huge. High-ticket tourists pay prices equal to anywhere in the world, so why come here when they can do better elsewhere? Backpackers add little to revenue.”