Brand Australia’s falling down… According to the FutureBrand Country Index 2019 — a global research survey that is held every five years — Australia’s brand is not looking so good. Australia slipped seven places from 8th in 2014 to 15th this year. That’s a significant drop.
We can also see that the US is slipping in the ranks moving from 7th in 2014 to 12th this year. The UK didn’t do very well either slipping from 12th to 19th. Although Canada is still in the top 10, it did fall three places. It looks like the big English-speaking Western countries aren’t doing so well.
This year’s top 10 include Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Canada, Austria, and Luxembourg.
Just out of interest, here are the bottom 15 countries with Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Iraq rounding out the bottom five — Not many surprises there.
So why did Australia slip to 15th? How is this rank calculated?
In their report, FutureBrand state that they took the World Bank’s top 75 countries by GDP and reordered them based on how survey recipients rate the dimensions of a country’s Purpose and Experience. Dimensions of Purpose include Value System, Quality of Life, and Business Potential. Dimensions of Experience include Heritage & Culture, Tourism, and Made In (Products & Services).
These factors are important in determining the rank as they are vital for quantifying the power of a country’s brand. Brand is based entirely off perception. If a country is seen to have a low quality of life, or a bad value system, or a hard place to set up business, then this will hurt people’s perception of that country. That is, it will hurt the country’s brand.
The report outlines four levers that are important in determining a country’s brand.
Lever 1: Quality of Life — The new pursuit: Living richly, not just living a rich life. It’s more important than ever for a country to look after the safety, well-being, and happiness of its people. With an emphasis on all people, not just select socioeconomic tiers.
Lever 2: Environmental Friendliness — Operation rescue earth. There’s always a trade-off between economic growth, human well-being, and a sustainable future. Countries like Japan are taking the lead.
Lever 3: Made In — Products & Services: The badges of a country. A product or brand serves as a powerful symbol of social advancement for a country, and even influences a person’s decision to work, live, or play there.
Lever 4: Polarising Politics — The knock-on effect. Perceived tolerance and political freedom are important. If travellers feel threatened by an intolerant country, then they won’t visit and spend their tourism dollars in that country.
So let’s get onto Australia. What happened? This is what happened. Quality of Life perceptions degraded the most for both Australia and the UK. In Australia, disposable income has been steadily dropping in the past five years. Homelessness is on the rise due to a lack of affordable housing (with prices increasing by up to 70% over the past decade in New South Wales). As Australian politics tends towards populism, potential visitors, investors, and residents notice this intolerance and growing wealth divide, which directly impacts Australia’s Quality of Life index.
FutureBrand’s Asia-Pacific CEO, Richard Curtis, spoke of the outdated way of measuring the success of a country by GDP alone. He said that a positive national brand can boost tourism, business investment and even encourage people to choose one country’s products over another.
This is all important stuff. The Australian government is willingly allowing all of this to happen. Cost of living is up. Wages are stagnant. The current government seem to be doing everything in their power to stop house prices from falling. We need house prices to fall so that regular people have enough money to live a comfortable and happy life. We should protest any cuts to Medicare. We shouldn’t allow the government to hunt down Centrelink recipients using robodebt. We should treat each other nicely and look after the environment — not our rich mining mates and faction leaders. As I’ve said before, Australia is slipping. We can see it in the world around us. The wealth divide is growing. Democracy is eroding. And now it’s impacting our international image.
Waltz of the Flowers (by Tchaikovsky)
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