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Finland’s country brand has remained both stable and good according to the world’s most comprehensive country brand survey

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Publication date 8.12.2016 7.00
Press release

Press release 231/2016
8 December 2016

The Anholt GfK Roper Nation Brands Index comparative survey, based on Simon Anholt’s research on nation branding, has been conducted since 2005. According to the results of the survey for 2016, Finland’s country brand is still the 17th strongest in a comparison of 50 nations. Finland is most valued for good governance. The survey indicates that Finland’s country brand has room for growth especially in the dimensions of culture and tourism.

The Nation Brands Index is considered to be both the most comprehensive country brand survey and country brand comparison. The survey was carried out in 20 countries in July 2016. More than 1,000 interviews were conducted in each country.

The ranking does not take into account the GDP; in other words, Finland competes directly with large countries such as the United States and Germany, which once again placed first and second in the comparison. Of the Nordic countries included in the comparison, Sweden ranked 10th and Denmark ranked 13th. Finland has steadily ranked in 17th place with the exception of 2008 and 2014, when the country placed 18th. Finland’s strongest overall ranking comes from citizens of Sweden, where Finland placed 9th out of 50.

Country brand is compared on six dimensions – Governance, Exports, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment – each of which has several subcategories.

  • Governance:
    Finland did best in this dimension, ranking 8th overall. Of the 20 countries where Finland was assessed for this dimension, the country was rated within the top-15 out of 50 in all panel countries except Egypt (19/50) and South Africa (16/50).
  • Exports:
    Finland’s ranking was good particularly in Sweden, Canada, Italy, Japan, Poland, Germany, Russia and France. Finland’s overall placement was 15th out of 50.
  • Culture (including cultural heritage and sport categories):
    Raising Finland’s placement in this dimension has proved to be truly difficult. Finland’s ranking was in the middle-to-low side of the rankings in all countries except in Canada and Sweden. The country placed 27th out of 50 overall.
  • People:
    The ranking of Finland/Finns was especially good in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, the UK, the United States and Turkey. In Japan, Finland’s rank was 17th out of 50. Finns are very widely perceived as honest, hard-working and skilled. Finland placed 17th out of 50 overall.
  • Tourism:
    Compared to most other dimensions, Finland’s ranking is still relatively low among the panel countries, with the exception of Japan (15/50). In Germany, Finland placed 18th out of 50. In the longer term, however, Finland has been able to raise its ranking clearly in this dimension – five places over three years. The overall placement in the 2016 survey was 22nd out of 50.
  • Work-related immigration and investment:
    Finland ranked well in Sweden, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Korea and Turkey. The country’s combined placement was 15th out of 50.

In general the scores were lower for almost all of the Western countries while Finland’s overall score actually increased slightly (0.18 points). The increase, however, did not change Finland’s ranking. The results indicate, among other things, that

  • Finland’s country image has improved considerably and above all in Argentina and Brazil in all of the dimensions.
  • Finland’s country image has deteriorated in Egypt and also in Russia
    (although Finland’s country brand in Russia is still good, 12/50).
  • Finland’s ranking in the Governance dimension has improved from the previous year; the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand were overtaken.
  • Finland’s ranking in the Immigration and Investment dimension has increased from the previous year; Scotland was overtaken.
  • Finland’s ranking in the People dimension has improved; Austria was overtaken.
  • Exports and Culture have remained the same when compared against last year.
  • Finland’s ranking in the Tourism dimension has improved over a longer perspective, although no change was observed at the annual level.

Finland’s country image has therefore remained stable and relatively good in the global aspect. Country brands are characterised by the fact that they change very slowly. Finland is perceived as a well-functioning and skilful country, but perhaps as a bit cold and clinical.

Finland Promotion Board (FPB), which coordinates Finland’s country brand work and defines its guidelines, will compile the first Country Brand Review, dealing with the years 2015–2016, in early 2017. The intention is to produce such a review every other year. The review will go through the country brand work Finland has done, explore what Finland’s country image looks like and determine Finland Promotion Board’s recommendations concerning Finland’s country brand work. The Unit for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs serves as the FPB Secretariat while the Prime Minister’s Office chairs the body.

Inquiries about the results of the 2016 Nation Brands Index survey:

  • GfK Public Communications and Social Science, 200 Liberty Street, New York
  • Mr. Vadim Volos, Senior Vice President, Public Communications and Social Science, [email protected], 1-212-240-5408
  • Ms. Maria Yarolin, Research Director, Public Communications and Social Science, [email protected], 1-212-240-5645

Inquiries: Director Petra Theman, Unit for Public Diplomacy, tel: +358 295 351 558.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are of the format [email protected]