Brand ‘Sri Lanka’ valued $ 23 b; ranks 76th globally

Tuesday, 3 January 2012 01:06 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Post-war rebounding Sri Lanka has entered for the first time the Most Valuable Nation Brands ranking compiled by UK-based Brand Finance debuting at number 76 with a value of $ 23 billion.

A world renowned specialist in the subject Brand Finance’s 2011 ranking reveals brand ‘Sri Lanka’ is worth $ 23 billion (Rs. 2.6 trillion) and ranked at 76 out of 100. Brand rating wise Sri Lanka’s A- is second best in South Asia, behind giant India.

When compared with Sri Lanka’s economy/GDP, which is worth $ 50 billion (as per 2010 data), the brand value represents almost half of it.

In comparison to Sri Lanka, the ninth ranked India has a brand value of $ 1,266, which is 55 times that of Sri Lanka. Giant South Asian neighbour’s rating is A+. Though in value terms Sri Lanka ranks fourth in the region it has better brand rating than Pakistan ($ 54 b and B) and Bangladesh ($ 47 b and B).

As per the 2011 ranking of Brand Finance, which also has a Sri Lankan office, India in 2011 was the second most value gainer up 31.6% with emerging super power China topping the list up 40.4% to $ 3 trillion. China is now third most valuable nation brand in the world up from fourth position in 2010.

USA topped the Brand Finance’s most valuable nation brands list in 2011 with a value of $ 11.37 trillion followed by Germany.  Singapore was the fourth biggest gainer value wise 23% whilst it value was $ 123 billion, almost 10 times smaller than India. However the city state has a better brand rating at AA. “Sri Lanka has strong economic performance, but is weaker on measures of Brand Equity. This indicates that Sri Lanka’s political and social reputation poses a drag on its Nation Brand,” Brand Finance Sri Lanka Managing Director Ruchi Gunewardene told the Daily FT yesterday.

According to him Sri Lanka’s tragic civil war had a strong impact on the country’s Nation Brand. “By comparing Sri Lanka with other countries that are recovering from military conflict, Brand Finance analysed Brand Sri Lanka’s performance in reforming and redeveloping its reputation with business people and investors,” Gunewardene added.

According to Brand Finance, low ranks for Brand Equity seem to be a feature of post-conflict societies. Strong scores on the other ratings seem to do nothing to pull up persistently low Brand Equity ratings.

“Sri Lanka and Georgia have performed better than other post-conflict societies, but still much worse than comparable economies. Sri Lanka did fare better than Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Nepal,” according to Brand Finance.

“This shows that post-conflict societies need brand strategies, not only economic strategies in order to recover and create the levels of tourism, investment, and export growth that their economies need,” Gunawardene pointed out.

Compared to other countries with similarly rapid GDP growth rates, Sri Lanka has very low brand strength. Countries compared against included Estonia, Kazakhstan, Peru, Nigeria, Mozambique and India. Sri Lanka has been unable to develop a strong brand with a national image in order to appeal to foreign businessmen, investors and tourists.  

“While Sri Lanka is currently doing well economically, a strong Nation Brand is key to building a sustainable and established economy that is able to attract FDI in a competitive market and to command export price premiums. Sri Lanka’s national brand is currently hindering, not aiding, its success,” Brand Finance emphasised.

According to Brand Finance, going forward Sri Lanka must develop an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses of the country and how it impacts the national brand is vital in order to create strategies to build its brand abroad. Doing so requires analysis and quantifying the commercial impact of Brand Sri Lanka on FDI, tourism and exports.

Identifying key markets and demographics where Brand Sri Lanka has strong growth potential would also be crucial. There will also need to be benchmarks to measure the return on investment of Government campaigns. This allows the relevant Ministries and other Government agencies to target, measure, and improve the performance of their branding activities leading to incremental improvements nudging it to a better brand positioning.

Brand Finance is an independent global business focused on advising companies and governments on how to maximise value through effective management of their brands and intangible assets. Brand Finance has performed thousands of branded business, brand and intangible asset valuations worth trillions of dollars throughout the world.

See tomorrow’s FT for a full article on the overall most valuable nation brands ranking of 2011.