SL enters top global Country Brand Index

Monday, 18 February 2013 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka has made it to the influential Country Brand Index for the first time in the compilation’s eight year history, debuting at what was described as “respectable” 67th rank with great potential to move up the ladder fast.

The Index’ compiler FutureBrand’s South East Asia CEO Sarah Reiter described Sri Lanka’s rank as a “wonderful achievement for a debutant.”

Out of 118 countries surveyed by FutureBrand, Sri Lanka is at 67 overall and 13th among Asia Pacific nations.

The study involves an in-depth, rigorous and robust research and assesses 27 image attributes by 36,00 international and experienced business and leisure travelers, drawn from 18 countries in five continents.  FutureBrand said it is one of the largest studies of its kind globally. FutureBrand explores the complexity, dynamics and benefits of how nations manifest as brands. It uses a proprietary Hierarchical Decision Model (HDM) to determine how key audiences including residents, investors, tourists and foreign governments perceive a country’s brand. The seven measures of brand strength are awareness, familiarity, associations, preference, consideration, decision/visitation and advocacy. Additionally five key dimensions are considered value system, quality of life, good for business, heritage and culture, and tourism.

In 2012/13 Ranking, Switzerland, Canada and Japan figure as top three followed by Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, US, Finland, and Norway within the top 10. Singapore is ranked at 14 whilst the Maldives is at 16. In FutureBrand’s future forward country brands UAE tops the list whilst Malaysia is at number three and Reiter cited the South East Asian nation as a good benchmark for Sri Lanka.

Reiter said Sri Lanka came into the Index owing to higher awareness (68th rank) and familiarity (61st rank) whilst being above 50 on other five brand strengths as per its HDM.

Sri Lanka has got off to a flying start with attributes such as stable legal environment, history, authenticity, natural beauty and arts and culture that resonate with visitors just as much as ‘value for money’ or accommodation. Sri Lanka achieved its highest rankings in natural beauty, art and culture and in the latter as well as attractions and authenticity, Sri Lanka outranked the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Sri Lanka also outranked these countries in safety and as most likable to live in and standard of living.

“FutureBrand findings will provide key insights for strategic thinking and planning based on the indicators that underpin tourism and visitor perceptions and participation. “These are real indicators identifying specific areas up and down the ranking that can give confidence to or the need to address issues and either way provide input for future planning activities for the tourism sector as a whole or across individual institutes or travel agencies,” Reiter said.

“FutureBrand has in-depth knowledge of country branding throughout Asia Pacific and predicts that Sri Lanka has an even brighter future and we welcome the opportunity to be part of the journey,” the South East Asia CEO of the global brand consultancy company added.

The full report on Sri Lanka estimated to cost US$ 100,000 was donated by FutureBrand to the Centre for Research and Sustainable Studies in Tourism (CRST), whose founder is Dileep Mudadeniya, as part of the global firm’s commitment to Sri Lanka’s nation branding.

“Nation branding is a hot topic among marketers. Research and data on nation branding is a recent development. Having researched information is the foundation of developing a sustainable nation branding strategy. This data will be highly useful for CRST and our nation as a whole, Mudadeniya said.