Academy of Marketing Studies Journal (Print ISSN: 1095-6298; Online ISSN: 1528-2678)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 25 Issue: 4

Ranking Country Reputation A D8 Perspective

Hamed M. Shamma, The American University in Cairo

Amany Bisht, The American University in Cairo

Abstract

Reputation management is no longer restricted to corporates; nations are now also concerned with managing their reputation relative to each other for its impact on attracting tourism and foreign investments, increasing exports, improving public diplomacy, attracting knowledge and talent. This paper studies the reputation of countries from the perspectives of people from some Developing-8 (D8) nations. Using a survey approach, this study generated a total sample of 817 respondents across Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia. The RepTrak model of measuring country reputation was adopted in the survey for its similarity with the purpose of this paper and for the comparison and questioning purposes. Results showed that peoples’ perception about a country’s reputation vary from one nationality to another; a country could be ranked the top from the perspective of some people and at the same time rank lower from the perspective of another group of people. Comparing the results of this research to that of the RepTrak model, it was found that people from G8 countries and those from D8 countries have different perceptions towards different countries and have different behavioral intentions towards each country. Some countries are highly reputable in terms of their appealing environment and/or effective government and/or advanced economy from the perception of some people, while others perceive the same countries as less reputable, and accordingly the behavioral intentions for the two groups of people towards the country vary. 

Keywords

Country Reputation, Country Ranking, D8 Nations, Reputation Institute, Emotional Perceptions, Behavioral Intentions.

Introduction

Reputation is a measure that reflects how people view and perceive someone/something based on the evaluation of certain criteria and apparently shapes the way people deal and interact with them/it. Accordingly, managing someone/something’s reputation has a large impact on further interaction. Academics and practitioners have become more and more concerned with the reputation concept, whether for corporates, cities or countries, and reputation management has become an emerging and crucial need.

Reputation is an overall measure and assessment of how an entity (corporate/nation) is perceived; it is a long term accumulated and durable perspective. Reputation shapes the ability of an entity to attract different stakeholders to interact with it; buy from, visit, invest in…etc. It is an intangible asset that is crucial for building corporate/nation awareness among people.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently” - Warren Buffett.

According to Warren Buffet’s quote, reputation management is a critical and crucial ongoing process that needs close attention.

Having a good reputation for a long time is not a guarantee to being so for good; any minor deficiency could be a start to a reputation decline that could turn to a disaster if not managed quickly and wisely.

Efforts should focus on managing how a corporate/nation is perceived among different stakeholders in order to positively build its reputation, avoid risks and enhance its competitive position. An entity’s negative reputation harms it and negatively impacts the interaction and behavior of its stakeholders towards it; similarly, an entity with positive reputation positively impacts it and builds a favorable interaction with its stakeholders.

Corporate Reputation

Reputation first evolved among corporations, where corporations were concerned about their perceived image among its stakeholders. It is part of the organizations’ intangible asset or goodwill that provides a sustained competitive advantage (Teodoresco, S and Warin, N. M., 2012). A company’s market value is directly attributable to its reputation (World Economic Forum). There have been several definitions in reputation literature for corporate reputation, categorized according to different disciplines (Fombrun and van Riel, 1997); the accounting discipline views reputation as a valuable intangible asset that requires financial worth, the economic discipline is more concerned about the organization’s external stakeholders’ perception towards it, the marketing discipline concentrates on the customer and end-user’s perception towards the corporate, the organizational behavior is more concerned about the organization’s internal stakeholders’ perception towards it, a sociology view assesse a firm’s reputation based on its performance relative to expectations and industrial norms, and finally, the strategic discipline views reputation as a ‘difficult to manage’ asset and mobility barrier.

According to the findings of “Deloitte multinational professional services” survey performed among companies’ different board level members, reputation risk is created when performance does not match stakeholders’ expectations, and is considered one of the key business challenges that if not managed properly can turn to a strategic crisis. The report also stated that reputation risk is a risk that is not under direct control of companies, which in turn has a higher impact on revenues and brand value.

The perception of each stakeholder about a company’s reputation depends on his own experience with the company and the effect of social media. Besides, the perception of the same stakeholder may change along time if he experiences a different situation with the service or product he is getting from the company, which makes the corporate reputation continuously changing (Teodoresco, S and Warin, N. M., 2012). Therefore, reputation management is essential in today’s dynamic market to improve the impact of negative perceptions among stakeholders. To manage corporate reputation, it is essential to breakdown the reputation to different dimensions to gain a deeper insight of which dimension needs to be managed to enhance overall reputation. Reputation Institute (RI); a research and advisory firm for reputation, specified the dimensions for corporate reputation as: Products/services, Innovation, Workplace, Governance, Citizenship, Leadership, and Performance. RI then links the perception towards these dimensions to further supportive behavioral aspects towards the company in terms of purchasing, recommending crisis proof, verbal support, invest, and work in the company.

Country Reputation

Nowadays, reputation management is no longer restricted to corporates, but also reached nations level, (Passow, Fehlmann, and Grahlow, 2005). Nations are now more concerned with their reputation relative to each other, which - in turn – has an impact on attracting tourists, foreign investments, knowledge & talents, improves public diplomacy and increases exports, (Reputation Institute, 2017).

Previously, country reputation was formed by country’s government, tourists, media, investors and companies. Nowadays, countries stakeholders’ range have become wider, including opinion makers, suppliers, general public, NGOs and NPOs, (Reputation Institute, 2017). A country with strong reputation attracts more tourists, foreign investments, increases exports, improves public diplomacy, attracts knowledge and talent, and also leads to support from various stakeholders (RepTrak 2017). Thus, it is important to examine the factors affecting the perceptions about countries and accordingly manage them to enhance its reputation and build its competitive advantage. Managing a country’s reputation is also known as ‘Nation Branding’; a concept that has been gaining much popularity recently for its impact on countries. Nation branding is seen as a strategic tool to enhance a nation’s global competitive advantage (Kaneva, 2011). Building a good country’s brand requires it to enhance its environment, government and economy in order to be positively perceived by people and in turn attracts people to it.

Referring to Warren Buffet’s quote, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”, we witness how realistic this quote is when, for example, a country is subject to terrorist attacks and how this negatively impacts its reputation and how – in this case - it could be perceived as an ‘unsafe’ place which can be measured in terms of the drop in tourism followed by such attacks. Similarly, any mistake/problem – however small it is – is considered a risk and challenge that a country must deal with to minimize its impact on its reputation and image.

Yet, it has been noticed that the impact of any crisis on a highly reputable country takes less time and effort to recover from than the impact of the same crisis on a less reputable country; for instance, attacks in Paris or the USA did not have a long negative impact as it had when occurred in Turkey or Iran. This could be concluded when comparing the drop in reputation points and the corresponding behavioral intentions towards these countries in the RepTrak annual reports.

The rising need of managing reputation and building a country brand has lead RI to create a new business unit called ‘Place Reputation Unit’ to track perceptions about different nations and analyze the economic implications that result from these perceptions to help come up with strategic and tactical action plans to manage reputation (City RepTrak Topline Report, 2014).

Reputation and Brand Management

The term “brand” refers to a combination of product/service specifications that differentiates it from competing products/services. A good brand creates value and builds loyalty in consumers’ minds and represents the feelings and emotions associated with the experience they had with the product/service. A brand is the value created after you consume a product/service. In other words, brand is the perceived utility and desirability of a product/service, and they have social and emotional value to users (Kotler and Gentner, 2002).

The goodwill that companies gain is known as “brand equity”, a concept that has been emerging during the past decades and has been gaining attention and requiring continuous efforts from companies to build their brand equity to sustain a competitive position among each other. Building strong and sustainable brand equity requires extensive and continuous efforts to closely monitor and manage the consumers’ reactions and perceptions towards the product/service to improve any appearing deficiencies or negative perceptions.

There is a mutual relation between the reputation of countries and companies; country reputation contributes to the reputation of companies originating in it and promotes its products, and the reputation of companies and brands from a country has an influence on the reputation of that country in general (Corporate Excellence – Centre for Reputation Leadership, 2012). Apparently, managing both company and country reputations is crucial. Countries need to manage their reputation not only to improve its image as perceived by its own stakeholders, but also to compete with other countries and sustain its competitive position (Passow et al. 2005). some research has shown that consumers are willing to buy products from countries as a result of these countries reputation and brand equity (Kotler and Gentner, 2002).

Thus, reputation management is by no means restricted to companies and other organizational entities (Passow, et al. 2005). Nations today are increasingly concerned with their reputation relative to other nations and turn to actively measuring and managing that reputation. A prerequisite for country reputation management is measuring the country’s reputation (Passow, et al. 2005). It is important to breakdown reputation into different factors and components that build the reputation, then measure the impact of each factor on the overall reputation and know which factor is causing a negative impact on the perceived reputation to better manage it and improve this perception.

Reputation management for countries is referred to as ‘Country/Nation Branding’; defined as “The application of corporate marketing concepts and techniques to countries, in the interest of enhancing their reputation in international relations” (Kerr, Pauline, Wiseman, and Geoffrey, 2013). Country Branding is using a country’s image, attractiveness, and products to promote the country’s image and identity (Mihalache and Vukman, 2005) to attract tourists and foreign investors (De Vicente, 2004). Nation Branding is a strategic positioning tool that enhances a nation’s political, economic, and social conditions (Domeisen, 2003). Realizing the impact of a country’s reputation on its performance and competitive position among other countries caused nation branding to gain more and more popularity among academics and practitioners (Anholt, 2005).

The term “country of origin COO” has been observed over the past decades; it has been found that a product’s country of origin - together with its price, brand and other specifications, has an impact on evaluating that product and affects consumer’s tendency to buy the product. Consumers are influenced by the country of origin of a product and perceive it as an indicator for quality (Kotler and Gentner, 2002).

Tourism is one of the important sources that affect the GDP of countries; it creates direct and indirect job opportunities in different sectors as hotels, restaurants, transportation…etc. The link between a country’s reputation and the extent tourists are attracted to it has been a study of interest among researchers.

Preferring to buy a certain product from a specific country of origin or choosing/avoiding a specific country to visit/invest in is all a response to the nation brand, which is why governments are now more concerned about their nation’s brand relative to other nations (Simon Anholt). Nation Branding is a tool for competitive advantage (Kubacki and Skinner, 2006). Resources are being dedicated to enhance a nation’s brand for its impact on attracting investments & trading, tourists, workforce, and influence in the world that in turn affects the political relations with other nations. It is becoming more and more crucial for countries to know and assess how they are perceived by people around the world to be able to effectively manage its brand image.

In addition to the negative influences on reputation caused by political, economic, and natural factors, there are also media impact and common spread stereotypes that are much more difficult to control and manage. All the mentioned impacts of reputation creates a crucial need to measure country reputation and study the factors influencing it to better manage and control it.

Measuring Country Reputation

There have been few methodologies for measuring country reputation; as: ‘Fombrun-RI Country Reputation Index’, ‘Country Reputation Cockpit’, ‘Nation Brand Index’, ‘Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking’, yet, ‘Country RepTrak’ remains the most common measurement model for measuring country reputation. It bases perceptions about a country on: direct experiences with the country, country’s actions and communications, third party influences, and stereotypes about the country.

RepTrak model measures the reputation countries with selection criteria: largest domestic products, largest populations, relevant events, and visible among general public (2017 Country RepTrak report). These countries’ reputation was measured based on the emotional perceptions of people from the Group of Eight (G8) highly industrialized countries; The United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, and Russia (suspended in 2014). The G8 is a governmental political forum originated in 1975 with a purpose of discussing global issues as economic growth, global security, energy, crisis management and tourism.

In the RepTrak model, a country’s reputation is measured towards macro factors; economy, environment and government. These perceptions impact the overall country reputation, which in turn impacts the supportive behaviors and declared intentions in terms of willingness to visit, live, work, invest, buy from and study in that country, and accordingly impacts the overall rank of a country relative to another. The RI research provided evidence of correlation between emotional perceptions towards a country and the behavioral attitudes towards it (Reputation Institute, 2017).

Methodologies for Measuring Country Reputation

Researchers have developed different models and indexes to measure country reputation and country brand. For instance, Passow, Fehlmann, and Grahlow used the ‘Harris-Fombrun Reputation Quotient’ - that was designed to measure corporate reputation - as a reference, jointly with the RI to develop the country reputation measure; ‘Fombrun-RI Country Reputation Index’, (CRI), which was used for the first time in their “Liechtenstein Study” that aimed to measure Liechtenstein’s reputation to manage it after the negative media coverage it faced. CRI measures six dimensions to assess country reputation - emotional appeal, products & Services, financial appeal, leadership appeal, cultural appeal, and social appeal. Fombrun then developed a Country Reputation Cockpit, which is a three-stage model for managing country reputations, through: Identity analysis, Image analysis, and Coherence analysis.

Some studies were conducted to measure the effect of certain events of criteria on country reputation; as in the “Americans’ attitudes toward South Africa: A study of country reputation and the 2010 FIFA World Cup”, by Jami Fullerton and Derina Holtzhausen. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of an international sports event on country reputation. (Place Branding and Public Diplomacy) This measurement assessed four dimensions - leadership, affection, culture and other measures, followed by a 10 item scale to measure national ethnocentrism and national pride.
Other studies aimed to measure a specific country’s reputation as viewed by a specific group of people, such as “Country Reputation in Multi-dimensions: Predictors, Effects, and Communication Channels, (Ochang Shin, Jong-Hyuk Lee, Brinda Wrigley, 2008), this study used the CRI to measure South Korea’s reputation as viewed by the American public.

Another view for country reputation is measuring how “good” a country is, this view was introduced in 2014 by Simon Anholt who developed a “Country Reputation Index” aimed to measure a country’s level of contribution to the planet and human race through their adopted policies and behaviors relative to its size. This index ranks each country by giving it points in seven categories; Culture, International Peace and Security, Science and Technology, World Order, Health and Well-Being, Prosperity and Equality, Planet and Climate. Each category includes five aspects and the index results in giving the country an overall ranking and a ranking for each of the seven categories showing the level of contribution of each country to the world. This index was built by Dr. Robert Covers. The validity of the results of this index is questioned, yet is seen to be “a worthwhile pursuit for countries when they aim to serve others” (The Economist: The goodness of nations, 2014).

Anholt’s development of the “Good Country” concept is derived out of his belief that nations should be collaborating with each other and act as a single planet to solve problems as climate change, terrorism, economic chaos…etc. instead of using their resources to compete against each other. No country can fix a major problem spreading globally on its own. He sees that “countries are part of one system, if it fails, we all fail

Also, Anholt, together with GfK (largest market research institute in Germany, and the fourth largest market research organization in the world) built the “Nation Brand Index” (NBI) which is a comprehensive nation branding survey to help governments measure and manage their national image and reputation. The index combines six dimensions of national competence; Governance, Exports, Tourism, Investment & Immigration, Culture & Heritage, and people, represented on a hexagon shape, where it measures the sum of people’s perceptions in these six areas and thus reflect the brand and appeal of a nation’s brand image. Countries differ in their brand strengths and weaknesses in each dimension and therefore for each of the hexagon six dimensions there could be a different winner. This index was used in a survey to measure the power and appeal of America’s brand image.

Another developed approach is the “Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking” report that is being published every year starting 2011 by “Bloom Consulting”, a firm specialized in nation branding and business strategy. This report shows the rankings of countries according to their economic performance using algorithms on the country’s economic history rather than pure opinions. It is a measure for a country’s effectiveness in attracting tourism, investment, and talent. In this technique, a country’s brand is measured using four variables; Digital Demand – D2, Economic performance, online performance (for five dimensions; Exports, Investment, Tourism, Talent, National Prominence), and country brand strategy - CBS rating (Bloom consulting country brand ranking 2014-2015 tourism edition report).

The RI developed a country reputation measure that assesses reputation based on levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect (RepTrak 2017). The study measures 16 attributes/statements grouped under three main dimensions; Advanced Economy, Appealing Environment, and Effective Government. RepTrak produces an annual report ranking many countries (55 countries in 2014 & 2015, 70 countries in 2016, and 55 countries in 2017) based on the perceptions of a sample representing the G8 countries, which are countries of largest economies by GDP.

The RepTrak view is rather a limited view about countries’ reputation as it measures reputation from the perspective of people from the Group of Eight (G8) countries only, whom represent about 15% of the world’s total population, and neglects the perception of people from the Developing-8 (D8) countries, which comprise about 13% of the world’s population (World Bank, 2013). D8 is an organization developed in 1997 for developing cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. The objectives of this organization are to improve its members’ position in the global economy, diversify and create trade relations opportunities, and improve standards of living (Wikipedia).

Accordingly, the objective of this research is to examine the reputation of countries based on the perceptions of people from some D8 countries and compare it to the results of the RepTrak ranks to examine the extent of bias of the G8 countries towards other countries.

This research measures the reputation of twenty countries from the perspective of a sample of people from three D8 countries; Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan. The twenty measured countries have been selected to represent all continents and include popular and important nations with big population.

The research used the RepTrak methodology for its similarity with the scope of this paper. A sample size of 817 respondents was questioned using an online questionnaire that was launched by market research services providers.

Methodology

In this research, a quantitative online survey was used, adapted from the country RepTrak model to measure the perception of people from three D8 countries; Indonesia, Pakistan and Egypt, towards twenty countries, including: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, turkey, United Kingdom, and United States of America. The RepTrak model was used for its similarity with the purpose and scope of this paper.

The model assesses people’s perception about each country for three main dimensions: The Advanced Economy, Appealing Environment, and Effective Government, with a total of sixteen statements in the three main dimensions, as shown in Table 1. Responses for each statement vary from strongly agree down to strongly disagree.

Table 1 Reptrak Model
Dimension 1: Advanced Economy (6 statements)
Country X produces high quality products and services
Country X has many well-known brands
Country X is an important contributor to global culture
Country X is technologically advanced
Country X has a well-educated workforce
Country X values education
Dimension 2: Appealing environment (4 statements)
Country X is a beautiful country
Country X is an enjoyable country
Country X offers an appealing lifestyle
The people in Country X are friendly and welcoming
Dimension 3: Effective government (6 statements)
Country X offers a favorable environment for doing business
Country X is run by an effective government
Country X has adopted progressive social and economic policies
Country X is a responsible participant in the global community
Country X is a safe place
Country X operates efficiently

Identical questionnaires were administered for each of the twenty countries regarding their Advanced Economy, Appealing Environment, and Effective Government as mentioned above. Five groups of questionnaires were formed with three to four different countries in each, and a separate questionnaire was formed for Netherlands. The five questionnaires were then randomly distributed online - through an online market research service provider - among a total sample size of 817 respondents from Indonesia, Pakistan and Egypt, where the respondent is first asked about his/her extent of familiarity with a country, and only respondents that are “extremely familiar”, “moderately familiar” or “average” are then taken further through the sixteen mentioned statements of this country that measures their perception of its advanced economy, appealing environment, and effective government, and then assess the behavioral measures in terms of willingness to visit, live, work, invest, buy from and study in each country. The respondents whose extent of familiarity with the country was “below average” or “unfamiliar” are taken to the next country’s extent of familiarity question, and so on.

In the data analysis phase, scores for each dimension were calculated as follows:

1. Points were assigned to each degree of agreement with the statement as follows:

2. Strongly agree: 5 points

3. Agree: 4 points

4. Neutral: 3 points

5. Disagree: 2 points

6. Strongly disagree: 1 point

1. Average score for each statement was then calculated as follows:

image

2. The total score for each dimension was calculated as an average of all its statements’ scores.

3. The total score for each country was calculated as an average of the scores of each of the three measured dimensions.

4. Countries were then ranked according to the total score and also according to the score of each of the three dimensions separately.

5. The score for each of the six behavioral intentions (Visit, Live, Work, Invest, Buy from, study) was calculated the same way as in steps 1 & 2.

6. The coefficient of correlation between each dimension and each behavioral intention was calculated to find the effect of each dimension on the behavioral intentions towards the country.

Results

Reputation Dimensions

The ranking of countries based on the ‘Advanced Economy’ dimension is shown in Table 2 (sorted from the highest to the lowest):

Table 2 Ranking According to Advanced Economy
Rank Country Advanced Economy
1 USA 90.3%
2 Japan 89.7%
3 UK 87.1%
4 France 83.9%
5 Italy 83.2%
6 Australia 83.2%
7 Canada 81.9%
8 Switzerland 81.2%
9 Indonesia 78.0%
10 Spain 77.4%
11 Saudi Arabia 76.4%
12 Turkey 76.3%
13 Malaysia 76.1%
14 Austria 76.0%
15 Netherlands 75.1%
16 Pakistan 72.1%
17 Iran 71.7%
18 Nigeria 64.3%
19 Bangladesh 64.1%
20 Egypt 62.4%

The ranking of countries based on the ‘Appealing Environment’ dimension is shown in Table 3 (sorted from the highest to the lowest):

Table 3 Ranking According to Appealing Environment
Rank Country Appealing Environment
1 Switzerland 88.1%
2 Japan 87.3%
3 France 86.9%
4 Italy 86.7%
5 Canada 86.7%
6 Spain 86.0%
7 Indonesia 85.9%
8 UK 85.3%
9 Australia 84.6%
10 USA 82.5%
11 Malaysia 81.8%
12 Netherlands 81.8%
13 Turkey 81.6%
14 Austria 80.5%
15 Pakistan 78.0%
16 SA 77.0%
17 Egypt 74.4%
18 Iran 73.0%
19 Bangladesh 70.6%
20 Nigeria 69.5%

The ranking of countries based on the ‘Effective Government’ dimension is shown in Table 4 (sorted from the highest to the lowest).

Table 4 Ranking According to Effective Government
Rank Country Effective Government
1 Japan 85.3%
2 UK 84.6%
3 Canada 84.3%
4 USA 84.1%
5 Australia 83.2%
6 Switzerland 82.8%
7 Italy 81.5%
8 France 79.9%
9 Malaysia 79.7%
10 Saudi Arabia 79.5%
11 Turkey 79.0%
12 Indonesia 78.9%
13 Spain 77.3%
14 Austria 76.9%
15 Netherlands 72.5%
16 Iran 71.3%
17 Pakistan 70.0%
18 Nigeria 67.5%
19 Bangladesh 65.5%
20 Egypt 60.1%

The ranking of countries based on their overall total reputation is shown in Table 5 (sorted from the highest to the lowest):

Table 5 Ranking According to Overall Reputation
Rank Country Overall Reputation
1 Japan 87.4%
2 UK 85.7%
3 USA 85.6%
4 Canada 84.3%
5 Switzerland 84.0%
6 Italy 83.8%
7 Australia 83.7%
8 France 83.5%
9 Indonesia 80.9%
10 Spain 80.2%
11 Malaysia 79.2%
12 Turkey 78.9%
13 Austria 77.8%
14 Saudi Arabia 77.6%
15 Netherlands 76.5%
16 Pakistan 73.4%
17 Iran 72.0%
18 Nigeria 67.1%
19 Bangladesh 66.8%
20 Egypt 65.6%

From the results shown in tables 2 to 5, it is clear that:

1. The most reputable countries (as a total score) is not necessarily the best in each of the three dimensions

2. The weight of each of the three measured dimensions from the overall reputation varies from one country to another, yet, the ‘Appealing Environment’ dimension has the highest weight impact on the overall reputation for most countries, followed by ‘Effective Government’, and finally the ‘Advanced Economy’, as shown in Table 6.

Table 6 Weight of Each Dimension from the total Reputation
Country Environment Economy Government
Austria 34.5% 32.6% 33.0%
Australia 33.7% 33.1% 33.2%
Bangladesh 35.3% 32.0% 32.7%
Canada 34.3% 32.4% 33.3%
Egypt 37.8% 31.7% 30.5%
France 34.7% 33.5% 31.9%
Indonesia 35.4% 32.1% 32.5%
Iran 33.8% 33.2% 33.0%
Italy 34.5% 33.1% 32.4%
Japan 33.3% 34.2% 32.5%
Malaysia 34.4% 32.0% 33.5%
Netherlands 35.7% 32.7% 31.6%
Nigeria 34.5% 32.0% 33.5%
Pakistan 35.4% 32.8% 31.8%
Saudi Arabia 33.1% 32.8% 34.1%
Spain 35.7% 32.2% 32.1%
Switzerland 35.0% 32.2% 32.8%
Turkey 34.4% 32.2% 33.3%
UK 33.2% 33.9% 32.9%
USA 32.1% 35.2% 32.7%

Scores for each statement of the three dimensions show that being beautiful, safe, contributing to the global culture and valuing education are the top drivers of reputation for most countries.

Behavioral Intentions

The percentages of people who are willing to visit, live, work, invest, buy from and study in each of the measured countries are shown in Table 7 below.

Table 7 Percentages of Behavioral Intentions
Country Visit Live Work Invest Buy from Study
Austria 82.4% 70.5% 73.7% 70.0% 73.4% 77.1%
Australia 88.7% 76.8% 81.3% 78.2% 80.7% 84.5%
Bangladesh 68.6% 55.7% 58.9% 60.0% 65.4% 58.6%
Canada 86.5% 77.7% 79.6% 74.6% 78.3% 81.7%
Egypt 68.4% 52.8% 56.0% 55.9% 62.1% 55.3%
France 84.3% 73.5% 76.6% 75.3% 79.1% 79.3%
Indonesia 85.2% 78.8% 79.0% 80.0% 81.5% 76.5%
Iran 76.6% 55.9% 61.8% 61.4% 70.9% 64.6%
Italy 88.0% 73.7% 76.7% 76.7% 81.9% 79.5%
Japan 86.2% 76.2% 79.8% 77.4% 85.7% 79.4%
Netherlands 82.4% 67.1% 72.4% 61% 80.5% 76.7%
Malaysia 84.5% 66.8% 70.6% 72.4% 77.3% 74.0%
Nigeria 70.4% 55.8% 61.2% 61.8% 68.7% 63.3%
Pakistan 76.5% 66.0% 66.9% 70.0% 74.8% 68.7%
Saudi Arabia 83.9% 68.2% 72.5% 72.5% 76.3% 68.0%
Spain 86.4% 71.7% 71.7% 69.0% 74.3% 71.9%
Switzerland 89.3% 76.5% 78.6% 73.7% 80.7% 77.0%
Turkey 85.9% 69.6% 72.4% 70.2% 76.9% 73.7%
UK 87.2% 78.4% 81.6% 75.3% 83.3% 82.5%
USA 83.5% 74.2% 79.0% 74.6% 81.9% 82.9%

From Table 8, the ranking of countries based on the behavioral intentions of people to visit, live, work, invest, buy from, and study in each country is shown in Table 8 (sorted from the highest to the lowest):

Table 8 Ranking of Behavioral Intentions Towards Countries
Rank Visit Live Work Invest Buy from Study
1 Switzerland Indonesia UK Indonesia Japan Australia
2 Australia UK Australia Australia UK USA
3 Italy Canada Japan Japan USA UK
4 UK Australia Canada Italy Italy Canada
5 Canada Switzerland USA France Indonesia Italy
6 Spain Japan Indonesia UK Switzerland Japan
7 Japan USA Switzerland Canada Australia France
8 Turkey Italy Italy USA Netherlands Austria
9 Indonesia France France Switzerland France Switzerland
10 Malaysia Spain Austria Saudi Arabia Canada Netherlands
11 France Austria Saudi Arabia Malaysia Malaysia Indonesia
12 Saudi Arabia Turkey Netherlands Turkey Turkey Malaysia
13 USA Saudi Arabia Turkey Austria SA Turkey
14 Netherlands Netherlands Spain Pakistan Pakistan Spain
15 Austria Malaysia Malaysia Spain Spain Pakistan
16 Iran Pakistan Pakistan Nigeria Austria SA
17 Pakistan Iran Iran Iran Iran Iran
18 Nigeria Nigeria Nigeria Netherlands Nigeria Nigeria
19 Bangladesh Bangladesh Bangladesh Bangladesh Bangladesh Bangladesh
20 Egypt Egypt Egypt Egypt Egypt Egypt

From Table 8 we notice that:

1. The behavioral intentions of people towards a country varies for each dimension of: visit, live, work, invest, buy from, and study in each country

2. The ‘Behavioral Intentions is – to a large extent – directly proportional with the overall reputation of the country; where the higher the country score, the more appealing it is for people to live, visit, invest, work, study, and buy from that country, and vice versa

3. Though USA ranked high in terms of intentions to live, work, invest, buy from and study there, it ranked the thirteenth in terms of intentions to visit

4. Though Indonesia ranked the ninth in terms of ‘overall reputation’, the ninth in ‘advanced economy’, the seventh in ‘appealing environment’, and the twelfth in ‘effective government’, yet it ranked the first in intentions to ‘live’ and ‘invest’ in it, which could be viewed as a bias from the Indonesian responses since they represent a big sample in this survey.

The coefficients of correlation between each dimension and each of the behavioral intentions are shown in Table 9.

Table 9 Coefficients of Correlation
  Visit Live Work Invest Buy from Study
Appealing Environment 0.905 0.891 0.856 0.848 0.854 0.857
Advanced Economy 0.857 0.869 0.912 0.867 0.937 0.929
Effective Government 0.936 0.914 0.955 0.905 0.922 0.930

From Table 9 it is noticed that

1. Each of the three dimensions has a high positive correlation with each behavioral intention.

2. Out of the three measured dimensions, the “Effective Government” dimension has the highest impact (highest positive coefficient of correlation) on the willingness of people to visit, live, work, invest, and study in a country, while the “Advanced Economy” dimension has the highest impact on the willingness of people to buy from a country.

3. Out of the three measured dimensions, the “Advanced Economy” has the least impact on the willingness of people to visit and live in a country, while the “Appealing Environment” dimension has the least impact on the willingness of people to work, invest, buy from, and study in a country.

Comparing Results to RepTrak

In this research, nineteen countries out of the twenty measured countries are common with the RepTrak model. According to the RepTrak 2017 report for country reputation, those nineteen countries ranked as shown in Table 10.

Table 10 Common Countries with Reptrak Model
Rank Country
1 Canada
2 Switzerland
4 Australia
9 Netherlands
11 Austria
12 Japan
13 Spain
14 Italy
18 UK
19 France
28 Malaysia
32 Indonesia
38 USA
40 Egypt
46 Turkey
50 Saudia Arabia
52 Nigeria
53 Pakistan

This paper country ranking:

From Tables 10 and 11, it is noticed that the perception of a county’s reputation varies from the perspective of people from the G8 countries and those from D8 countries. Though Japan, UK, and USA rank the first three in this research, they were ranked lower in the RepTrak model.

Table 11 This Paper Rankings
Rank Country
1 Japan
2 UK
3 USA
4 Canada
5 Switzerland
6 Italy
7 Australia
8 France
9 Indonesia
10 Spain
11 Malaysia
12 Turkey
13 Austria
14 Saudi Arabia
15 Pakistan
16 Netherlands
17 Iran
18 Nigeria
19 Bangladesh
20 Egypt

Also, Canada, Switzerland and Austria ranked the first three from the perspective of G8 population sample, while they ranked lower from the perspective of D-8 population sample. Accordingly, the behavioral intentions of people from the G8 and D8 countries towards each of the measured countries vary according to their perception towards the country.

Research Limitations

Due to limitations of time and resources, the sample used in this survey is not representative to the total population of all the D8 countries; it only covered three developing countries; Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan which represent important nations with big population.

Besides, for the same limitations of time and resources, the survey did not measure the reputation of all countries; where only twenty nations were measured; yet, the selected nations are big and important nations and have been selected from all continents as follows:

Africa: Egypt, Nigeria

Asia: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey

Europe: Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Netherlands

North America: Canada, United States of America

Australia

Another limitation is that “Bangladesh” was included in the list of countries measured, as it is one of the D8 countries, yet, it is not included in the RepTrak model.

Conclusion

The impact of nation branding reflects on attracting tourists, foreign investments, exports, and attracting students and workers. It also influences public diplomacy, international credibility, and diminishes the effect of negative stereotypes about a country. To build and enhance a nation’s brand, reputation needs to be broken down into different dimensions to ease its measurement and management; these dimensions should be selected carefully to reflect all aspects that drive a country’s reputation.

Breaking down reputation into several dimensions and aspects helps to measure the weight by which each dimension builds and impacts the overall reputation, and eventually helps to better manage a country’s reputation by enhancing the dimensions that have negative impact on reputation and build on the competitive edges a country already has.

Perceptions of people towards a country differs from one person to another, this perception could be formed according to personal experience with the country, media and worldwide news, general economic indicators for the country...etc. All these reputation shaping factors build a brand image for the country in peoples’ minds and reflect in the form of behavioral intentions towards the country in terms of willingness to visit, live, work, invest in, buy from, and study in this country.

Results have shown that perceptions towards a country varies from someone to another and from nationality to another, which leads to different rankings for countries from a group of people to another, and accordingly, the behavioral intention towards a country varies. It was also found that a country that ranks highest in terms of total reputation does not necessarily rank the highest in each of the reputation component dimensions, yet, they have high ranking in most of them.

The Reputation Institute Reptrak methodology for measuring country reputation is based on surveying respondents from G8 countries.

This leads to ranking of countries as outlined in Table 10 above. When measuring country reputation from the perspective of respondents from D8 countries, the rankings of countries were different. Thus, it is important realize that ranking of nations are not consistent depending on the nationality of those surveyed. Thus, it is important to take this into account when making inferences about country’s reputations.

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