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Public Services|Travel and Hospitality|Brand and Customer Experience|United Kingdom|English

Germany knocks USA off Best Nation top spot after 5 years


    Germany sees large gain in ‘sports excellence’, which helps in part to drive it to first place

    USA is downgraded heavily by Russia and Egypt for role in global peace and security

    Russia is only nation to suffer a precipitous global reputation drop; their score drop for “peace and security” is the largest for any single attribute

After holding the number one place since 2009, the USA has this year been pushed down to second place by Germany, which now takes the lead in the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands IndexSM (NBISM).

People around the world now have more positive perceptions of Germany than of 49 other developed and developing countries, according to the annual NBISM study. The study measures global perceptions of each country, based on twenty-three different attributes that make up the six overall dimensions on which national image is based: exports, governance, culture, people, tourism and immigration/investment. For the 2014 study, a total of 20,125 interviews were conducted across 20 countries.

Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands IndexSM
Overall Brand Ranking 2014 (Top 10 of 50 Nations) 

2014 rank​ 2013 rank​
1​ Germany 2​
2​ USA​ 1​
3​ UK​ 3​
4​ France​ 4​
5​ ​Canada 5​
6​ Japan​ 6​
7​ Italy​ 7​
8​ ​Switzerland 8​
9​ Australia​ 9​
​10 ​Sweden 10​



Germany achieved the largest overall Nation Brands IndexSM score increase this year – partly due to its score gain on “sport excellence”, which is the largest gain seen this year for any single attribute across the 50 measured nations.

Simon Anholt, an independent policy advisor, explains, “Germany appears to have benefited not only from the sports prowess it displayed on the world stage at the FIFA World Cup championship, but also by solidifying its perceived leadership in Europe through a robust economy and steady political stewardship. Germany’s score gains in the areas of ‘honest and competent government’, ‘investment climate’, and ‘social equality’ are among the largest it achieved across all the aspects covered by the NBISM 2014 survey.” 

In contrast, the USA has shown the least impressive NBISM gain among the developed nations. While it still is seen as number one in several areas, including creativity, contemporary culture, and educational institutions, its role in global peace and security only ranks 19th out of 50 nations. 

Xiaoyan Zhao, Senior Vice President and Director of NBISM at GfK, comments, “In a year of various international confrontations, the United States has lost significant ground where tension has been felt the most acutely.  Both Russia and Egypt have downgraded the U.S. in an unprecedented manner, particularly in their perception of American commitment to global peace and security, and in their assessment of the competence of the U.S. government.  However, on a global level, it is Russia that has received the strongest criticism from public opinion.”

In previous years, Russia had shown upward momentum - but in the 2014 NBISM study, it stands out as the only nation out of 50 to suffer a precipitous drop.  Russia’s largest decline is registered on the Governance dimension, especially for the attribute of its perceived role in international peace and security. This is the most drastic score drop seen for any single attribute across the 50 nations. Overall in this year’s study, Russia has slipped three places to 25th, overtaken by Argentina, China, and Singapore.

Ms. Zhao adds, “International diplomacy clearly reaches beyond the realm of public opinion – however, policy makers need to be keenly aware that the way in which a country is perceived globally can make a critical difference to the success of its business, trade and tourism efforts, as well as its diplomatic and cultural relations with other nations. As our partner Simon Anholt often says, the only superpower left in today’s world is global public opinion.”

View more information on the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands IndexSM study


About the Anholt-GfK Nations Brand IndexSM 2014  Conducted annually, the Anholt-GfK Nation Brands IndexSM measures the image of 50 countries, with respect to Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment. For the 2014 study, a total of 20,125 interviews were conducted in 20 countries, with at least 1,000 interviews per country. Interviews were conducted online with adults aged 18 or over. The most up-to-date online population parameters were used to weight the achieved sample in each country to reflect key demographic characteristics such as age, gender and education of the online population in that count.  Additionally, in the U.S., the UK, South Africa, India, and Brazil, race/ethnicity has been used for sample balancing. The report reflects the views and opinions of online populations in the 20 countries surveyed. Fieldwork was conducted from July 10 to July 28 2014 (extended to July 31 in Egypt).

About GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications




GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications is a division of GfK. The group specializes in customized public affairs and public opinion polling, media and corporate communications research, and reputation measurement in the U.S. and globally. In addition to delivering a broad range of customized research studies, GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications draws from GfK’s syndicated consumer tracking services, GfK Roper Reports® US and GfK Roper Reports® Worldwide, which monitor consumer values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in the U.S. and more than 25 other countries. The division is also the official polling partner of the Associated Press conducting the AP-GfK Poll (www.ap-gfkpoll.com).

About Simon Anholt Simon Anholt is recognized as the world’s leading authority on national image and identity. Professor Anholt was Vice-Chair of the UK Government’s Public Diplomacy Board, and works as an independent policy advisor to the Heads of State and Heads of Government of more than 50 other countries. Anholt developed the concept of the Nation Brands IndexSM and the City Brands IndexSM in 2005. He is the founder and Editor Emeritus of the quarterly journal, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, and the author of Brand New Justice, Brand America and Competitive Identity – the New Brand Management for Nations, Cities and Regions. His latest book, Places, was published by Macmillan in 2010, together with a completely new edition of Brand America. Anholt was awarded the 2009 Nobels Colloquia Prize for Economics and an Honorary Professorship in Political Science by the University of East Anglia in 2013. He is Director of the Anholt Institute in Copenhagen.




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