This website uses cookies  Cookies enable us to understand how visitors use our website so that we can improve it and provide the best experience possible. By browsing our website, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more
Back to press release overview

Press Releases

23 October 2012
Two-Thirds of Nations Experience Reputation Decline in 2012 Nation Brands Index
• Top 10 Nations Retain Appeal, and US Holds No. 1 Position
• Developing Countries Narrow Reputation Gap with the West, with Notable Gains from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Kenya, and Poland
NEW YORK, October 23, 2012 – The world’s most highly regarded countries continue to lead in global image, but the troubled world economy has also left its mark, with two-thirds of measured nations suffering declines in their reputation over the past year. These are among the results from the 2012 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI), an annual global survey from GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, a division of GfK, and leading policy advisor Simon Anholt.  This year’s NBISM, which measures the image of 50 countries, shows the United States holding the top spot for the fourth year in a row as the nation with the best overall reputation. (For a detailed listing of the Top 10 countries, please download the PDF-document at the bottom of this page)

“While the top nations retain their high ranks, in a year of continued economic, social, environmental and political challenges, ordinary people around the world seem less impressed by other people’s countries than they were in 2011,” said Simon Anholt, NBI founder and an independent advisor to over 50 heads of state and heads of government around the world.  “When it comes to the NBI scores, two-thirds of the nations have experienced declines of varying degrees this year. With a few exceptions, developed nations, ranking among the top-20, have registered some of the biggest score losses. Japan and Spain, mired in their respective economic malaise, have experienced the greatest score decline. Put simply, the world likes the world a bit less than it did last year.” 

Across the board, most of the developed nations have seen their reputations dented, including Germany and France. 
The 2012 NBI survey was conducted from July 5th to July 24th in 20 major developed and developing countries that play important and diverse roles in international relations, trade, and the flow of business, cultural and tourism activities.  A total of 20,378 respondents rated 50 nations on questions in six categories: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment. The overall NBI ranking is based on the average of these six scores. 

“Confirming a gradual ‘gap-narrowing’ trend we noted in previous surveys, most nations ranking in the top-half have seen score declines, with notable downward movement for several of the most admired countries,” said Xiaoyan Zhao, Senior Vice President and Director of the NBI study at GfK.  “Reputation have-nots continue to close the gap. In fact, the United States is the only country within the top-10 with an increased overall NBI score, as it retains its 1st place position held since 2009.” Most score gainers in 2012 have come from the emerging countries, with the highest gains for the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Kenya, and Poland.  “Most developing countries do not have well-rounded reputations, and their current rankings are relatively low among the 50 nations, so notable gains in specific areas boost their overall performance,” said Zhao, “Leading nations still command high admiration, and when they don’t deliver, their reputation is more easily dented.”

The study also asked respondents what they admire most about a country.  The top 5 attributes globally are: “democratic, open, and treats its citizens fairly”; “good quality of life and work/life balance”; “respects nature and keeps a clean environment”; “safe and orderly society with well-behaved people”; and “people are warm and friendly.” 

For more information on the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI) and Anholt-GfK Roper City Brands Index (CBI), please visit or

About The Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index

Conducted annually with GfK Roper beginning in spring 2008, the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index measures the image of 50 nations. Each year, approximately 20,000 adults ages 18 and up are interviewed online in 20 core panel countries, both developed and developing all across the globe. 

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 corporate reputation measurement in the US 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 US and more than 25 other countries. The division also serves as the official polling partner of the Associated Press conducting the AP-GfK Poll (

About GfK

GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, with more than 11,500 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2011, GfK’s sales amounted to EUR 1.37 billion.  To find out more, visit or follow GfK on Twitter:

About Simon Anholt

Simon Anholt is recognized as the world’s leading authority on national image and identity. He was Vice-Chair of the UK Government’s Public Diplomacy Board, and works as an independent policy advisor to more than 50 other national, regional, and city governments. Anholt developed the concept of the Nation Brands Index and the City Brands Index 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. 


Back to press release overview

Contact Us