Every year a brand consultant agency called FutureBrand comes out with a report of the Country Brand Index (CBI). The “country brand” (think “Made in Japan”), is measured similarly to consumer or corporate brands (Nike, Toshiba, etc).
The index is a measure of the global perception of each country’s “brand,” not just for the quality and popularity of their export products and big name businesses, but also taking into account social aspects of the country. Having spent the last few years cozily in the top ten, Japan took the number one position in the 2014-2015 CBI report.
This year Japan finds itself not only the first Asian country to overtake their European competition for the number one slot, but also the only Asian country in the top ten, although Singapore (14) and South Korea (20) are also rising up in ranks quickly.
Through their research, FutureBrand has come to realize that the place of origin of a product’s design and manufacture is very important for consumers when making purchases. In fact, it ranked second, only under safety, having recently overtaken price, availability and style as a significant decision-making factor.
The “country brand” takes several aspects into account, including, obviously, the perceived quality and design of products, but also the perception of the country as a whole, including heritage, desire to live, visit or do business in the country, environmental safety and even the quality of life and value system of the people.
Japan was given the highest honor this year, being labeled as experts in “technology (78%),” “consumer electronics (65%),” and “automotive (59%).” Heritage, history and culture also played a considerable role in the Japanese brand.
The other top CBI contenders are:
Japan’s first place prize has come under some scrutiny, however, as many non-Japanese netizens are citing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant scandal, the Takata airbag recall and the general decline of the Japanese economy and product quality in recent years as good reason to argue that Japan doesn’t deserve their top ranking.
Others are supporting Japan with comments like:
“The brand power that Japan is so proud of comes from the efforts of small to medium business (factories) and the pride of workers, which means that better products get made…”
“Japan has amazingly clever techniques…it would be great if this carries on.”
While Japanese companies have been facing some serious problems lately, the index clearly states that there is much more to a country’s brand than just its businesses. The attractiveness of the culture and society also play a huge part in the ranking and Japanese culture is boundlessly entertaining and appealing.
Sources: japanCRUSH, Ameba
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