Just as products and companies have brand images associated with them, countries also have built perceptions in the minds of people around the world. A country’s “brand name” can be based on a variety of rankings and its overall perception in the minds of businesses definitely has an impact on its success. If a country’s brand perception is favorable, that can translate into foreign investments alongside commercial and economic development. Businesses are also more likely to conduct operations in a country with a positive brand image. To help us identify the top country brands in today’s globalized economy, FutureBrand has released the Country Brand Index. The results are very interesting and the country at the top of the list might just surprise you.

The top country brand for 2012 was Switzerland followed the usual suspects of Japan, the United States, and Germany. But perhaps more surprising this year was the release of a new list featuring countries on the rise that are building their brand and emerging as influential forces in the world economy. This list, called the Future 15, was topped by the United Arab Emirates. A rather fascinating country to top the list, the United Arab Emirates is greatly benefitting from positive perceptions about its financial stability, education system, and infrastructure growth. The United Arab Emirates has worked hard to develop a successful brand name among businesses worldwide and hopes the benefits will continue to follow.

Chile, another emerging country brand, is serving as a model for South America with its lack of corruption and solid infrastructure. Other countries in regions like Africa also have room to growth their country brand as they have vast resources including minerals and agricultural commodities. These regions are not without their challenges as lingering wars, disease, and corruption plague countries in Africa. However, large and small countries both have the opportunity to build their personal brand to create economic growth for their citizens. A country can start building a brand by simply treating their environment better or creating a better business climate. These small steps will help to enforce positive brand perceptions for a country and might just get that country to the top of the list someday.

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