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Stability in France's reputation but declining influence?

Bertrand Chovet
01 March 2023
Bertrand Chovet, Managing Director, Brand Finance France

France is ranked 6th in the Global Soft Power Index 2023, and its overall index score has improved by 1.8 points to reach 62.4 out of 100. While China maintains a lead over France in the Global Soft Power Index (GSPI), it is experiencing regression. In contrast, Germany and Japan are witnessing slower growth, while the United Kingdom and the United States are surpassing France in terms of GSPI growth.

Thanks to the re-election of President Macron in April 2022, France's Reputation score remains stable this year, instilling a sense of continuity and fostering confidence from abroad. However, the country is facing ongoing challenges and oppositions at the local level, especially in the realms of modernisation and reforms such as the pension system. Despite this, France is perceived as politically stable and well-governed. The perception of the leadership of Emmanuel Macron has increased from 4.2 points in 2022 to 5.2 points for the attribute of 'internationally admired leaders,' which is crucial for maintaining France’s global reputation. 

While France's Familiarity score has remained stable, its Overall Influence score has experienced a slight decrease of 0.2 points. Despite being well-known, France faces the challenge of its global presence being overshadowed by growing media attention on other nations such as Ukraine and Qatar. If managed effectively, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games holds the potential to boost the nation's familiarity and public awareness.

While France's rich Culture and Heritage backgrounds continue to bestow it with significant influence, its overall impact is on the decline. This can be attributed to a diminished presence in diplomatic circles and a perceived lack of vision and leadership both within Europe and on the global stage, resulting in increased polarisation. While France's Soft Power is growing at a faster pace than that of Germany, there remains a significant gap between the Soft Power of France and that of the UK.

Despite improvements in its Business and Trade score, (improving from 6.3 to 6.8) France continues to face challenges in being perceived as a business-friendly nation. While it has made strides as a leader in technology and innovation, there has been a decline in its Education & Science score, (dropping from 5.5 to 4.7) indicating areas for improvement.


France receives high scores for overall Familiarity, International Relations, and Culture & Heritage, ranking 2nd in Arts & Entertainment, Food, and Tourism. France's leading luxury brands embody the country's appealing lifestyle and inspiring culture. Nevertheless, France encounters obstacles in pursuing transformative objectives and implementing changes at both the national and international levels. These barriers have the potential to impact France's Soft Power influence.

Despite this, France is becoming more attractive to foreign investors, with initiatives coming from Bpifrance, Business France, and Atout France. The country ranked first in the 2020 EY Attractiveness Barometer for the most attractive country for foreign investors in Europe, with 1,197 projects, up 17% year-on-year. However, France's Business & Trade score in the 2023 Global Soft Power Index is slightly down, indicating a need for improvement in this area. 

Although France's reputation remains steady, its influence is experiencing a decline, presenting challenges in rallying other nations to address the core aspects of a sustainable world. While France actively advocates for climate issues, there is a pressing need to improve perceptions in the realm of Business & Trade to prevent the potential loss of its Soft Power advantage in the future.

About the Author

Bertrand Chovet
Managing Director

Bertrand Chovet is Managing Director of Brand Finance France. With more than 25 years of experience in branding, he specialises in brand management, brand valuation, brand audits & analytics.

Business & brand expert bridging employee, customer, strategy, technology, creativity and experience to build business and brand value and solve corporate, industrial, fmcg, luxury or retail challenges. Rich experience with international, major leading corporations or fast-growing companies with a focus on brand valuation, insights, brand definition, strategy, internal engagement, experience and brand & business management to invent, create and implement relevant and differentiated solutions for the business and the society.

Bertrand has taught in HEC, CELSA, ESCE as well as EMlyon and other reputable business schools in France. He has published several articles and papers on branding and marketing and received numerous awards such as Grand Prix Stratégies, RedDot Communication Awards and TopCom Corporate & Consumer.