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Nation Brand Value: Growth has slowed, but not stalled 

Brand Finance
29 February 2024
Place Branding Manager,
Brand Finance

A resilient global economy as risks to global growth are being balanced 

The global economy continues to recover slowly from the blows of the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis. Despite the disruption in energy and food markets caused by the war, and the unprecedented tightening of global monetary conditions to combat decades-high inflation, the global economy has slowed, but not stalled. 

As the world’s economies navigate the uncertainties surrounding rising inflation, elevated global and geopolitical shocks, understanding a Nation Brand Value and Strength is more important than ever. Here are the results of the 20th annual iteration of Brand Finance’s ranking of the world’s most valuable and strongest Nation Brands. 

Top 10 Nation Brands record declines 

The economic superpowers continue to dominate the Nation Brand Value ranking, accounting for 73% of the total worth of all the world’s Nation Brands. However, the 2024 ranking records a decline in the top 10 by 3%.  

The United States upholds its status as the dominant global player, preserving its top position since Brand Finance’s first Nation Brand Value ranking publication in 2005. The nation recorded the strongest recovery amongst major economies with its 2023 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth exceeding the pre-pandemic path, enabling the United States to record the fastest Nation Brand value growth within the top 10.  

However, this rising momentum was not felt everywhere. Notably subdued growth was recorded in the Euro area, namely Germany, France, and Italy, reflecting weaker consumer sentiment and the lingering effects of high energy prices.  

Additionally, China faces growing headwinds from its real estate crisis and weakening market confidence. These developments, together with slowing industrial production, business investment, and exports have resulted in fading economic growth for the nation, leading to a decline in China’s Nation Brand Value by 14% this year. 

The United Kingdom records the largest decline in Nation Brand Value within the top 10, down by 15%. Growth in the UK was projected to decline in the International Monetary Fund’s October 2023 World Economic Outlook and by the British Chambers of Commerce. Prolonged high-interest rates, trade barriers, particularly with the EU, and limits on consumer spending are all seen to feed into a low-growth climate.  

Mexico benefits as the US brings manufacturing closer to home 

Mexico increases in Nation Brand Value by 29% this year, emerging as the fastest-growing Nation Brand in 2024. The foundation of Mexico’s growth are the carryover effects of stronger than expected domestic demand. The nation was one of the first countries to be described as an emerging market when the term was initially coined, and since then has experienced many classic market disruptions including a series of debt and currency crises. Nevertheless, the country is now enjoying a new growth period, and its stock market has been one of the world’s best performers over the past few years. The primary driver of Mexico’s growth has been the ‘near-shoring’ of US manufacturing, and as of 2023, Mexico became the US’s largest trading partner, ahead of China and Canada.  

The Western Balkans country, Albania records growth of 28%, marginally behind Mexico in relative terms although much more modest in absolute value. The Albanian economy has shown remarkable resilience driven by a strong rebound in tourism. Albania’s economic prospects are expected to remain positive in the upcoming years ensured by resilient private consumption, with notable strength in construction activity.  

Ethiopia is the fastest-growing African Nation Brand this year. It was one the fastest-growing economies in the world last year, recording a 6.1% GDP growth in 2023. The nation is forecast to grow at a rate of 6.2% in 2024, which surpasses not only the anticipated global growth rate of 2.9%, but also outpaces the expected growth rate for the African continent at 4%. Investment in infrastructure and value added sectors of manufacturing and processing, such as textiles and agricultural products, have been key drivers behind the nation’s growth.  

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Brand Finance’s Nation Brand Value study recorded a decline in Ukraine’s Nation Brand Value by more than 20%. Almost two years after this invasion commenced, Ukraine’s economic activity is expected to rebound based on the European Commission’s projections. Receipt of international financial assistance, increased business activity, stable operations of its energy production and the sea corridor, as well as the return of refugees have been key driving factors behind Ukraine’s positive outlook. However, it remains subject to the exceptionally high war-related uncertainty. 

Canada remains world’s strongest Nation Brand 

Canada has retained its title as the world’s strongest Nation Brand for the third year in a row, earning a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 84.8 out of 100. Canada is internationally perceived as a ‘strong and stable economy’ and is highly rated for its living standards. The nation also boasts a culturally diverse population, and one of the best education systems in the world, factors contributing to the nation topping the rankings for Nation Brand Strength.  

Switzerland is a close second for Nation Brand Strength, retaining its rank from last year. It has consistently ranked 1st in the Global Soft Power Index in terms of its Reputation for the last five years. In addition to this, the nation has maintained positive perceptions across many other key measures, driven by its economic stability, political consensus, and a historic role as negotiator and peacemaker for other nations.  

Denmark sees fastest-growth within the top 10 for Nation Brand Strength, climbing 5 ranks. Denmark is a frontrunner in sustainable development with a universal health care and strong educational system. The nation has been rated the least corrupt country in the world by Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index for the 6th year in a row and has consistently been named one of the happiest nations in the world, factors contributing to the nation’s rapid growth within the ranking. 

The United Arab Emirates moves up within the top 10 too, rising to 8th position this year. The Gulf nation is benefitting from improved perceptions across Business & Trade and Sustainable Future, following its hosting of EXPO 2020 and COP 28. The Emirates has made impressive progress in developing its Nation Brand Strength and Value in recent years and for the first time receives 10/10 marks and top position on the key ‘strong and stable economy’ attribute. 

Singapore moves into the top 10 on Nation Brand Strength. The highly prosperous city-state serves as the business hub of Southeast Asia and is renowned for its world-class education, healthcare, transport, and low crime levels. These factors, paired with the nation’s unwavering political stability and commitment to its economic strategy, firmly position Singapore among the world’s strongest Nation Brands. 

Why does Nation Brand Value matter? 

Understanding your Nation Brand Value and Strength can act as a safety net when navigating the highly fragmented geoeconomic environment of today. It ensures that a nation’s brand plays to its strengths across each of the key sectors of the economy, paving the way to positive economic benefits.  

Brand Finance’s Nation Brand Value analysis, combined with the Global Soft Power Index, provides a robust tool that enables countries globally to track the relationship between their perceptions and performance. This provides Nation Brand management teams with insights to leverage their most important asset in order to further the economic development and strategic goals of a nation in the long-run. 

About the Author

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Headquartered in the City of London, we are present in over 20 countries.

For almost 30 years we have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.