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Brand America Great Again – Brand Finance Nation Brands Report

·         USA’s nation brand strengthens, with brand rating improving to AAA and brand value up 23% to US$25.9tn

·         China continues growth, with brand value up 25% to US$12.8tn, despite trade war fears

·         Germany solidifies third position with fastest-growing brand value in top 50, up 28% to US$5.1tn

·         Despite Brexit uncertainties, UK brand value increases 20% to US$3.8tn

·         African players advance, with 6 out of 10 fastest-growing nation brands coming from the continent

View the full Brand Finance Nation Brands 2018 report here

Topping the table as the world’s most valuable nation brand, the USA’s brand value has gone up 23% over the past year to US$25.9 trillion, according to the latest Brand Finance Nation Brands report.

The US economy has expanded at a speedy pace with growth expected to continue in the months to come. Alongside the GDP, also consumer sales, construction orders, car output and other indicators of growth have each seen an increase – proving the US economy truly is booming.

In addition, thanks to the falling tax rates, which have created a more business-friendly environment, the USA’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) score has improved from 83.8 in 2017 to 85.6 out of 100 this year. As a result, America’s brand rating has been upgraded from AAA- to AAA, and the brand value leader has also moved up the brand strength ranking, replacing Sweden as the 8th strongest nation brand in the world.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“As Donald Trump approaches the start of his third year at the White House, in the longer run, negative perceptions of his personal brand have turned out to have little impact on the nation brand as a whole. Rather, the new free-market policies have resonated with business leaders and the economy is growing, driving an improvement in America’s brand strength and brand value alike.”

China’s Boom Continues 

China maintains its spot as the second most valuable nation brand, with brand value up 25% to US$12.8 trillion. China performs well despite the prospects of a protracted trade war with the US, displaying the established robustness of the Chinese economy. This rise in brand value is also a credit to booming cities like Beijing and Shanghai, for their world-class infrastructure and well-educated workforce, which make them some of the world's best places to do business.

Whilst China’s brand strength remains relatively low at 73.5, it has grown faster than for any other big nation brand, with whole two points added to the country’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) score over the past year. The improvement comes as China steps up its role on the global stage, championing free trade and leading the efforts to combat climate change at a time when the USA is turning towards protectionism and prioritising own interests over a collaborative energy policy.

Recent years have also seen China shift focus from commoditised production to building world-class brands, such as Huawei and Alibaba, whose success in turn reinforces the strength of the nation brand.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented

“The rise of China’s nation brand is down to global leadership, pro-business outlook, and a steely determination for the country to create brands rather than just products. The current government’s renewed commitment towards free trade, opening up of the Chinese market, and enhancing protection of intellectual property will make for a yet improved business environment in the years to come.”

Germany Gets Ahead

The fastest-growing brand in the top 50 of the Brand Finance Nation Brands 2018, Germany has seen a 28% brand value jump to US$5.1 trillion over the past year. This has solidified the country’s position as Europe’s most valuable nation brand and the world’s third. Following strong growth, Germany has more than doubled the lead over the fourth brand in the table, from US$582 billion in 2017 to US$1.4 trillion this year. Reinforced by the country’s status as the leading force in the European Union and its growing global role both economically and at the political negotiating table, Germany’s brand strength has also improved, leading to a lift in brand rating from AAA- to AAA.

Britain Strong and Stable

Perceived vulnerability undermines Britain’s standing on the global stage, reflected in the nation brand’s strength falling slightly since last year, from 85.3 to 84.8, but a healthy economy and positive growth forecasts show Britain’s resilience in the face of Brexit. The UK’s nation brand has recorded a solid 20% growth year on year to US$3.8 trillion, replacing Japan in fourth place.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Britain’s performance in this year’s study of the world’s nation brands shows that perceptions of Brexit go against the economic reality. What the exact scenario and consequences of exiting the EU will be still remains to be seen, but both current market conditions and economic forecasts for the coming years reaffirm Britain’s ability to make the most of its post-Brexit future.”

Turmoil Threatens Turkey

The ongoing economic crisis alongside the fall in value of the lira have seen Turkey’s brand value decline by one third to US$382 billion from US$570 billion last year. Turbulent political times in the wider region, such as the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq, have also played a part. The mission ahead is to nurture global Turkish brands, such as the national carrier Turkish Airlines, which has shown a promising rise in its brand value since last year, up 6% to over US$2.0 billion.

African Advances

Six out of ten fastest-growing nation brands this year are from Africa. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana have all recorded outstanding growth between 28% and 38% year on year.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Starting from a low economic base and still troubled by political instability, Africa is nonetheless beginning to demonstrate its true potential. Following in the footsteps of Asian tigers with remarkable advances in this year’s ranking, African lions are the future of global economic growth.”


Note to Editors

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest nation brands.

2018 brand values are calculated in USD with a valuation date of 1st July 2018.

For full results, expert insights, and a detailed explanation of methodology, please consult the Brand Finance Nation Brands 2018 report.

Brand Finance helped craft the internationally recognised standard on Brand Valuation – ISO 10668, and the recently approved standard on Brand Evaluation – ISO 20671.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance league tables and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

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About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading branded business valuation and strategy consultancy, with offices in over 20 countries. We provide clarity to marketers, brand managers and investors by quantifying the financial value of brands. Drawing on expertise in strategy, branding, market research, visual identity, finance, tax and intellectual property, Brand Finance helps clients make the right decisions to maximise brand and business value and bridges the gap between marketing and finance.


Brand Finance measures the strength and value of the nation brands of 100 leading countries using a method based on the royalty relief mechanism employed to value the world’s largest companies.

Step 1 – Nation Brand Strength

Nation Brand Strength is the part of our analysis most directly and easily influenced by those responsible for their country’s nation brand campaigns. It is determined by reference to performance on dozens of data points across three key ‘pillars’; Goods & Services, Investment and Society. These are divided into sub-pillars; Tourism, Market, Governance and People & Skills. These are further subdivided into individual metrics. Each metric is scored out of 100 and together contribute to an overall Brand Strength Index (BSI) score for the nation brand, also out of 100. Based on the score, each Nation Brand is assigned a rating from AAA+ to D in a format similar to a credit rating. For example, the UK’s score of 85 puts it in 10th place and gives it an AAA brand rating.

Step 2 – Royalty Rate

The hypothetical royalty rate charged is determined by reference to average rates seen in agreements among companies in the industries identified within the economy and corroborated by reference to affordability.

Step 3 – Revenues

The nation brand valuation is based on five-year forecasts of sales of all brands in each nation. Gross domestic product (GDP) is used as a proxy for total revenues. Forecasts are taken from the world economic outlook of the IMF in local currencies, exchange rate is then applied to individual brand values.

Step 4 – Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) or Discount Rate

In order to account for the risk across each national economy a discount rate is calculated. This represents the average cost of a brand’s sources of finance and the minimum return required on the brand asset. The discount rate is used to calculate the present value of future brand earnings (accounting for the time value of money and the associated risk).

Step 5 - Brand Valuation

The calculated royalty rate is applied to revenue data to derive a ‘total brand contribution’ for both the nation brand value (i.e. the nation brand plus corporate brands) and the pure nation brand effect value alone. The resulting figures are then taxed at the local corporate tax rate. The brand contribution after tax is discounted back to a ‘net present value’ using the discount rate. The original brand contribution figures are then added to their discounted values into perpetuity to derive both the nation brand value and the nation brand effect value.

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