By Rebecca Smith
Another year, another country ranking, and another top result for New Zealand. We’ve almost become conditioned to expect that New Zealand is perceived positively around the globe. But what’s driving this preference and consideration?
The FutureBrand report notes that the world is starting to look beyond traditional measures as we all grapple with topics such as immigration, gun rights, and social safety net provisions like healthcare and education. A country's position in the world, therefore, is increasingly being measured in terms of how countries react, strike balance, and thrive in today’s new dynamic.
As our world becomes more connected with the, often uncomfortable, rise of influence through social media, the FutureBrand Country Index now includes linguistic analysis of social media conversations in assessing perceptions of nations. Global trends such as mindfulness, conscious consumerism, experience as the new currency, the growth of the gig economy and remote working all reflect a big change in the small decisions consumers are making in their everyday lives.
These personal choices – such as alternative food proteins, the rise in agri-hoods, or decline in single-use plastic – all suggest a premium is being placed not on living richer, but on living a richer life. These personal choices and shared beliefs are resulting in a pronounced shuffling in the global ranking of nations.
The survey suggests that the three builders of country brand strength are:
Conversely, the key barriers to country brand strength are; business potential, (over) tourism, polarising politics, and lack of tolerance. For country brands, this paradigm shift means it’s more important than ever to showcase their ability to look after the safety, well-being, and happiness of its people. With an emphasis on all people, not just select socioeconomic tiers.
Sound familiar? FutureBrand notes “As our world becomes more connected and complex, countries that take decisive action to prioritise Quality of Life will prevail. New Zealand is paving the way with a national budget based not on traditional measures like productivity and economic growth, but on goals that encourage the well-being of citizens.....These forward-looking policies will not only safeguard New Zealand’s people but likely attract future visitors, investors, and citizens.”