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The Most Valuable Nation Brands in 2020



This article is published in collaboration with Visual Capitalist

by Carmen Ang


The Most Valuable Nation Brands in 2020


In today’s heavily interconnected world, a country’s reputation can have a big impact on its overall economic prosperity.


In fact, a country’s reputation—its brand—is arguably one of its most important assets. A strong nation brand has the power to boost tourism, attract and retain talent, and potentially bring in foreign investment.


This graphic uses data from Brand Finance’s Nation Brands 2020 report, which attempts to quantify the reputations of different countries around the world. We’ll also dive into the top 10 nation brands, and how their brand value has changed over time.


How is Nation Brand Value Quantified?


While the report provides a full explanation of its methodology, here’s a quick summary of how the scoring system works.


First, Brand Finance calculates a country’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) score using three pillars:


1. Goods & Services Openness to tourism, market size, and trade rules


2. Society Quality of life, corruption, and cultural image


3. Investment Talent retention, use of technology, R&D, taxation, and regulation


From there, the BSI score is used to calculate a hypothetical royalty rate, and applied to a country’s GDP. Then, a discount rate is factored in to account for economic risk. Finally, numbers are crunched to provide the “Brand Value” of a country.


The Top 10 Most Valuable Nation Brands


In this year’s report, Brand Finance highlights the impact COVID-19 has had on nation brand values—in 2020, the top 10 nation brands have seen a 14% drop in brand value, on average.

Here are the most valuable nation brands of 2020, and their change in value since last year:


Despite a 14.5% decrease in value, the U.S. managed to maintain its top position with a nation brand value of $23.7 trillion.


Like many other countries, 2020 has been a tough year for America. From recording the most COVID-19 cases and deaths to dealing with a controversial presidential election, the economic powerhouse faced a tremendous amount of international scrutiny this year.


Despite all this, the United States remains one of the most successful and dominant economies worldwide—the only close competitor is China, with a nation brand value of $18.8 trillion.


Over the Years: China’s Steady Climb


While China still ranks below the U.S. in total brand value, its percentage decrease from last year was far lower than the other nations on the list. China stayed relatively stable with a modest 4% drop, about 10 percentage points less than the global average.


China’s stability this year is nothing new. In fact, the country has been steadily closing the brand value gap between itself and the U.S. since 2015:


This year marks the smallest gap yet, with just a $4.9 trillion brand value difference between the U.S. and China. This is significantly lower than in previous years—for instance, in 2015 the U.S. had a $13.1 trillion lead over China.


Will America make a comeback in 2021 under a new administration, or will the gap between it and China close even further?


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