Friday, August 29, 2008

Singapore Is World's Top Brand

Source : My Paper, Thu, Aug 28, 2008

SINGAPORE is the best, based on how the Republic is perceived in leading international media.

This is according to a global survey of 200 countries conducted by Washington-based East West Communications, a company which helps countries improve the way they are viewed by the world.

All 192 members of the United Nations were included in the survey. The remaining eight were major non-members and territories, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Hong Kong and Malaysia were ranked second and third respectively.

The bottom three countries were Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In its press announcement earlier this week, the company said it hopes that these results will encourage countries to strive for a better ranking in the future.

The current results are valid only for the second quarter of this year. The first full-year Global Index 200 will use the same methodology to cover this year, and the results will be published early next year.

'Using our reports, governments can address their branding and messaging weaknesses, and build on their strengths,' said Mr Thomas Cromwell, president of East West Communications.

The company analysed five million references to the 200 countries or regions in '38 leading publications and other news sources in the United States and worldwide', from April 1 to June 30 this year, to compile the survey.

Based on the number of country references or mentions alone, Singapore was ranked 17th while the US came first.

However, the survey also used a text-analysis system developed by Ohio's Perception Metrics - which comprises a dictionary of 16,000 words and phrases - to determine positive and negative messages in any given text.

From the analysis of these positive and negative messages, and the number of times a country is mentioned, a score was calculated for each country.

Branding expert and author of the book Corporate Image Management, Mr Steven Howard, attributes Singapore's high ranking to the positive news the country generates.

Mr Howard, who has lived here for 28 years, said: 'Singapore is strong in terms of business growth, manufacturing productivity and government initiatives.

'It is well known globally as a leader in implementing innovative concepts, ranging from Singapore Airlines being the first to fly the Airbus 380, to being the host city for the world's first night Formula One race.'

A country's brand is much more difficult to manage, he added. 'It is created by an amalgamation of everything that is linked to that country.'

The managing director of branding consultancy BrandStory Inc, Ms Reene Ho-Pang, said that people's perception of a brand is what makes it successful.

'A brand rests in the minds of the people. What people around the world say and share about Singapore is extremely important and reflected in the media,' she said.

But Ms Ho-Pang hopes Singaporeans will not get complacent about managing the country's brand image.

'We must continue to do the right things for our brand, to evolve and make it relevant to the world.'

(East West branding survey, Q2 2008)

1. Singapore
2. Hong Kong
3. Malaysia
4. Taiwan
5. Australia
6. United Arab Emirates
7. Qatar
8. Monaco
9. Canada
10. United Kingdom

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