5 ways to measure nation branding

As the theory and practice of nation branding revolves on intangibles (perception, reputation, image), sometimes it appears very hard to measure a nation brand or a nation branding effort. True, it ain’t easy and you can’t pretend to have perfect accuracy, but there are some ways available.

  1. Specialized indexes. The most obvious one is ranking in consumer-based surveys, like the Nation Brands Index or the Country Brand Index. You can analyze positions in all dimensions measured and find out and understand the reasons why.
  2. Traditional media. Another one is by counting the number of instances a country is mentioned in international media, and the grade of positiveness every piece of content had towards the country. Software-intelligent data mining systems like EastWest’s Global Nation Brands Index can help.
  3. Web 2.0. You can track peer-to-peer online conversations with several online tools. You can track short posts on Twitter, groups on Facebook, the most (country-relevant) digged stories at Digg.com, the most watched (country-relevant) videos on Youtube, blog posts with Google Blog Search, etc.
  4. Images. Images are worth a thousand words. With online tools you can get to know the most-viewed pictures of your country. Do some popular searches and find out what results come out first, and what kind of images are embedded in them. Do they look good? Are they pictures of catastrophes or are they shots of happy people looking like they enjoy life in that country? Are they too touristic? Are they stereotypical? You could compile 100 of them every month and look out for changes and trends.
  5. Macroeconomics. You can also measure and track every year the evolution of gross market indicators such as GDP, tourism influx, average tourist spending, foreign direct investment, exports, market evolution of the country’s ambassador brands, trends in incoming offshoring…

These are only 5 ways to measure a nation brand and/or a nation branding effort, but there are more of them!