As the U.S. struggles with political uncertainty, and the balance of power shifts from west to east, Canada is holding its own and is even on the rise as one of the strongest national brands in the world.
That's according to the 2017 edition of the Nation Brands report from U.K.-based research firm Brand Finance, which specializes in assessing the value of brands.
Canada leapfrogged India to hit seventh place in the rankings, up from eighth the year before, according to the report. The value of Brand Canada rose by 14 per cent in a year, to an estimated US$2.056 trillion.
In other words, that's what it would cost to buy Canada's reputation and wordmark if it were available on the open market.
"The effect of a country's national image on the brands based there and the economy as a whole is now widely acknowledged," wrote David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance.
"In a global marketplace, it is one of the most important assets of any state, encouraging inward investment, adding value to exports, and attracting tourists and skilled migrants."
The number-one country on the list remains the United States, but a slow economy and the Trump phenomenon means the country is risking its position to a new contender: China.
China's growth on the brand metric has been meteoric. The value of its brand grew 44 per cent in a year, to US$10.2 trillion, compared to just two-per-cent growth for the U.S. brand.
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And though China's brand is worth half the value of the U.S.'s brand (US$21.06 trillion), a few more years of growth like this and China will take over from the U.S. as the most powerful national brand.
The U.S. is being held back by an aging population, which in turn is leading to slow economic growth, Brand Finance reported.
"However, perceptions of Donald Trump's presidency are not exactly helping Brand America either," the report said.
"Sabre rattling in the Middle East and Asia, closing borders to migrants and refugees, and breaching global commitments in relation to climate change, have all seriously undermined the United States' global leadership. Recovering that influence in the future may be close to impossible."
It noted that the Trump administration is seen as "increasingly unpredictable" and further failures to pass legislation in Congress, such as the currently-debated tax reforms, "will make investors' confidence disappear," the report said.
Meanwhile, brands are on the rise in the east, Brand Finance reports.
"Asia is on the march, while established Euro-Atlantic nation brands stagnate. Particularly striking is the rise of China, which is narrowing the value gap with the United States at breakneck speed," the report stated.
Brand Finance evaluates a country's brand strength by looking at three broad categories: investment (things such as regulation, taxation, education and research and development); society (the degree of corruption, quality of life and other measures); and goods and services.
It then assigns a monetary value to the strength of each brand, based on the royalty rates paid on the open market for various commercial brands.
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