Australia leapfrogs the US in Y&R's global 2018 Best Countries report at #7; Switzerland ranks #1

kangaroo_600_600.jpgSwitzerland has held its position as the No. 1 country in the world, according to the 2018 Best Countries report, a rankings and analysis project by U.S. News & World Report, Y&R's BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Australia moves up one place from No. 8 in the overall rankings to No. 7. Topping the rankings for "economically stable" and No. 2 for "family friendly", but Australia only just makes the top 10 for "gender equality" and slides lower to No. 16 for "most powerful" countries.

Key information for Australia:
Ranked #5 Best Country - Quality of Life
Ranked #8 Best Country - Citizenship
Ranked #9 Best Country - Cultural Influence
Ranked #11 Best Country - Adventure
Ranked #13 Best Country - Entrepreneurship
Ranked #14 Best Country - Open For Business
Ranked #16 Best Country - Power
Ranked #22 Best Country - Movers
Ranked #28 Best Country - Heritage
In its third year, the rankings evaluate 80 countries across a range of criteria, from economic influence and power to citizenship and quality of life, to capture how nations are perceived on a global scale.
Says Phil McDonald, CEO, Y&R Australia and NZ: "Australia moving above the USA to No. 7 country on the rankings is an admirable result. The result is driven by positive perceptions around attributes like stability, friendliness and trustworthiness. They are all incredibly powerful attributes, but we need to broaden our appeal on the world stage. An increased focus on improving our perceptions around dynamism, business and technology will help us continue our march up the list. We barely make the top 20 for technologically advanced countries and rank 60th for affordability and 30th for a favourable tax system for business. Like all brands we need to broaden our appeal and be confident in what we can deliver. We punch above our weight, but these results show we can go so much further as a nation."

Key Findings in the 2018 Best Countries Report:
•    Switzerland is No. 1, followed by No. 2 Canada, as countries with more progressive social and environmental policies dominate the overall rankings. Nordic nations - Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway - rank in the top 15 overall. Denmark is the No. 1 country for raising children and for women. Sweden takes the top spot for green living, and Norway ranks at the top for citizenship.

•    Germany moved up one spot to No. 3, replacing the U.K., which fell to No. 4. Germany's reputation as an open nation with government transparency and strong gender equality led to its rise in the rankings. The U.K.'s drop, however, signals a growing lack of confidence in its economic strength post-Brexit.

•    Japan remains at No. 5, scoring high marks in entrepreneurship, up-and-coming economies and rich traditions. Singapore and China, at No. 16 and No. 20 respectively, follow among the highest ranked countries in Asia. Both nations are viewed as having a strong potential for economic growth.

•    The U.S. falls one spot to No. 8, after No. 6 Sweden and No. 7 Australia. It drops in two important categories: open for business, which looks at market-oriented countries, and movers, which evaluates nations with up-and-coming economies. Perceptions of the U.S. as politically stable, democratic and having an open travel policy have decreased. However, the nation remains No. 1 in power for the third year, closely followed by Russia at No. 2.

•    Luxembourg is the most business-friendly nation, Germany is No. 1 in entrepreneurship and Switzerland is the best to headquarter a corporation. The U.K. leads in education, Canada is No. 1 for quality of life and New Zealand is the favorite for retirement. Brazil is the No. 1 country to visit, and Italy ranks highest as the nation with the richest traditions.

Says David Sable, global CEO, Y&R: "For the countries that rose to the top of this year's rankings, it is once again clear that military vigor and economic power are no longer the key determinants to a country's brand success. The Best Countries rankings continue to show us that just as brands must focus on a wide range of attributes to raise profiles and win over audiences, nations that are multidimensional and that reflect a wider range of qualities, such as innovation and compassion have the brand appeal that propels them on the global stage."

The 2018 Best Countries ranking methodology relies on data gathered from a proprietary survey of more than 21,000 business leaders, informed elites and general citizens.

Says David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the Wharton School: "The Best Countries report speaks to the effect a nation's brand can have on its economic prosperity and perceived standing in the world."

2018 Best Countries Rankings: Overall
1. Switzerland
2. Canada
3. Germany
4. United Kingdom
5. Japan
6. Sweden
7. Australia
8. United States
9. France
10. Netherlands

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