The Anholt - GFK Roper Nation Brands Index(SM): 2012 Report for Scotland

This publication reports the 2012 findings of the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (NBI) on Scotland's international reputation in terms of exports, governance, culture, people, tourism and investment and immigration.

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4 Scotland's Overall Score

Scotland's Position on the NBISM

4.1 Scotland's score of 60.1[12] and rank (15th) places it in the Top 15 nations and shows that Scotland has a high level of recognition. Scotland's overall reputation is stable in comparison to its 2010 performance in terms of its score and rank (15th in both 2010 and 2012). Although Scotland is ranked 15th, its score is much closer to the top of the index than it is to the bottom, and it is in the group of smaller, high income countries that sit just outside the Top 10 nations.

4.2 Scotland's reputation is scored and ranked alongside and often ahead of other small, high income Western democracies, such as Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and New Zealand. This shows that people can accurately identify Scotland as a nation, despite it not currently having the same constitutional status as these other nation states.[13]

4.3 Figure 1 shows that Scotland has been maintaining its good international reputation since 2008, when it joined the NBISM.

Figure 1: Scotland's International Reputation[14]

Figure 1: Scotland's International Reputation

4.4 Table 1 shows that the UK panel is the most positive and favourable towards Scotland of all panel countries.[15]

Table 1: Scotland's NBISM Rankings by 20 Panel Countries

Panel Countries Scotland's Rank Scotland's Score Panel Countries Scotland's Rank Scotland's Score
United Kingdom 5
Poland 17
Sweden 10
Japan 18
Canada 11
Brazil 19
Australia 12
Russia 19
United States 13
China 20
Germany 13
Mexico 20
South Africa 14
South Korea 20
Italy 15
Turkey 20
India 16
Argentina 21
France 17
Egypt 31

Note: Table 1 reports Scotland's rank and score for 2012. The values for 2010 are provided in brackets.

4.5 Table 1 shows that nearly all of the panel countries rank Scotland somewhere between 10th and 25th place among the 50 countries, with the notable exceptions of the UK (5th) and Egypt (31st)[16]. Scotland's reputation remains strongest in the European Union and the Commonwealth countries, the majority of which rank Scotland in the Top 15. Outside this group of countries, Scotland's reputation begins to weaken with geographical distance.

4.6 India has significantly improved its perception of Scotland since 2010, and now ranks it 16th, up from 21st position in 2010, accompanied with an increase in the score. Scotland's reputation, both in terms of score and rank, also improved in Turkey. China, the remaining Asian panel countries, as well as Latin American nations, give Scotland a higher score in 2012 than they did in 2010, even though this positive change in perceptions is not reflected in the relative rankings, indicating that Scotland's reputation in these panel countries is improving over time, but not relative to other countries.

4.7 On the other hand, the US' perception of Scotland has deteriorated significantly: Scotland dropped from 8th position in 2010 to 13th in 2012. This was accompanied by a large and significant reduction in score, which, however, was in line with the average decline of the score given by the US to other nations (the US respondents in 2012 were generally more critical than in 2010) [17]. Scotland's reputation in the US worsened consistently across the six dimensions with the exception of People. In terms of score, the US' perception of Scotland worsened more than the average decline of the US' perceptions for the dimensions of Exports and Culture; less than the average decline for Scotland's Governance; and in line with the average decline across the Tourism and Immigration/Investment dimensions.

4.8 Scotland's reputation between 2010 and 2012 declined in terms of score in Australia, South Africa, and Sweden. However, this was not reflected in the relative rankings.

4.9 Scotland's reputation has not changed in the EU panel countries (Germany, Italy, France, and Poland, with the exception of Sweden) since 2010 in terms of score. However, it has improved in terms of relative rankings in three out of five EU panel countries, indicating that Scotland's reputation has improved relative to other evaluated countries.

4.10 Looking at the scores and ranks together is important because they may deliver different messages about Scotland's reputation. The rank is responsive to changes in the sample of evaluated nations[18] and is informative about the relative rankings in a particular year. However, the score may be regarded as a more reliable indicator of country's reputation over time. For instance, as illustrated in Table 1, in all countries where Scotland's rank has worsened, there was a significant (one point, or larger) increase in the score awarded - with the exception of the US.

4.11 In 2012, the NBISM also provides an insight of how the nation's reputation differs across demographic cohorts within the panel countries. Youth (those aged 18-29) are generally more critical towards developed countries than an average respondent, and less critical of developing countries that are ranked at the bottom half of the NBISM rank table. Mirroring that pattern, this group - compared to an average respondent - is also slightly more critical of Scotland, particularly when it comes to its Governance and Tourism.

4.12 On the other hand, executives and professionals are more appreciative of Scotland than the average global citizen on all fronts. Lastly, international travellers (people who have visited at least one foreign country) and social media users (respondents who have visited a website or social media site of any foreign country) are the most positive toward Scotland, giving Scotland a much higher score across all attributes of the survey compared to the total sample.

Familiarity with and Favourability towards Scotland

4.13 Before looking at each of the dimensions and their attributes in turn, there are two perspectives to take into account about Scotland's overall reputation as perceived through the NBISM: familiarity and favourability. At the beginning of the NBISM survey, before panellists get asked about the different dimensions, they are asked to rate how well they know each nation and how favourable they are towards each nation they are being asked about.

4.14 While it should be kept in mind that each of these questions are basic and rely on panellists' own understanding of what it means to "know"[19] and "feel favourable" towards a nation (on a scale 1-7), both questions offer another interesting insight into how people instinctively perceive a nation's reputation.

Figure 2: NBISM Levels of Familiarity with Scotland 2010-2012

Figure 2: NBISM Levels of Familiarity with Scotland 2010-2012

Note: Figure 2 reports the percentage of respondents with at least some knowledge of Scotland.

4.15 Familiarity is of key importance. Other research indicates that how familiar an individual is with a place can positively affect their perceptions.[20] As Figure 2 illustrates, in 2012 the NBISM panels on average claim to be slightly less familiar with Scotland than the 2010 sample (average score of 62 compared to 65 in 2010). The percentage of respondents with at least some knowledge of Scotland ranges from 33 per cent in Japan, to 93 per cent in the UK.

4.16 Because the NBISM does not sample the same individuals year on year, it is not possible to claim that particular panel nations have become less familiar with Scotland. [21]

4.17 Figure 3 illustrates that levels of favourability towards Scotland remained stable between 2010 and 2012. Scotland is ranked 14th (score of 4.82 out of 7) among 50 countries according to favourability scores.

4.18 In 2012, 17 out of 20 panel countries were more favourable to Scotland than their national average of favourability over all rated countries, one (Turkey) was in line, and two countries (Egypt and South Korea) had levels of favourability towards Scotland below their national average. It should be noted that the vast majority of scores are positive (over 4.0, which is the neutral score in the range from 1 to 7), and no panel nations were unfavourable towards Scotland (giving a score below 4.0).

Figure 3: NBISM Levels of Favourability towards Scotland 2010-2012

Figure 3: NBISM Levels of Favourability towards Scotland 2010-2012

How Scotland sees itself

4.19 The NBISM also asks the Scottish panel to rate Scotland's reputation. Scotland's sample scores and ranks Scotland's reputation as number one. It should be noted that all but one of the panel countries that are ranked in the Top 20 on the NBISM rate their own nation as number one. Similarly to many nation panels, the Scottish panel rank highest the aspects of Scotland's reputation related to Tourism, Governance, People, and Immigration and Investment.


4.20 Between 2010 and 2012, Scotland's overall reputation remained stable, with its position on the NBISM continuing to communicate a strong and positive reputation as a smaller, high income liberal democracy. For the purposes of the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework Scotland's performance on the indicator 'Scotland's reputation' is regarded as "maintaining".


Email: Wendy Van Rijswijk

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