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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5 Scotland's six dimensions of reputation

5.1 A country's performance across the dimensions of the NBISM survey can be visualised using the Nation Brands HexagonSM, where each vertex represents one of the six dimensions. This is illustrated in Figure 4. The range in rankings (from 13th for Tourism and Governance to 22nd for Exports) indicates that the idea of Scotland as a nation is strong enough for respondents to distinguish across the different dimensions of national competence.

5.2 Overall, Scotland has a strong and fairly balanced image, rated as a Top 20 country on five out of six dimensions, which is comparable to the 2010 results. All dimensions, except Tourism, saw an improvement in ranking. However, the scores have remained comparatively stable, with only the dimension of People and certain attributes within the Governance dimension considered to be improving.[22] Tourism and Governance are seen as Scotland's strongest points (both ranked 13th); whilst Exports (ranked 22nd) remain to be perceived as its weakest point.

Figure 4: Scotland's Performance across Dimensions: NBISM Hexagon 2012

Figure 4: Scotland's Performance across Dimensions: NBISM Hexagon 2012

Note: Scotland's rank for each dimension for 2012 is reported in the brackets.

5.3 Commonwealth and EU countries tend to rank Scotland more favourably than the rest of the panel, with the UK rating Scotland most positively across all dimensions. Latin American and Asian countries tend to be less able to distinguish across different aspects of Scotland's reputation.

5.4 Scotland received no negative scores across the 23 attributes within the six dimensions: each received a score of 4 (neutral) or higher.


5.5 The Exports dimension aims to give a sense of economic strength and potential by asking three questions on a nation's contribution to science and technology; products and services; and being a creative place.

Table 2: Scotland's reputation for Exports, 2010-2012

2012 2010
Rank Score Rank Score
Exports 22 53.7 23 53.5
Contribution to innovation and science 24 4.0 24 4.0
Products and services 18 4.3 18 4.3
Country as a creative place 23 4.3 23 4.2

5.6 Although Scotland's position moved up in the relative ranking within NBISM Exports dimension (from 23rd in 2010 to 22nd in 2012), there was no significant change in its score overall or for the three attributes within this dimension. Exports remain Scotland's lowest ranking dimension on the NBISM.

5.7 Whilst ranked relatively highly for its products and services, indicating that consumers abroad value the quality of Scottish produce, Scotland's contribution to innovation in science and technology, and its creativity are consistently ranked outside the Top 20. However, the score given was not negative, but rather fell into the "don't know/neutral" category, suggesting that the respondents did not recognise Scotland for these Exports attributes when thinking about its reputation.

5.8 Compared to the four other similarly-sized Western economies (Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and New Zealand), Scotland's Exports performance is perceived similarly. However, three of the comparator nations rank higher than Scotland.

5.9 The Scottish Government's annual Global Connections Survey[23] is the only export survey covering all sectors of the Scottish economy. It provides estimates of the cash value of exports by destination. The latest available data (2010) indicates that the top five international[24] Scottish exports markets were the US, the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Belgium.

5.10 The value of Scottish exports to the US in 2010 were estimated at £3.5 billion, which amounted to about 16 per cent of the total international Scottish exports.[25] According to the NBISM 2012 data, the US' perception of Scottish exports weakened significantly (reduction in score of about 4.8 points and a drop in rank by five positions from 14th in 2010, to 19th in 2012).

5.11 In France and Germany, as well as in other EU panel countries (Italy, Sweden, and Poland) the perception of Scottish exports remained unchanged in terms of score. Between 2010 and 2012, the reputation of Scottish exports improved in terms of relative rankings: it moved two positions up in France (from 19th to 17th) and Germany (from 20th to 18th); one position up in Italy and Poland (20th to 19th); but one position down in Sweden (16th to 17th).

5.12 The rest of the UK represents the largest market for Scottish exports. In the 2012 NBISM survey - which, as outlined in Chapter 3, entails a broader definition of Exports than just goods and services - the UK respondents ranked Scotland's Exports 10th. This represents a decline from 2010, when the UK ranked Scotland 9th. This was also reflected in the score, which declined from 58.2 in 2010, to 56.6 in 2012.

5.13 The NBISM survey also includes a word association question for each of the dimensions. For Exports, the panellists most commonly selected "agriculture" (23 per cent), "food" and "crafts" (15 per cent each), and "banking" (11 per cent) as words associated with Scotland's Exports, which follows the same pattern as in 2010. For comparison, according to Global Connections Survey data, Scottish international agricultural, forestry and fishery exports amounted to £240 million in 2010 (0.01 per cent of the value of total international exports), whilst manufacture of food products and beverages, dominated by the whiskey industry, were estimated at around £4 billion (18 per cent). It is therefore clear that the NBISM provides a summary of perceptions held by a small sample of respondents rather than an evaluation of actual Scottish performance abroad.


5.14 The Governance dimension aims to give a sense of perceptions of how a nation is governed domestically - whether the government is competent, honest, and fair to its citizens - and on the international stage via its contribution to global policy issues, such as poverty, environmental protection, and international peace.

Table 3: Scotland's reputation for Governance, 2010-2012

2012 2010
Rank Score Rank Score
Governance 13 59.9 14 59.2
Competent and honest 15 4.6 15 4.6
Fair and respectful of citizens' rights 13 4.8 14 4.8
International peace and security 13 4.7 15 4.6
Environmental protection 13 4.6 13 4.5
Efforts to reduce global poverty 15 4.2 17 4.2

5.15 Governance is perceived as one of the Scotland's strongest national competencies. Scotland's reputation for Governance has seen a further improvement from 14th in 2010 to 13th position in 2012, albeit with only marginal improvement in the overall score for the dimension.

5.16 The most notable improvement in the perception of Scotland's governance was on the international stage. Scotland's reputation has improved for its endeavour to reduce global poverty, followed by its efforts in protecting the environment, and responsibility in the areas of global peace and security. Scotland has maintained its reputation as competently and honestly governed, and respectful and fair to its citizens. All five Scottish NBISM attributes of Governance are ranked within the respective Top 15.

5.17 Across the dimensions, Scotland's Governance has the most widely acknowledged and consistently positive reputation, with a majority of panel countries ranking it in the Top 15. The most favourable ranking position is awarded by the UK. Furthermore, five nations place Scotland in their Top 10 for Governance - the UK, Australia, the US, Sweden, and Canada. Scotland is positioned firmly amongst other Western democracies, and above the US and two other NBISM leaders. However, three of its smaller nation comparators - Finland, Denmark, and New Zealand - rank above Scotland, in both 2010 and 2012.

5.18 On the word association question for Governance panellists could select a single answer from a list of eight words. The most commonly selected terms in 2012 were: "trustworthy" (21 per cent), "reliable" (20 per cent), and "reassuring" (11 per cent). This is unchanged compared to 2010.


5.19 The Culture dimension tests three ideas of a nation's cultural reputation: its cultural history and heritage; its contemporary culture; and its sporting excellence.

Table 4: Scotland's reputation for Culture, 2010-2012

2012 2010
Rank Score Rank Score
Culture 17 57.9 18 57.4
Excellence at sports 27 4.0 26 4.0
Cultural heritage 12 4.9 11 4.9
Contemporary culture 15 4.4 16 4.4

5.20 The relative perception of Scotland's Culture has improved by one position between 2010 and 2012, and is now ranked 17th. However, there was no sizeable improvement in score, and the improvement of the ranking is largely due to the small relative changes in scores across the sample of evaluated countries - as was the case for Exports.

5.21 Scotland is continuously recognised as rich in cultural heritage and as an interesting and exciting place for contemporary culture, such as music, films, art and literature. However, it does not perform as well as other nations on the index for sporting excellence. Ranked 27th (one position lower than in 2010), excellence at sports is Scotland's lowest ranking attribute. Even Scottish respondents themselves rank Scotland's sporting excellence 14th - the only attribute for which Scotland awards itself a rank outside the Top 5.[26]

5.22 Nonetheless, alongside its smaller nation comparators, Scotland continues to perform very well in the Culture dimension and is the only one from this set of countries to feature in the Culture's Top 20.

5.23 As in previous years, the majority of the Commonwealth panel countries (the UK, Canada, Australia, and South Africa) tend to have a stronger appreciation for Scotland's culture, ranking it in their Top 15. In 2012, they are joined by Italy and France. The negative change in the US' perception of Scotland's culture (reflected across all three attributes) was the second largest (after Scottish Exports) contributor to the overall decline in Scotland's reputation in the US.

5.24 As in previous years, the most commonly chosen words for Culture were: "museums" (27 per cent), "music" (22 per cent), and "sports" (18 per cent). Other word associations, such as "sculpture", "street carnival", and "films" were also selected by more than ten per cent of the respondents.


5.25 The People dimension explores panellists' perceptions of how welcoming, friendly, and employable the people from the evaluated nations are.

Table 5: Scotland's reputation for People, 2010-2012

2012 2010
Rank Score Rank Score
People 14 63.9 15 62.9
Make one feel welcome 11 4.8 11 4.7
Friendly 11 4.8 15 4.8
Valuable employees 17 4.9 17 4.8

5.26 Scotland continues to be highly regarded for its people, and has even further improved its profile on this dimension: since 2010, there was a significant increase in the score awarded, and an associated improvement in rankings (15th in 2010, Scotland is ranked 14th in 2012).

5.27 The largest improvement within this dimension in terms of score was in the perception of the extent to which Scotland makes people feel welcome. The perceived friendliness of Scotland's people improved relative to other countries: Scotland is now positioned 11th (up from 15th in 2010), the same rank as for the Scottish welcome.

5.28 Compared to similarly sized Western economies, Scotland's people are comparatively well-perceived, with only New Zealand enjoying a marginally better reputation.

5.29 As in 2010, countries with English as their mother tongue (namely, Australia, Canada, the UK and the US) together with the Swedes maintain the highest regard of the Scottish people, all ranking Scotland in their respective Top 10. In 2012, respondents from France and South Africa also rank Scotland in their Top 10.

5.30 Whilst the employability of the Scottish people (ranked 17th in both 2010 and 2012) is slightly less appreciated than their relative welcome and friendliness, the word association question reveals that Scottish people are known for their positive working attitude. Scottish people are most often described as "hard-working" (chosen by 26 per cent of the respondents), "honest" (23 per cent), and "skilful" (20 per cent), although descriptions such as "fun" and "tolerant" are also commonly selected (by 18 and 13 per cent of the respondents, respectively).


5.31 The Tourism dimension aims to evaluate panellists' perception of a country's attractiveness as a tourist destination. The survey asks the respondents about: their willingness to visit the country should money be no object; their opinion about its richness in natural beauty as well as its historic buildings and monuments; and whether they perceive its cities to be vibrant.

Table 6: Scotland's Reputation for Tourism, 2010-2012

2012 2010
Rank Score Rank Score
Tourism 13 67.4 12 67.4
Would one visit if money were no object 14 5.2 14 5.2
Natural beauty 7 5.3 7 5.3
Historic buildings and monuments 12 5.0 11 4.9
Vibrant cities and urban attractions 22 4.7 21 4.7

5.32 Tourism remains as one of the key perceived strengths of Scotland's reputation. Whilst the score received for this dimension remains unchanged, Scotland has lost one place in relative rankings (from 12th in 2010 to 13th in 2012) due to Greece joining the sample of evaluated countries in 2012 and being ranked in the Tourism's Top 10.

5.33 Compared to 2010, there were no significant changes in the scores on the four attributes within this dimension. Natural beauty remains to be perceived as Scotland's strongest characteristic: Scotland continues to be ranked 7th. Respondents' willingness to visit, as well as their perception of Scotland's historic heritage remain highly ranked (14th and 12th, respectively), whilst the appeal of Scottish cities remains relatively weaker: ranked 21st in 2010, it is now positioned 22nd, however with no change in the score.

5.34 Scotland continues to outperform its comparator nations (Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and New Zealand), ranked above all four, both in 2010 and 2012.

5.35 According to VisitScotland's latest available data[27], the long-time major tourism markets for Scotland are the US, Germany, Ireland, and France. The perceptions in these countries are in line with those of the overall panel. The US, France, and Germany[28] see Scotland as an attractive tourist destination, and none of them rank Scotland below 12th, either in 2010 or 2012.[29]

5.36 From the selection of ten words available to panellists, the most frequently chosen to describe Scottish Tourism's reputation were "fascinating" (29 per cent), "exciting" (25 per cent), "educational" (22 per cent), "relaxing" (22 per cent) and "romantic" (18 per cent).[30]

Immigration and Investment

5.37 The Immigration and Investment dimension aims to summarise whether the respondents perceive a nation to be good to live, work, study, and invest in.

Table 7: Scotland's Reputation for Immigration and Investment, 2010-2012

2012 2010
Rank Score Rank Score
Immigration/Investment 15 57.9 16 57.7
Willingness to live and work 13 4.3 13 4.3
Quality of life 16 4.8 18 4.8
Educational qualifications 15 4.5 15 4.5
Business to invest in 19 4.1 21 4.1
Equal opportunity 14 4.6 15 4.5

5.38 Whilst there was no significant change in Scotland's score for the Immigration/Investment dimension, the relative ranking has improved, from 16th in 2010 to 15th in 2012.

5.39 This picture is consistent across the five attributes of this dimension: Scotland's reputation for quality of life and equality has improved relative to other countries without an associated significant increase in the score awarded. Scotland's educational qualifications maintained their good international reputation, ranked 15th both in 2010 and 2012. Respondents expressed a maintained willingness to work and live in Scotland (13th in both years). Scotland's rank has also improved for its reputation as an attractive place to invest in business - it is now ranked 19th (21st in 2010), which brings all of Scotland's attributes within the Immigration/Investment dimension to be ranked in the Top 20.

5.40 A nation's ability to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) is important under current economic conditions because of its potential to deliver growth and generate employment (foreign investors employ over 600,000 staff in Scotland).[31] According to Ernst & Young's 2012 UK Attractiveness Survey, whilst Scotland saw a faster decline in its FDI projects than the UK as a whole, Scotland outperformed every other part of the UK in generating employment from FDI.

5.41 The US remained the biggest single source of FDI projects into Scotland in 2011[32]. According to NBISM 2012 data, the US' perception of Investment/Immigration dimension declined in line with the US' average (awarded across the 50 evaluated countries) score decline for this dimension (about 3 points). The perceived attractiveness of investment in business opportunities[33] in Scotland across the US sample decreased by a similar amount, accompanied by a drop by four positions (from 10th in 2010 to 14th in 2012) in the relative rankings. It is, however, worth noting that the respondents of the NBISM survey do not necessarily represent a sample of potential investors.

5.42 The majority of the EU (France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK) and Commonwealth (Australia, Canada, India, and South Africa) panel countries, as well as the US, rank Scotland in their respective Top 15 for Immigration and Investment. The remaining panel countries rank Scotland in the Top 20, with the exception of Egypt that puts Scotland in 26th position for Immigration and Investment opportunities.

5.43 Compared to similarly sized Western economies, Scotland performs well. It is positioned above Finland and Ireland, but below Denmark and New Zealand. This situation is unchanged since 2010.

5.44 Again in line with 2010 results, the most commonly selected words to describe Scotland's economic and business environment were "modern" (selected by 19 per cent of respondents), "developing" (13 per cent), "forward-thinking" (12 per cent), and "ambitious" (10 per cent).


5.45 As outlined in Chapter 3, across the six dimensions, respondents were asked 23 questions. Following the concept of NBISM hexagon, these attributes can be similarly visualised as in Figure 5, where the centre of the circle represents position of rank 50, and the outer circle represents the first (and most reputable) position.

Figure 5: Scotland's Reputation across 23 Attributes (rank), 2012

Figure 5: Scotland's Reputation across 23 Attributes (rank), 2012

Note: Scotland's rank for each attribute for 2012 is reported in the brackets.

5.46 When all six NBISM dimensions of Scotland's reputation are considered, it appears that Governance, Tourism, and People continue to be the dimensions most recognised by the panellists from around the world. In 2012, the Immigration and Investment dimension is also ranked in its respective Top 15.

5.47 For the most part, panellists from across the world are able to distinguish between the different aspects of Scottish reputation, reflected in differing rankings across the dimensions. Panellists from certain nations appear more familiar with Scotland and are therefore better able to judge its strengths. In Scotland's case, English-speaking countries, European neighbours, and Commonwealth nations are the most favourable and familiar with Scotland's reputation.

5.48 However, the NBISM only tells part of the story. It is important to recognise the variance within each dimension. For instance, the Culture dimension contains one of Scotland's highest (cultural heritage) and lowest (sporting excellence) performance scores on the index. Also, as discussed within the Exports dimension, there are inconsistencies between the NBISM data - which provides a summary of perceptions held by a small sample of respondents - and Scotland's actual performance.


Email: Wendy Van Rijswijk

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