The Anholt - GfK Roper Nation Brands Index(SM): 2014 Report for Scotland

This publication reports the 2014 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 Reputation Overall

Scotland's Position on the NBISM

4.1 Scotland's score of 61.8[12] and rank (17th) places it in the Top 20 nations and shows that Scotland has a high level of recognition. Scotland's overall reputation in terms of NBISM score has improved in comparison to its 2012 score (60.1) . Scotland's relative rank this year has, however, dropped two positions (from 15th in 2012). This reflects changes in the sample of countries and moderate relative changes in individual country scores. Although Scotland is ranked 17th, its score is much closer to the top of the index than it is to the bottom, and it is in the middle of the group of small, high income countries that form the 4th quartile of the Top 20 nations.

4.2 Scotland's overall reputation scores and ranks alongside, and ahead of some other comparator small, high income, liberal Western European democracies.

4.3 Figure 2 shows that Scotland has maintained its good international reputation since 2008, when it joined the NBISM, with an improvement in 2014 compared to 2012.

Figure 2: Scotland's International Reputation[13]

Figure 2: Scotland's International Reputation

4.4 While occasional dramatic shifts from year-to-year[14] in how reputations are perceived are captured by the NBISM, in general the reputations of established nation brands tend to be stable. 2014, however, has seen more score movement across the index than 2012 and previous years, particularly in the Top 20 countries, with the majority seeing a score increase compared to 2012. The relative overall rankings have also changed moderately, as a result of changes in the sample of countries and moderate relative changes in individual country scores, particularly in the second tier of rated countries (10-20) within which Scotland sits.

National Performance Framework Indicator, 'Improve Scotland's Reputation'

4.5 The NBISM is used to assess progress against the National Indicator 'Improve Scotland's Reputation'.

4.6 Scotland's absolute NBISM score has increased between 2012 and 2014 by 1.7 points indicating improvement[15] in how Scotland's image and reputation are perceived internationally. This is the first year, for which we have Scotland data, since the baseline (2008) that Scotland's NBISM score has seen an increase above the level set for the criteria for recent change. Scotland's performance on the National Performance Framework indicator 'Scotland's reputation' is therefore "improving".

Scotland's Reputation in Different Countries

4.7 Table 1 below shows that the UK panel is the most positive and favourable towards Scotland of all panel countries.[16]

4.8 Table 1 also shows that all of the panel countries rank Scotland somewhere between 10th and 26th place among the 50 rated countries, with the exception of the UK which ranks it higher (6th). Scotland's reputation remains strongest in the European Union and the Commonwealth countries, the majority of which rank Scotland in the Top 15.

4.9 There have been noticeable improvements in the perception of Scotland in France and Egypt compared with 2012, with their ranks (12 and 26, respectively) both up 5 positions in 2014, accompanied by a score increase. Scotland's reputation, both in terms of score and rank, also improved in Canada, Australia, United States, Brazil, and Russia. South Africa gives Scotland a higher rank in 2014 than 2012, but this is not accompanied by a significant score change indicating that Scotland's reputation is perceived positively in this panel country relative to other countries but is not improving significantly over time.

4.10 Sweden's perception of Scotland, relative to other ranked countries, has deteriorated noticeably: Scotland dropped from 10th position in 2012 to 15th in 2014. However, this is accompanied by a score increase, therefore suggesting that Sweden's perception of Scotland has improved, if not relative to other countries. Scotland's relative ranking in India remained in the Top 20, but with a decrease in rank (from 16th to 19th) and score. Scotland's rank in China also decreased in relative rank (from 20th to 23rd), but the score remained stable and within the top half of rated countries.

4.11 Scotland's reputation between 2012 and 2014 declined moderately in terms of rank in the UK, Germany, and Mexico, However, this was not accompanied by score decreases, and in the UK and Germany Scotland's overall NBISM score has increased between 2012 and 2014.

4.12 Scotland's reputation remains fairly stable in Japan and South Korea.

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 6 (5) 65.7 (64.5) Italy 17 (15) 61 (59.6)
Canada 10 (11) 65.6 (63.5) Japan 18 (18) 53.9 (53.9)
Australia 10 (12) 64.5 (60.5) India 19 (16) 66 (64.7)
South Africa 12 (14) 65.7 (64.8) Poland 19 (17) 61.4 (59.9)
United States 12 (13) 62.7 (61) South Korea 20 (20) 56.9 (55.4)
France 12 (17) 61.2 (59.2) Mexico 21 (20) 63.5 (62.6)
Germany 14 (13) 62.3 (61.2) Turkey 22 (20) 54.8 (54)
Sweden 15 (10) 62.6 (61.2) China 23 (20) 61.3 (61.4)
Russia 16 (19) 64.7 (61.9) Argentina 23 (21) 58.5 (57.9)
Brazil 17 (19) 62.1 (59) Egypt 26 (31) 61.8 (56.2)

Note: Table 1 reports Scotland's rank and score for 2014. The values for 2012 are provided in brackets.

4.13 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[17] and is informative about the relative rankings in a particular year. However, the score may be regarded as a more reliable indicator of a country's reputation over time. For instance, as illustrated in Table 1, in many countries where Scotland's rank has worsened, there was an increase (of one point, or larger) in the score awarded.

Familiarity with and Favourability towards Scotland

4.14 At the start of the NBISM survey, before panellists are asked about the different dimensions, they are asked to rate how well they know each nation and how favourable they are towards each nation.

Figure 3: NBISM Levels of Familiarity with Scotland 2012-2014

Figure 3: NBISM Levels of Familiarity with Scotland 2012-2014

Note: Figure 3 reports the percentage of respondents with at least some knowledge of Scotland.

4.15 Research suggests that how familiar an individual is with a place can positively affect their perceptions.[18] As Figure 3 illustrates, in 2014 the NBISM panel countries on average claim to be slightly more familiar with Scotland than the 2012 sample (average familiarity score of 65 compared to 62 in 2012). The percentage of respondents with at least some knowledge of Scotland ranges from 33 per cent (Japan) to 92 per cent (UK).

4.16 Figure 4 illustrates that levels of favourability towards Scotland remained stable in 2014 compared to 2012. Scotland is ranked 15th (score of 4.91 out of 7) among 50 countries according to favourability scores.

4.17 In 2014, 16 out of 20 panel countries were more favourable to Scotland than their national average of favourability towards all rated countries. One (South Korea) was in line, and three countries (Turkey, China and Egypt) had levels of favourability towards Scotland marginally below their national average. It should be noted that all the 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 4: NBISM Levels of Favourability towards Scotland 2012-2014

Figure 4: NBISM Levels of Favourability towards Scotland 2012-2014

How Scotland Sees Itself

4.18 The NBISM also asks the Scottish panel to rate Scotland's reputation. The Scottish panel 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.


4.19 Between 2012 and 2014, Scotland's overall reputation improved in absolute terms, with its position on the NBISM continuing to enjoy a strong and positive reputation as a small, high income liberal Western European democracy. For the purposes of the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework Scotland's performance on the indicator 'Scotland's reputation' is regarded as "improving".


Email: Sophie Ellison

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