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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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 (Figure 5) where each vertex represents one of the six dimensions.

5.2 Overall, Scotland has a strong and fairly balanced image, rated as a Top 20 country on five out of the six dimensions, which is comparable to the 2012 results. All dimensions saw an improvement[19] in absolute score in 2014 compared to 2012. Tourism (ranked 12th) saw an improvement in relative ranking (from 13th in 2012), moving from its tied position with Governance in 2012 to be perceived this year as Scotland's strongest reputational feature. Exports (ranked 22nd) remains its weakest point.

Figure 5: Scotland's Performance across Dimensions: NBISM Hexagon 2014

Figure 5: Scotland's Performance across Dimensions: NBISM Hexagon 2014

Note: Scotland's rank for each dimension for 2014 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, on the whole, rating Scotland most positively across the dimensions.

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, 2012-2014

2014 2012
Rank Score Rank Score
Exports 22 55.8 22 53.7
Contribution to innovation and science 24 4.2 24 4.0
Products and services 18 4.4 18 4.3
Country as a creative place 21 4.4 23 4.3

5.6 Scotland's overall score for the NBISM Exports dimension was higher in 2014 than 2012, while its relative ranking remained stable. Scores across the three attributes within this dimension also remained stable. However Scotland's position as a creative place moved up in relative ranking (from 23rd in 2012 to 21st in 2014). 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 does not reflect a negative, rather "don't know/neutral" response, suggesting that the respondents did not recognise Scotland for these Exports attributes when thinking about its reputation.

5.8 Scotland's Exports performance is perceived similarly to other similarly-sized Western economies.

5.9 In 16 of the panel countries, the perception of Scottish Exports improved in terms of overall score between 2012 and 2014. Scotland continues to receive higher ranks from established, high income panel countries, with UK, USA, Australia and Canada being among those most likely to recognise Scotland's reputation for exports.

5.10 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" (16 per cent), "crafts" (15 per cent) and banking (11 per cent) as words associated with Scotland's Exports, which follows the same pattern as 2012.


5.11 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, 2012-2014

2014 2012
Rank Score Rank Score
Governance 14 62.2 13 59.9
Competent and honest 15 4.7 15 4.6
Fair and respectful of citizens' rights 14 5.0 13 4.8
International peace and security 14 4.8 13 4.7
Environmental protection 14 4.7 13 4.6
Efforts to reduce global poverty 16 4.4 15 4.2

5.12 Governance continues to be perceived as one of Scotland's strongest national competencies, experiencing an improvement in its NBISM score in 2014, although it is marginally outranked this year by Tourism, taking position as Scotland's second strongest reputational feature. There has been a moderate change in rank.

5.13 Scotland has maintained its reputation as being competently and honestly governed, and four of the five NBISM attributes within this dimension are ranked within the Top 15 countries. Scotland's highest ranking attributes continue to be around its contribution to international peace and security (14th), its global efforts towards the environment (14th,) and its fair treatment of its people (14th). Its lowest ranking element relates to its contribution to reducing world poverty (16th) but it is still ranked in the top twenty nations for this attribute.

5.14 The majority of panel countries rank Scotland's reputation for Governance in the Top 15. As with most dimensions, the most favourable ranking position is awarded by the UK (5th). Australia, the US, South Africa, and Canada also place Scotland in their Top 10 for Governance. Scotland is positioned firmly amongst other Western democracies.

5.15 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 2014 were the same as 2012: "trustworthy" (21 per cent), "reliable" (21 per cent), and "reassuring" (13 per cent).


5.16 The Culture dimension measures three elements 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, 2012-2014

2014 2012
Rank Score Rank Score
Culture 19 59.1 17 57.9
Excellence at sports 28 4.1 27 4.0
Cultural heritage 11 5.0 12 4.9
Contemporary culture 16 4.5 15 4.4

5.17 Although the relative perception of Scotland's Culture has dropped two positions between 2012 and 2014, influenced by small relative score increases across the sample of evaluated countries, there has been a sizeable increase in NBISM score in 2014 compared to 2012.

5.18 Scotland is continuously recognised as rich in cultural heritage. This attribute has seen an increase in relative ranking compared with 2012. Scotland is also seen as an interesting and exciting place for contemporary culture. Scotland's reputation for both these attributes continues to be ranked in the Top 20. However, it does not perform as well on the index for sporting excellence. Ranked 28th, excellence at sports is Scotland's lowest ranking attribute. Even Scottish respondents themselves rank Scotland's sporting excellence 12th - the only attribute for which Scotland awards itself a rank outside the Top 5 (although this is an improvement on 2012 when Scotland ranked itself 14th).

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

5.20 As in previous years, Commonwealth panel countries tend to have a more positive perception of Scotland's culture, with the UK, Australia, South Africa and France ranking it in their Top 15.

5.21 As in previous years, the most commonly chosen words for Culture were: "museums" (27 per cent), "music" (21 per cent), and "sports" (17 per cent). Other word associations, such as "sculpture", "street carnival", "films" and "modern design" were also selected by more than ten per cent of the respondents.


5.22 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, 2012-2014

2014 2012
Rank Score Rank Score
People 15 65.1 14 63.9
Make one feel welcome 9 4.9 11 4.8
Friendly 13 4.9 11 4.8
Valuable employees 18 4.9 17 4.9

5.23 Scotland continues to be highly regarded for its people, with Scotland's reputation in this respect continuing to feature in the Top 15 rated countries and all attributes across this dimension featuring in the Top 20. This dimension sees a score increase from 2012, albeit, accompanied by a moderate decrease in rank, however the overall picture remains stable with this dimension continuing to be Scotland's third strongest reputational feature.

5.24 Scores have remained stable across the attributes, although with some decreases in rankings compared with 2012. The perceived extent to which Scotland makes people feel welcome has improved, however, relative to other countries: Scotland is now positioned 9th (up from 11th in 2012).

5.25 Scotland's people are perceived similarly to other small, high income, liberal Western European democracies on the index.

5.26 As in 2012, English-speaking countries (namely, Australia, Canada, the UK and the US) together with Sweden, France and South Africa, hold the highest regard of the Scottish people, all ranking Scotland in their respective Top 10.

5.27 Whilst the employability of the Scottish people (ranked 18th in 2014, down from 17th in 2012) is perceived less positively 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 27 per cent of the respondents), "honest" (22 per cent), and "skilful" (21 per cent), although descriptions such as "fun" and "tolerant" are also commonly selected (by 18 and 16 per cent of the respondents, respectively).


5.28 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, 2012-2014

2014 2012
Rank Score Rank Score
Tourism 12 68.6 13 67.4
Would one visit if money were no object 13 5.3 14 5.2
Natural beauty 7 5.4 7 5.3
Historic buildings and monuments 12 5.0 12 5.0
Vibrant cities and urban attractions 22 4.8 22 4.7

5.29 Tourism remains as one of the key perceived strengths of Scotland's reputation, outranking all other five dimensions in 2014. Scotland has seen an increase in both overall score and relative rank (from 13th to 12th) for this dimension compared to 2012.

5.30 Compared to 2012, there are no noticeable changes in the scores on the four attributes within this dimension. Natural beauty continues 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 (13th and 12th, respectively), with willingness to visit ranking more highly than in 2012 (14th). The appeal of Scottish cities remains relatively weaker but stable compared to 2012.

5.31 Scotland's reputation for Tourism continues to outperform other small, high income, liberal Western European democracies on the index.

5.32 Eight of the panel countries rank Scotland in their Top 10 for Tourism in 2014. The most favourable ranking position is awarded by the UK (3rd). Scotland's reputation for Tourism in France has seen a notable increase in rank this year, moving from 11th in 2012 to 7th in 2014. Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, South Africa, and Sweden also place Scotland in their Top 10 for Tourism.

5.33 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).[20] This is unchanged from 2012.

Immigration and Investment

5.34 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, 2012-2014

2014 2012
Rank Score Rank Score
Immigration/Investment 17 59.9 15 57.9
Willingness to live and work 13 4.5 13 4.3
Quality of life 17 4.9 16 4.8
Educational qualifications 15 4.6 15 4.5
Business to invest in 19 4.2 19 4.1
Equal opportunity 15 4.7 14 4.6

5.35 Scotland's score for the Immigration/Investment dimension has seen a real improvement of 2 points from 2012, although the relative ranking has dropped from 15th to 17th in 2014 due to changes in the sample of countries included in the 2014 Index and a marginal relative score increase in another country in the Top 20.

5.36 Across the five dimensions, the picture remains fairly stable with no noticeable score increases in 2014, three dimensions retaining their 2012 rank and all five dimensions ranking in the Top 20. Two attributes see a moderate decrease in relative rank due to changes in the countries included in the 2014 index. Respondents' willingness to work and live in Scotland (13th in both years) remains the strongest attribute within this dimension, and Scotland's reputation as an attractive place to do business remains the weakest.

5.37 Consistent with 2012, the majority of the EU (France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK) and Commonwealth (Australia, Canada, 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 which puts Scotland in 21st position for Immigration and Investment opportunities, although this is a significant improvement on 2012 (when Egypt ranked Scotland 26th).

5.38 Scotland's reputation for immigration and investment is perceived similarly to other small, high income, liberal Western European democracies on the index.

5.39 Again, similar to 2012 results, the most commonly selected words to describe Scotland's economic and business environment were "modern" (selected by 21 per cent of respondents), "forward-thinking" (14 per cent) "developing" (12 per cent), and "ambitious" (10 per cent).


5.40 As outlined in Chapter 3, across the six NBISM dimensions, respondents were asked 23 questions. Using the concept of the NBISM hexagon, these attributes are visually summarised in Figure 6, where the centre of the circle represents the position of rank 50, and the outer circle represents the first (and most reputable) position.

Figure 6: Scotland's Reputation across 23 Attributes (rank), 2012

Figure 6: Scotland's Reputation across 23 Attributes (rank), 2012

Note: Scotland's rank for each attribute for 2014 is reported in the brackets.

5.41 Figure 6 shows that when all six NBISM dimensions of Scotland's reputation are considered, Tourism, Governance, and People continue to be the dimensions most recognised by the panellists from around the world.

5.42 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, Commonwealth nations, and the UK in particular, are the most favourable and familiar with Scotland's reputation.


Email: Sophie Ellison

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