Scotland's National Performance Framework (NPF) sets out in its purpose, values and National Outcomes, a clear, unified vision for Scotland. The purpose of the NPF is "to focus on creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing and sustainable and inclusive economic growth".
A wide range of National Indicators (81 in total) are used to assess progress towards the purpose, values and the different National Outcomes. These provide a broad measure of national wellbeing, incorporating a range of economic, social and environmental indicators. Scotland's National Outcome for International – as part of the NPF – is that 'we are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally'. One of the six indicators for this National Outcome aims to assess and monitor Scotland's reputation internationally.
The way a country is perceived can make a difference to the success of its business, trade and tourism efforts, as well as its diplomatic and cultural relations with other countries. Given a changing global context, there is a need to better understand how Scotland is seen and thought about by other countries.
Since 2008 the Scottish Government has used the Anholt-Ipsos Nations Brands IndexSM (NBISM) to measure Scotland's reputation internationally. Conducted annually since 2008, the NBISM examines the reputation of 50 countries. Each year, approximately 20,000 adults, aged 18 and over, in 20 core panel countries are interviewed online. The 20 panel countries have not changed between 2018 and 2020, but the 50 nations whose reputation is measured do change between years. See the methodology report found in the supporting files, alongside this publication for further details.
The NBISM attempts to measure and rank a country's broad reputation along six dimensions of national competence, all of which are weighted equally. Scotland's NBISM score is presented as a score out of 100, calculated as an average of the scores given for the six underlying dimensions. The six dimensions are: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism, and Investment and Immigration.
The rank and scores together provide an overall indication of a country's reputation. Looking at the scores and ranks together is useful, as individually they may deliver different messages about Scotland's reputation.
The rank is informative of a country's reputation relative to other countries, and may change in relation to other countries' performance.
The score may be regarded as a reliable indicator of a country's reputation over time.
The data allow for an understanding of how Scotland is perceived by an online sample of respondents in 20 panel countries around the world, how an online sample of 500 people from Scotland perceive Scotland itself, and how these perceptions compare with those of respondents from other countries included in the NBISM.
While being the best available measure of Scotland's reputation for the purpose of the NPF, the NBISM does not provide an evaluation of the Scottish Government's policies. NBISM data should be viewed as a snapshot of people's attitudes and perceptions of Scotland at a particular point in time, which are useful in helping us to understand more about Scotland's international reputation.
Scotland subscribed to the survey annually in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and thereafter biennially in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. Scotland did not subscribe to the 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2019 surveys, but was included in the sample of 50 evaluated countries in these years.
This report will compare the 2020 data to the most recent previously available data in 2018, as well as previous years where relevant. Any increase or decrease mentioned in this report has not been significance tested. Annex A, within the methodology report, provides details of how the Scottish Government has adopted some aspects of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics on a voluntary basis for the Nation Brands IndexSM: 2020 report for Scotland.
In line with the National Performance Framework guidelines, assessment of any change in Scotland's reputation is based on Scotland's absolute NBISM score as it compares to that of the previous year. An increase of one point or more in Scotland's absolute NBISM score suggests that the indicator is "improving", whereas a decrease of one point or more in Scotland's absolute NBISM score suggests that the indicator is "worsening".
This report will comply with these guidelines and will only consider an increase or decrease in Scotland's absolute NBISM score if it exceeds one point, otherwise it will treat the indicator as "maintaining".
In 2020, a number of questions were added to the Anholt-Ipsos NBISM survey in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These looked at how nations around the world perceive Scotland's response to healthcare crises (including COVID-19) and, with that in mind, how comfortable respondents would be visiting Scotland in the next five years. This data will not be discussed in this report and does not contribute towards Scotland's NBISM score or rank. See the International Perceptions of Scotland's Response to Covid-19 report found in the supporting files, alongside this report for more details.