The Strategist

Brand Finance: Germany becomes world's "soft power" leader

02/25/2021 - 02:50

The consulting firm Brand Finance has released a new version of its soft power ranking of the world's countries. The first place was taken by Germany, which in a year marked by the pandemic has demonstrated stability and ability to control the situation.

The year 2020 was a year of turmoil and unprecedented restrictive measures around the world, facing a new threat. And how governments handled the COVID-19 pandemic was perhaps the most important measure of their power and strength, estimate of which gave Germany the status of the most powerful country in the world by Brand Finance in 2020. 

Brand Finance polled 55,000 people in more than a hundred countries to find out how they assessed impact of countries on others. The poll included both ordinary citizens and professionals - business leaders, market analysts, politicians, academics, journalists as well as representatives of research centres and NGOs.

"Soft power" is defined by the authors of the index as "a nation's ability to influence the preferences and behaviour of various individuals in the international arena (states, corporations, society, etc.) through attraction and persuasion rather than through the use of force". The index itself assesses a nation's prominence and recognition, influence, reputation as well as seven key elements of power - business and trade, order, international relations, culture and heritage, media and communications, education and science and finally people and values. In addition, another indicator was added this year - how the country coped with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year Germany was ranked second in Brand Finance's index, behind the USA by more than five points. Germany's overall score has barely changed this year, increasing by just 0.3 points to 62.2. But this was enough not only to overtake the US this year, but also to pull away from Japan, which was only 0.1 points ahead of Germany in the previous ranking. There is now 1.6 points between them.

In addition to the aforementioned Germany and Japan, the UK (57.9 points), Canada (57.2) and Switzerland (56.3) are also in the top 5 of the index in this year. The most impressive increase in soft power scores in 2020 was posted by New Zealand, up 5.9 points to 49.5. With this score, it is now 16th in the rankings, having risen by six positions at once. Again, the deciding factor in respondents' assessments was the country's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. And New Zealand, according to experts and ordinary citizens, is doing better than anyone else in the world.