Country brands

As my director, Jens Thraenhart, mentions in his excellent blog, FutureBrand released its Country Brand Index 2006 last November. How did Canada fare? Well, it didn’t make the top ten. But, it did get a first place for safety, and it was among the top ten in:

Resorts and lodging (3), natural beauty (8), outdoor activities/sports (9, down from 3 last year!), business (4), easiest to do business in (2), extend business trip (7), conferences (4), and shopping (8).

A bit surprising that Canada didn’t rank higher for outdoor/sports and natural beauty. As they are two of our true strengths, we clearly have some marketing to do. On the other hand, we seem to be doing well in the meetings and conventions industry.

A couple of interesting comments in the report: “ A country’s ability to be authentic, deliver authentic and communicate authentic is probably one of its biggest destination advantages today.” “ People want to experience the true essence of a different place. This is the magic of a country brand.” Comments to remember when we look for new experiences.

A caveat worth mentioning is that the index doesn’t list how many countries were considered. One’d assume close to all were taken into account. However, interesting to note is that most of the countries in the list of off the beaten path/exotic destinations (below) are no longer all that off the beaten path/exotic: Costa Rica, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Thailand have been popular destinations for quite a while. As countries, I’d rank places like Kyrghystan, Bhutan, Palau, Bolivia and Myanmar as more off the beaten path and exotic. But it’s true that the listed countries do offer some unusual/exotic excursions.

Off the Beaten Track/Exotic
1. Peru
2. Costa Rica
3. Kenya
4. New Zealand
5. Indonesia
6. Lebanon
7. South Africa
8. Thailand
9. Iceland
10. Fiji

Coincidentally, many of the countries listed here also feature in the Outside 30 Best list. They too don’t go too far off the beaten track.