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The USA Is No Longer the Country With the ‘Best Global Image’

Auf Wiedersehen, United States of America.

Germany has replaced the US as the country with the best global image, according to a new study.

Among 50 countries mentioned in a study on public opinion, Germany ranked first, the US dropped to number six, and France, the UK, Canada, and Japan filled in spots two through five.

The survey measured “the power and quality of each country’s ‘brand image,’” according to USA Today. It considered six categories: people, governance, exports, tourism, investment and immigration, and culture and heritage.

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Whether through the charm of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the country’s popular global export Oktoberfest, or some change in global alchemy, the country surged from its second-place finish last year to have the best image in the world this year.

The survey, called the National Brands Index, is released annually by the firm GfK. Researchers conducted 20,185 online interviews with adults in 20 countries to gather their data..

“Germany's image no longer rests on our economic strength,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said. “People think we're capable of much in the world.”

Meanwhile, public perception of the US slipped considerably, particularly on “governance” for which the US fell from spot 19 to 23.

Simon Anholt, the creator of the study, said the country’s fall was attributable to the “Trump effect” following the presidential election in 2016.

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“A similar fall in global perception of the USA was seen following the re-election of George W. Bush, when the USA fell to seventh place,” he said in a statement. “Previously, America has never stayed outside the top ranking for more than a year at a time: it will be interesting to see whether this holds true in the 2018 ranking.”

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For countries who didn’t score well, and if the US wants to regain the top spot, the researchers at GFK have some advice.

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“Changing global perception of a national brand is challenging and slow - but countries can influence biased or outdated perceptions by understanding the negative views and actively communicating actions and changes that address those,” said Vadim Volos, GfK’s senior vice president of public affairs and consulting.