• Sweden's news in English

Swedish brand ranked tenth in the world

The Local · 1 Jun 2009, 15:18

Published: 01 Jun 2009 15:18 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

We all do it, every day – especially during overseas travel. We take advantage of the fact that the blue and yellow brand is strong throughout the rest of the world. As a Swede, one is frequently met with a warm reception outside of the country’s borders.

Despite the fact that Sweden is a small country with fewer than ten million inhabitants, we have a good reputation. And Sweden’s international standing remains relatively good in the midst of the financial crisis.

The Swedish brand’s continued strength is also reflected in global indexes such as Anholt’s Nation Brands Index (NBI), a yearly global assessment of countries as brands which evaluates the countries’ perceived qualities within six key areas: business life, population, government, tourism, culture, and the country’s ability to attract talent – for studies, research, and work.

In the most recent survey from 2008, Sweden came in tenth place out of fifty ranked countries. The strongest brands in the eyes of the outside world are Germany, France, and Great Britain:

1 Germany

2 France

3 Great Britain

4 Canada

5 Japan

6 Italy


8 Switzerland

9 Australia

10 Sweden

Sweden’s challenge

It is not enough that Sweden is considered good. In today's competitive world, we must have something unique to offer businesses, students and employees. Also, Sweden does not have the same high reputation in the regions where we are less known. This is revealed both in our general studies about the image of Sweden abroad and in our studies specifically conducted in the Middle East/Asia region.

For Sweden to be an attractive brand in the eyes of the world, the country must first of all be well-known, and also perceived as interesting and reassuring. It is primarily countries that are familiar with Sweden who are positive to Sweden and what it has to offer. In a global context, Sweden therefore needs to be significantly more visible. This applies especially to new markets such as India, China and the Middle East.

The fact that Sweden is unknown and weak in markets like Asia and India can have a major impact on Sweden's future ability to assert itself as an attractive and prosperous society. Many analysts predict that Asia will be an important market once the financial crisis is over and a new boom is imminent. Sweden needs to invest resources to become more visible in these markets – for example through communications in relevant languages and relevant forums, through scholarships and cultural exchanges. But we must not forget to nurture the relationships we have closer to home.

Sweden’s best chance to be attractive is if we as a nation through words, deeds and clear messages convey that we offer the very things people value, such as a friendly and welcoming people, a responsible policy with regard to issues concerning human rights and the environment, and interesting opportunities for individuals to develop – personally as well as financially.

Brief summary of the main findings of the NBI report

• Overall placement: 10th (of 50) in the most recent NBI study (1 place lower compared to 2007)

• Top-ranked category: 3rd place (of 50) for governance

• Top-ranked issues: For Sweden's international commitment to environmental issues and poverty reduction (First and second place, respectively, of 50).

• Bottom-ranked category: 14th place (of 50) for tourism

Story continues below…

• Bottom-ranked questions: Sweden's cultural heritage (18th of 50). Sweden has no pyramids, no Coliseums.

• Most positive countries: Germany and France are the countries (besides the Swedish panel) which rank Sweden the highest – followed by Russia, Italy, Poland and USA.

• Least positive countries: Egypt and India

The image of Sweden abroad, 2009

SI's assignment is to work proactively with the image of Sweden abroad. The goal is to create awareness, confidence and a demand as well as to create relations, networks and cooperation with the rest of the world. For us, global analysis – to continuously monitor how Sweden is perceived and build a good knowledge about target audiences around the world – is central.

Analysis is our tool to be able to early detect and interpret trends and changes in the world. You can read more about the image of Sweden in the Swedish Institute report Sverigebilden 09 due out in June.

Liselott Bergman, Senior Analyst at the Swedish Institute

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:46 June 1, 2009 by Pacey
I believe Sweden needs to be more proactive in capturing the markets in South Asia ansd China since more than half the population lives in this part. Moreover a lot of this region needs development which can be good news for Swedish manufactures like Scania,Volvo etc from construction equipment to cars.

SI should involve international students who are studying for their Masters or PHD from these countries to present recommendations which I believe would help in getting across to the point in question and enhancing Sweden's image!
20:15 June 4, 2009 by hagbardC
As a Canadian who just moved here, I'd say the first thing Sweden needs to do is sort out the problems with immigration.

I came here on a youth exchange program for a 1 year work visa. Because of poor communication between migrations and Skatteverket I've been denied my person number and therefore the right to work, study at SFI or even open a bank account.

Dealing with either authority has been a nightmare. I've just been bounced back and forth between the two and neither seems willing to help. It doesn't exactly leave a good impression of the country, despite the fact that most of the Swedes I've met have been very nice and friendly.

As a competent software engineer I'd be able to give money back to the country in taxes too, but currently I can't do anything.

And of course my friends in family back in Canada will hear this story as well, which doesn't exactly help the Swedish brand.
Today's headlines
Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

How to make autumnal Swedish apple cake
Photo: SwedishFood.com

This tasty cake is an autumn staple in Swedish cafés. Why not make it yourself!

Facebook slammed for cutting Swedish breast cancer video
File photo of the landing page of the Swedish version of Facebook. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant removed a breast cancer awareness video because it deemed the images "offensive," according to the Swedish Cancer Society.

Pastor rapped for depicting rival as Nazi in church play
A different pastor. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The pastor allegedly found it funny.

In Pictures: Look inside this perfect Swedish island home
This modern Gotland home was designed and built by two Swedes. Photo: United Frog Studios/AB

Anna-Lena and Johan designed and built their home with tall beautiful windows, a smart heating system, and a separate section for their greyhounds.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
People-watching: October 5th
Must-watch: Incredible time-lapse video of Northern Lights in Sweden
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
jobs available