Corporate Eye

Obama and the Revitalization of Brand USA

obama_hope_posterIn the fifth annual Country Brand Index report released by FutureBrand, where countries are ranked similarly to how retail brands are ranked, the United States took the top spot for the first time.  The index is determined using survey results from approximately 3,000 business and leisure travelers from nine countries.

According to the results of the study, the United States took the top spot in the following areas:

  • The place most people want to visit whether for the first time or again.
  • The place most people want to do business with.
  • The ideal place for shopping.
  • The ideal place to find quality products.

According to the study, the boost in sentiment toward Brand USA can be attributed largely to President Barack Obama thanks to his inclusive brand strategy, global messages and global popularity.  According to FutureBrand, it’s the ‘Obama Effect’.

The top 10 countries in the 2009 Country Brand Index are:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. France
  6. Italy
  7. Japan
  8. Britain
  9. Germany
  10. Spain

Another interesting piece of information found in the report tells us that the United Arab Emirates, China, Vietnam, Croatia, South Africa, and India are poised to become major tourist destinations in the next five years.

It’s interesting to look at countries as brands, similar to retail brands.  Not only do the brand images of countries affect industries like travel, but they also affect politics and business. In fact, it could be argued that when it comes to branding, politics and business are extremely similar.

What do you think?

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

The USA brand, or the branding of any nation, and the defining of the brand is complex. With each resident, organization, publication, community, and entity being a touchpoint in the branding of a nation, the greatest challenge comes in consistently marketing the USA brand, both internally and to the rest of the world. Following the historical inauguration of Barack Obama—a dramatic turning point and new opportunity for the United States to market its brand identity, I elicited several insightful, provocative and emotional responses representing five different nations on the branding of the USA, and what should be done to reshape our nation’s brand. If you’re interested, see

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