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UAE Ranks 11th Among World’s Strongest Nation Brands With US$749bn Brand Value

The UAE has been named the world’s 11th strongest nation brand, according to the latest Brand Finance Nation Brands 2021 report. It now ranks above the United States and the United Kingdom, among others.

Breaking the Western monopoly at the top of the brand strength ranking – along with Singapore in 4th position – the UAE has climbed three spots since last year following a 2.5-point increase in its Brand Strength Index (BSI) score to 79.1 out of 100.

Brand Finance determines the relative strength of nation brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating brand investment, brand equity, and brand performance. The nation brand strength methodology includes the results of the Global Soft Power Index – the world’s most comprehensive research study on nation brand perceptions, surveying opinions of over 75,000 people based in more than 100 countries.

Overseas perceptions of the UAE’s prowess in the Education and Science pillar are high, and the successful Emirates Mars Mission is clearly a factor. The UAE also stands out for its COVID-19 response, and scores high for the Influence and Business and Trade pillars, both of which should see a further boost from Expo 2020 inaugurated in Dubai this month.

Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said, "The rise in the economic value of the UAE’s national brand from 18th to 17th position this year is a clear indication of the country’s global reputation and competitiveness in various fields. There is no doubt that achieving 11 percent brand value growth, from US$672bn to US$749bn, is a major achievement in the 50th year of the UAE and underlines how quickly our nation has established its name and global identity as a developed and pioneering country. It is an exceptional success story that will be told to all generations."

Al Gergawi pointed out that the UAE’s rise from 14th to 11th place in the Brand Finance National Brand index of the strongest national brands for 2021 is "the latest confirmation of the excellence of the Emirati model in strategic planning and development. It confirms the nation’s success in establishing modern, open, transparent and interactive media communication with the public around the world, through which it has been able to present its many inspiring success stories."

Al Gergawi emphasised that an advancement of three positions over the past year reflects the pioneering projects and policies that have helped foster a climate of excellence, competitiveness, innovation and leadership. It also comes in conjunction with the golden jubilee of the nation’s founding, which will mark the beginning of a new stage of development and creativity.

Andrew Campbell, Managing Director, Brand Finance Middle East, commented, "The UAE punches well above its weight in terms of nation brand strength and challenges the Western status quo in the ranking. As the UAE celebrates its Golden Jubilee year, it continues to fly the flag high, promoting the nation’s achievements across the world through ground-breaking initiatives like the Emirates Mars Mission and serving as the gateway to the region by hosting the world for 182 days at Expo 2020 Dubai."

The UAE has also improved its position in the nation brand value ranking, claiming 17th position, compared to 18th last year, following an impressive 11 percent increase in nation brand value to US$749 billion. The UAE’s continued increases in brand strength and value are testament to the nation’s strategy of diversifying its economy for long-term growth and solidify its position as the foremost nation brand in the Middle East.

Total nation brand value up 7 percent The top 100 most valuable nation brands in the world have recorded a 7 percent increase in brand value since 2020, signalling that recovery is underway from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although this is a positive sign, uncertainty lingers and nation brand values have not reached pre-pandemic levels yet. At US$90.8 trillion, this year’s total brand value of the top 100 ranking is still 7 percent lower compared to 2019.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, commented, "Unlike previous economic crashes, recovery is uneven and is pinned on the combination of initial COVID-19 response strategies and a successful vaccination rollout. We are starting to turn a corner, as the world’s most valuable nation brands begin to return to pre-pandemic brand values. But results are varied, and it may take years for some to recoup lost brand value, creating even greater disparity between the most and least valuable nation brands."

US and China lead the pack There has been no movement in the top 10 this year, with each nation retaining its rank from last year. All the top 10 have recorded a modest uplift in brand value, however, in line with the global trend across the ranking.

The United States and China remain in a league of their own, claiming the first and second spot in the ranking, respectively. The US has recorded a 5 percent brand value increase to US$24.8 trillion in a year that has been marked by great political and economic change with President Joe Biden taking the helm. Similarly, China saw a 6 percent uptick in nation brand value to US$19.9 trillion. Both nations have celebrated economic recovery since the outbreak of the pandemic, contributing to their uplift in brand value. China’s economy was the first to recover – doing so at a meteoric pace - as the only nation to register positive GDP growth at the end of 2020 and growing at record pace in the first quarter of this year.

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