The action of the Spanish Government it has been harshly criticized in the international media, which highlighted the poor handling of the situation and the shortcomings of a public health system that has been weakened in recent years.
And it is that the final grade obtained by each country also weights the perception in the international media and opinion leaders of the management of the health crisis of coronavirus (50%) in the first wave, its ability to create tourism brand (25%) and economic brand (25%). New Zealand is followed Singapore (7.68) and South Korea (7.5).
These global results coincide with the ranking in Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. As for Europe, Germany, with an average score of 7.41, was the winner. Again, the jury has praised the country’s quick response. Portugal (6.78) and Finland (6.45) have been recognized with second and third place.
In America, Canada (7.06) was the clear winner, followed by Colombia (5.61) and Chile (5.6). In africa only Morocco, which occupies the first position, has obtained the pass (5.7), although South Africa (4.96) and Egypt (4.84) complete the top 3.
New component in the construction of the country brand
Although the capacity of countries to generate economic brand and tourist brand were basic components in the construction of the country brand, the pandemic management it has been established as a new axis within the international image projected by the States. Thus, key elements such as health security and the ability to respond to this new paradigm come into play.
It is clear that the countries that have given the best response, such as New Zealand, Germany or Canada, will be the first to recover from a global crisis, since they have not only demonstrated a strong internal system but have also been able to generate confidence in the international sphere
In this way, the expert jury has been able to assess this management, in addition to its capacity for tourism promotion and its economic brand, through an independent study that analyzes brand perception and reputation from 40 countries shortlisted. The jury is chaired by Didier lagae, author of the book “Country brand, a country as a brand”, and is made up of communication professionals and diplomats.
John Harrington, editor-in-chief of PRWeek, has recognized in this regard that “several powerful states have had their reputations sunk by the inability of populist governments to handle the crisis. The opposite occurs in Asian countries, whether democratic or not, they have handled the crisis much more effectively. The same could be said of social democratic states with decent infrastructure and center-left governments, such as New Zealand or Germany”.
“Once the more immediate crisis ends, the reputation of those who mismanaged their brand is likely to be seriously damaged,” according to John Harrington, editor-in-chief of PRWeek.
For Didier lagae, CEO and founder of MARCO, “New Zealand has been put on the map. The country has positioned itself as the perfect example of excellent health crisis management, achieving an impeccable country brand reputation. The political leadership of the Prime Minister, Jacinda arden, was key and was translated into a great boost for the general reputation of its country brand ”.
Clearly, in his view, “COVID-19 has not only affected millions of people locally, but at the same time shook the ranking of country brands depending on how each national government handled the issue. In this way, the way in which governments faced and reacted to the coronavirus crisis has been much more decisive in terms of country brand reputation than any of their tourist or commercial promotional campaigns to promote their countries ”.
Better external than internal perception
It so happens that the external perception of the Spanish management of the pandemic is better than that of the Spaniards themselves, according to the first report that analyzes the opinion of the general public -75,000 respondents- and the specialized public -750-, carried out by Brand Finance, although the full report of the Global Soft Power Index It will be released on February 25.
Thus, Spaniards give a net average score of -35%, while the general public scores it with 4% (the maximum is held by New Zealand with 43% and the minimum U.S with -16%) and specialized with -11%, between 71% of Germany and -56% of Brazil, in addition to considering it the fourth worst country to manage the pandemic.
The net score is the difference between the responses rated as well and poorly managed in the categories of economy, health and welfare, and international aid and cooperation. About 30% of the global population believes that Spain managed the coronavirus crisis well, compared to 25% who believe otherwise according to Brand Finance.
Portugal, Greece, Russia, Japan, Poland, Italy, Denmark, Austria or Norway They are the countries that score the worst performance of Spain while those that best rate it are African countries such as Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria or Indonesia, Iraq, India and Venezuela.
Although Spain and United States have the same ratio of deaths per inhabitant (10%), the Public opinion scores 20% better than SpainTherefore, the number of real deaths does not seem conclusive for the general public when it comes to perceiving better or worse management of the pandemic.
What is clear is that, as has been found Teresa of Lemus, Managing Director of Brand Finance Spain, is that in our country “brands have been far ahead of government management. The perception of the citizens of the actions of the companies is being very positive ”. Despite this, “the perceptions of the Spain brand affect country confidence, investments and Spanish brands operating abroad.”