UK and US reputations take a 'nosedive' over Brexit and Trump

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Queen Elizabeth II and US President Donald Trump participate in an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth. Photo: Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters

The UK’s and the US’s international reputations have “nosedived” over the last five years, according to a new survey.

The UK slipped seven places to 17th in the 2019 Country Index by FutureBrand. The US fell five places to 12th in the ranking.

Both countries are “now broadly perceived as being less inviting to tourists, visitors, students, and investors.”

FutureBrand’s Country Index, last produced in 2014, highlights “measures of a great nation” beyond GDP. The ranking is based on survey data from 2,500 people from 75 countries who answered questions about quality of life, business, culture, values, and tourism.

The UK’s fall in the rankings is one of the steepest drops, outpaced only by Mexico and Morocco, which both fell by 9 places, South Africa, which fell 11 places, Ireland (12), Costa Rica (13), and Puerto Rico (29).

The UK “suffered pretty much across the board,” the report said, “with only slight increases in a handful of categories, and an abysmal rating for Value for Money.”

“Despite still being in the top 20, by a whisker, falling out of the top 15 ranking should cause concern for Brand Britain,” Jon Tipple, chief worldwide strategy officer at FutureBrand, said. “Our research indicates that polarised politics could be to blame.”

FutureBrand said Brexit in the UK and the US election of President Donald Trump contributed to a drop off in the perceived tolerance of the countries.

“Despite their GDP strength, these traditional ‘world powers’ are not winning on perception as respondents showed less emotional connection with both of these nations, and are less likely to live/study or visit either country,” the report said.

The report also warned companies would also be less likely to invest in either country if their international reputations continue to wane.

“In 2019, individuals and companies are more likely to buy products and services from countries on their list of preferred places to visit or invest in,” the report said.

“With the uncertainty over Brexit and the ongoing international trade issues between the US and China, both countries need to reclaim lost ground in order to experience benefits from positive country brand perception.”

Japan, Norway, and Switzerland topped the list with the best international reputations.