Different countries in the world are considered the most powerful and influential as compared to other countries. These countries are significant over the others due to their economic conditions, their education system, their employment rate, their army position and the quality of their citizens.
Table of Contents
What is soft power?
Joseph Nye first introduced the concept of soft power in 1990, who argued that there is an alternative method of foreign policy for states to win the support of others. Rather than the traditional hard power method, which involves using military and economic means as the primary method of achieving its goals.
The strength of a nation in bringing others on-side can be said to rest broadly upon its culture, economy, political values, foreign policies, quality of life, robust academic institutions, and the rule of law. By proving the development of a nation’s domestic strength, it can further its influence and legitimise its role as an international player.
According to BrandFinance.com, they created the Global Soft Power Index 2020 by interviewing over 55,000 respondents based in more than 100 countries and asked their views on 60 nations around the world.
This allowed them to see in aggregate how the world sees a nation, but it also allows a more granular view of how each of the 100 nations views a particular country. The overall headline results are of interest, but the more detailed information is of vital use for governments seeking to manage their national brands better.
Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Brand Finance was set up in 1996 with the aim of ‘bridging the gap between marketing and finance’. For more than 20 years, they have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.
Here we will discuss the top 10 most influential countries of the world.
#10 Russian Federation
Russia performs solidly in 10th position. Russia, the world’s largest country by land area, secures its highest position in the International Relations pillar (5th), reinforced by solid scores for influence in diplomatic circles. Russia scores very high for the strength of its leadership.
Vladimir Putin’s Presidency and Prime Ministership have spanned two decades. Despite his style garnering much controversy, he has overseen the nation’s return to the top league of world politics and remains an influential figure among global leaders.
Russian Federation lost most of its soft power project in the world after invading its neighboring country, Ukraine. The US and most of the European countries condemned the actions and imposed sanctions. Also, notable companies like Ikea, Microsoft, PayPal, and many others joined the trend and exited from Russia.
Sweden ranking first globally for this metric. This is likely attributable to the efforts of Greta Thunberg, who has become the voice of millions of young people demanding action to prevent irreversible changes to the environment.
Greta Thunberg generates remarkable soft power for Sweden
Switzerland ranks first in the world for Reputation, but constrained by its longstanding policy of diplomatic neutrality, is not perceived as a world leader in Influence, taking a relatively low 13th spot. It also ranks 1st for Governance and 3rd for Business & Trade, benefitting from being perceived as a stable and affluent country, appealing to both immigrants and tourists.
Switzerland topped the list among general respondents in good relations with other countries, safety and security, and an appealing lifestyle, and we are sure that its world-famous chocolate had a part to play in the latter 🙂
Canada is seen as the world’s most generous nation as it ranks highest globally for the People & Values pillar. The effects of a liberal asylum and migration policy on its soft power are clear – general public respondents rank Canada as the world’s most generous nation, 2nd for friendliness, and 3rd for tolerance. Also, it’s International Relations score benefits from its open policies, with the country perceived as helpful to
France claims 6th spot globally and 3rd in Europe. Particularly burdened by its performance in the Governance pillar, where it ranks 15th, France’s global reputation has been dented by recent political unrest, characterised by the yellow vests protests, low approval ratings for President Macron, and the far-right gaining traction.
The nation’s strongest pillar is Culture & Heritage, where it received top marks from specialist audiences and high scores across critical characteristics from the general public, boosted by an appreciation for French ‘art de Vivre’ manifested in world-renowned art, luxury products, and fine cuisine.
China’s soft power expansion pays off. Having the largest population in the world and the 2nd largest economy, China has boasted a meteoric rise on to the global stage since the ‘opening up’ policy in the late 1970s. Since then, the nation’s economy has doubled in size every eight years to a position where its dominance is unavoidable, reflected in its 5th rating in the Business & Trade pillar, owed to its top position for perceived ease of doing business.
China has heavily invested in its soft power initiatives, predominantly through foreign direct investment and cultural expansion, particularly in Africa.
Japan ranks first for Business & Trade. Japan (60.2), claiming 4th spot globally. Despite an economic slowdown, Japan has reaped the benefits of its strong brands, substantial consumer spending, and high levels of business investment, ranking first in the Business & Trade pillar.
As the 3rd largest global economy, Japan is a forward-thinking and outward-looking nation with the second-highest spend worldwide on research and development.
#3 Great Britain
The UK upholds favourable reputation, despite Brexit uncertainty and ranks 3rd overall, with a Global Soft Power Index score of 61.8. they are proving that the UK has transformed a sense of universal Familiarity and favourable Reputation into Influence on the global stage.
An unrivalled contributor to the UK’s soft power is the Royal family, which Brand Finance estimates to contribute US$2.4 billion to the economy every year. The Queen is also holding political and cultural value abroad as the figurehead in driving and upholding the values of the Commonwealth.
Germany admired for its respected leadership.
With an overall score of 61.9 and wielding the softest power in Europe, Germany marginally beats the United Kingdom (61.8) to second place in the Index. Going against the legacy of the past, Germany focuses much more on its soft rather than hard power.
As a peaceful nation with a strong economy and an extensive portfolio of high-performing brands across the automotive, construction, and technology sectors, soft power is a natural way for Germany to project influence. Since the end of World War II, and even more so after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany eschewed the use of hard power in its domestic and international affairs, with military deployments tightly restricted, and most Germans regarding their army with suspicion.
Most notably, Germany is considered number one for a stable and robust economy, augmenting its score in the Business & Trade pillar. The nation’s economic situation is matched by high scores on its political standing within the Governance pillar.
#1 United States
Recent tensions in the United States’ domestic politics and unilateralism in international relations have dented the nation’s reputation but have not managed to crush its global influence.
With the highest Soft Power Index score of 67.1 and distancing the runner-up – Germany – by more than 5 points, the US is found to be the world’s most influential nation in terms of soft power, and arguably the only soft power superpower.
United States’ global influence makes it the world’s soft power superpower.
More than 125,000 people in over 100 countries have been infected by the coronavirus, officially dubbed COVID-19. In a Wednesday evening address to the nation, President Donald Trump announced a temporary suspension of all travel between the U.S. and Europe, except for the United Kingdom, in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.,