UK Maintains Leader Status Among Business Leaders Finds WPP Survey

Brand UK Survey by WPP Shows UK Maintains Major Leader Status Amongst Global Business Leaders and Citizens Despite Brexit Impact

As Britain continues to untangle itself from its 45-year-old membership of the European Community, a survey by Brand UK, produced by WPP, of more than 21,000 business leaders and citizens paints a mixed picture for the country’s influence on the world stage.

The first Brand UK report from the long-running Best Countries series, unveiled at a reception at the Houses of Parliament today, ranked the UK as the #4 country in the world overall.

It ranked #2 for having strong international alliances, a position it has held for the last two years. The UK was also ranked globally as #4 for being politically influential and entrepreneurial and #5 for being a powerful nation.

The Brand UK report is an extension of the Best Countries rankings in collaboration with U.S. News and World Report, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, USA. They rank 80 countries across a range of criteria, from economic influence and power to citizenship and quality of life, in order to capture how nations are perceived on a global scale.

The perception of “Brand UK” amongst major trade partners China, the European Union, India and the US is positive. Europeans ranked the UK #4 globally for its entrepreneurship, behind Switzerland, Germany and Sweden but #27 for being ‘open for business’, a drop of two places in the ranking. In addition, the EU countries ranked the UK #12 for being progressive, higher than the overall global rank of #15.

The US ranked the UK as the #4 country in the world for strong international alliances, whilst Germany took the top spot, highlighting the positive impact that the country’s leadership role in the European Union has on its global influence.

Whilst 51% of UK respondents believed the country is moving in the right direction, that percentage is lower than the global average, which is 54%. More than half (56%) of British business leaders said the UK is moving in the right direction, but this is also lower than the global average of business leaders (59%).

Two thirds (69%) of British business leaders said they have benefited from membership of the European Union and other global trade organisations (higher than the 62% global average), yet more than half (52%) said they felt more like a citizen of their own country than the world (compared to the global average of 40%).

“The findings of the UK Best Countries report paint a mixed picture for ‘Brand UK’, which remains relevant and well-regarded, but has also clearly felt the impact of Brexit. Although Britain has a strong image globally in several areas including entrepreneurship, cultural influence and power, it will need to be vigilant about its brand appeal on the world stage as Brexit further influences internal and external dynamics,” said David Roth, who heads the Best Countries reports for WPP.

“U.S. News is known globally for playing a key role in evaluating education and health institutions for the benefit of consumers for more than 30 years. We bring this same data-driven journalism into the public sector by collaborating with leaders in advertising and academia to produce the Best Countries Report, which uniquely measures a nation’s performance at multiple levels,” said Brian Kelly, Editor and Chief Content Officer at U.S. News.

WPP recently announced the merger of Burson-Marstellar with Cohn & Wolfe.