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Brand Dialogue organises the inaugural Global Soft Power Summit with Brand Finance

Featuring Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations as the keynote speaker.

Joined by over 600 guests representing over 100 countries, Brand Dialogue was proud to have organised the launch of the Brand Finance Global Soft Power Index – the world’s most comprehensive research study on perceptions of soft power, surveying over 55,000 people across 100 countries.

Attended by government officials, nation branding experts, academics, diplomats, and international media representatives, the two-day conference was held at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London on the 25th February, and at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford the following day.

On the first day of the Summit in London, we were delighted to be joined by Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations, as our keynote speaker:

“I am confident that the Global Soft Power Index will serve as a great contribution to the theory and practice of diplomacy and foreign policy moving forward.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I led the Organization with the understanding that soft power is an essential ingredient in international diplomacy. Additionally, soft power can help further the peace and development goals of the United Nations, particularly the UN SDGs, and reinforce global progress.

In fact, the three pillars of the UN – peace and security, development, and human rights – are all in line with the same objectives of soft power and can help bring nations and peoples together through cooperation and partnership.”

Over the two days of the Summit, we were joined by other guest speakers who represented the various pillars of soft power including Sir Ciáran Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council; Kate Arthurs, Director of Arts at the British Council; Lord Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics; Dr Yu Jie of Chatham House China Programme; Dr Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s former permanent representative to the United Nations; Paul Brummell, Head of Soft Power at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Amish Tripathi, Director of the Nehru Centre; and Omar Salha from the SOAS Centre of International Security and Diplomacy.

Each speaker took their turn to discuss their positions on the importance of Soft Power, and proceeded to participate in a panel discussion moderated by international broadcaster, Mishal Husain.

The Summit played host to lively interactive debates, which encouraged the audience to present their questions on both soft power in general and the Brand Finance report findings, which include:

  • The USA tops the ranking of the report

  • As the runner up, Germany is admired for its governance and Angela Merkel’s international leadership

  • Brand Britain is undented by Brexit, ranking as world’s 3rd soft power nation

  • As home to some of the world’s most popular brands, Japan ranks first for Business & Trade

  • China and Russia rank high in influence, while Nordic countries are among the most reputable, with Greta Thunberg aiding Sweden’s position in the top spot for tackling climate action

  • The UAE is the Middle East’s top scorer, with familiarity high following Nation Brand launch

Following the release of the celebrated report, David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance and Brand Dialogue commented:

“The Global Soft Power Index is the result of a ground-breaking fieldwork research, the most inclusive of its kind, with over 55,000 respondents in 100 countries. It allows us to see in aggregate how the world views the top soft power nations, but it also enables – thanks to the scale of the sample – a more granular snapshot of nation-to-nation attitudes. These findings are vital for governments seeking to better manage their nation brands and improve their soft power influence in specific countries and on specific metrics.”

Curious about how nations exert their influence with soft power? Have a look at the full report and try out our interactive dashboard here.

More images of the event are available here.

You can find out more about future Brand Finance events (hosted and coordinated by Brand Dialogue) here.

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