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Thinking the unthinkable & the rise of populism: the Brand Finance Nation Brands 2019 Forum, London

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

What is the effect of a country's national image on the economy? Which nation boasts the highest brand value? How are nation brands being disrupted by issues in global politics such as Britain's looming Brexit?


These questions and more were addressed at the Brand Finance Nation Brands Forum on Wednesday 9th October, which we organised to launch the Brand Finance Nation Brands 2019 report.


To start things off, the results of Brand Finance Nation Brands 2019 report were introduced by Konrad Jagodzinski, Managing Director of Brand Dialogue, and Parul Soni, Senior Consultant at Brand Finance. They highlighted the report's main findings:

  • The average nation brand value growth among developing economies is at 13.9% compared to only 0.4% for developed economies

  • China in particular sees no sign of slowing, claiming second position behind the US following a 40% growth in brand value to US$19.5 trillion

  • Japan overtakes the UK in 4th position as uncertainty surrounding Brexit has significantly stunted the UK's growth this year

  • Singapore remains the world's strongest nation brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 90.5 out of 100

We were then delighted to hear from Nik Gowing, foreign affairs specialist and former BBC World News presenter, who outlined his thoughts on the current crisis of global leadership.


One of his most interesting insights was the re-evaluation of the term "populism". According to Nik's definition, the rise of populism is synonymous with "push-backism", whereby people are protesting (or pushing back against) the status quo at the polling booth. While this is not a new concept, Nik posited that it is more detrimental to stability in 2019, which is complicated by the acceleration of technological developments that are infringing upon politics.


However, it wasn't all doom and gloom, as Nik emphasised the importance of operating both business and government by thriving on change and listening to one another. This is exactly what his project, Thinking the Unthinkable, aims to do by encouraging so-called dangerous and uncomfortable conversations.

Nik Gowing tells the crowd about "push-backism"

At Brand Dialogue, this is something we profoundly believe in - sparking dialogue not only within our team, but between our clients, consumers, and beyond. We were therefore extremely pleased to see many members of the audience getting involved in the discussion, posing questions such as: how effective is modern democracy? Is history bound to keep repeating itself? and, finally, has "the unthinkable" already happened?


You can find out more about "Thinking the Unthinkable" here, and sign up for future Brand Finance events (hosted and coordinated by Brand Dialogue) here. Images of the event can be found here on the Brand Exchange Facebook page.

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