By Melissa Luz T. Lopez

Philippine ‘brand’ value on the rise

Posted on December 11, 2014

THE PHILIPPINES improved slightly in an annual ranking of “nation brands,” backed by a robust tourism sector and enhanced ratings for local skills.

In its 2014 report released Dec. 9, London-based BrandFinance identified the Philippines as the sixth fastest-growing among 100 “leading nation brands,” marked by a 35% increase in brand value.

A “nation brand” refers to international perceptions of a country based on a measure of the “totality of intangible assets connected to a nation’s image abroad.” Brand value, meanwhile, represents the worth that can be attributed to the nation brand based on metrics like future cash flows.

For this year, the Philippines’ brand value was pegged at $260 billion, up from $193 billion in 2013. The increase brought the Philippines’ 2014 rank to 34th place, up two places from a year earlier and barely missing the upper third rung of the index.

Qatar and Bangladesh were named the best performers in terms of value growth at 39%, followed by Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan at 37%. Ireland also recorded a growth rate of 35%, but ranked a place ahead of the Philippines based on raw figures.

Ukraine was identified as the worst performer this year with a steep 37% decline in value, which the group attribute to the loss of the Crimea, an important economic base and tourist destination. Lebanon, Croatia, the Russian Federation, and Kuwait also ended the year with declining brand value.

The United States topped the list of nation brands with a value of $19.261 trillion, with the group attributing the country’s hold to its “prominence” in finance, entertainment, democracy and technology, alongside a strong gross domestic product (GDP).

Following US were China, Germany, United Kingdom, and Japan, which have all retained their place in the top five spots from 2013.

In compiling its rankings, BrandFinance considers a country’s GDP and its performance in four categories: goods and services, people and skills, tourism, and investment.

Robert Haigh, BrandFinance communications director, said: “I have looked into the back end of the data and it seems the key reasons for the Philippines improvement are the increasing scores for the People & Skills and Tourism pillars.”

In an e-mail interview, Mr. Haigh said: “Tourism in particular is boosting nation brand strength with increased visitor arrivals and a longer average length of stay compared to last year.”

The Department of Tourism recorded 3.6 million tourist arrivals from January to September 2014, more than half of the agency’s target this year and 2.5% higher year-on-year.

The agency is targeting 6.8 million foreign tourist arrivals this year. The biggest increase in arrivals was recorded in August, which rose by 6.27%.

While the report noted the Philippines’ tourism slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” BrandFinance said more than tourism is required to boost the country up, as it is “very difficult to drive a nation brand via one industry.”

Sought for comment, National Competitiveness Council co-chairman Guillermo M. Luz said the improved rankings reflect rating upgrades earlier conferred on the Philippines, which he said is the result of consistent tourism and investment campaigns and of the administration’s efforts to boost transparency.

“The fact that the Philippines moved up and was the sixth fastest-moving brand tells you that the investment has paid off; ergo, we should continue making that investment in time, effort and energy to make sure that this will continue to happen,” he said in a phone interview.

“We have to invest in the brand, and the brand is the country. We have to be consistent, we cannot afford to relax.”

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