Norway was ranked fifth in the 2016 Country RepTrak rankings, trailing only Sweden, Canada, Switzerland and Australia. Fellow Nordic nations Finland and Denmark were close behind, at sixth and eighth place respectively.
The fifth place ranking represented a fall of three spots from last year’s list, when Norway was second to only Canada.
The report was compiled by the Reputation Institute, which claims to be the world’s "leading consulting and advisory firm for reputation". The institute promotes the Country RepTrak ranking as the world’s largest survey of country reputation.
The rankings are based on more than 58,000 ratings collected in the first quarter of 2016, which measure consumer perceptions of whether a country has an advanced economy, an appealing environment and an effective government.
“The 2016 Country RepTrak shows that traditional, objective measures, such as size and economic output have little bearing on the general public’s emotional connection to a nation,” Reputation Institute executive partner Nicolas Trad said in a press release.
“Being welcoming, safe and beautiful are the top three drivers of a country’s reputation, and nations with a strong reputation are better positioned to welcome more tourists, increase exports, improve diplomacy and attract foreign investment, knowledge and talent," he added.
Although Sweden claimed the top spot, Trad said that all of the Nordic nations enjoy strong international reputations.
“The things that keep coming up in conversation are that Sweden invests a lot in families, they invest a lot in green living, are are favourable when it comes to economic growth. It’s also seen as a very safe country to be in,” Trad, a Copenhagen resident, told The Local.
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Many of those perceptions could also be applied to Norway and Denmark, but according to the Reputation Institute executive, Sweden has the edge over its Nordic neighbours because of its stronger brands, and stronger ability to mould public perception.
“Sweden has very strong commercial, consumer-oriented brands, as opposed to Norway, which has more of a B2B structure. Denmark has a few, but not as many,” he said.
The report called Norway the fourth happiest country in the world, the sixth least corrupt and the nation with the third most effective government and the sixth strongest country brand.