Pure image rates New Zealand in top 10

By Derek Cheng, Angela Gregory

New Zealand has "punched above its weight" to make it into the top 10 nations in a list of the strongest brands in the world.

The country is the tenth-ranked nation of 25 in a brand index compiled by marketing research firms Anholt-GMI.

Across the Tasman, Australians will be celebrating their country's top ranking. Like New Zealand, Australia was a new entry in the branding exercise and it replaced Sweden as the strongest "nation brand" in the world.

One thousand people in 10 nations were asked to rank countries on a series of criteria, ranging across tourism, exports, investment, culture, heritage and people.

The survey's authors said New Zealand could thank its "vigorous, well co-ordinated and unusually thoughtful promotional campaigns" under the banner of "100 per cent Pure".

Its location for the Lord of the Rings trilogy was another factor and New Zealand's tourism had ranked fourth overall.

New Zealand had positive brand values and managed like Ireland, which came thirteenth, to punch above its weight on the global stage, the survey said.

"Both countries have relatively small economies and few well-known local brands, but have nonetheless managed to become well known and highly regarded."

The United States dropped from fourth to eleventh place and Sweden moved down to fifth place.

New Zealand did best on tourism and investment and immigration. It scored least on culture and heritage and exports.

Tourism NZ chief executive George Hickton said the high tourism ranking was the result of pushing "the New Zealand experience" for six years.

"Its a brand that international markets relate to - the New Zealand experience, not just the environmental message. That has 95 per cent of tourists that come to New Zealand recommending it as a place to holiday. It's been very successful."

He did not find it surprising that New Zealand's culture and heritage rating in the index was relatively low.

"Over 90 per cent of international visitors come to New Zealand for its landscape. They rate other countries like France higher in culture and less in landscape."

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