How does the world view your country?
Thomas Cromwell

Countries, their governments and people, are naturally interested in, if not sensitive about, how the world views them. Through public diplomacy, advertising and other promotional activities governments try to influence opinions in their favor.

In the past it has been largely a matter of guesswork as to how your country is seen by the world, in particular though descriptions in mass media. Clipping services can give you a sense of what others think of you, but cannot provide comprehensive analysis.

On August 1, East West Communications, which publishes www.DiplomaticTraffic.com, launched the first global indexes that rank all countries and territories according to how they are reported in leading media. The main Global Index 200 ranks all 192 UN members and eight large territories, such as Hong Kong, which ranked 2 (after Singapore), and Taiwan, which ranked fourth. Malaysia came in third.

To see the full index and related information, see: www.EastWestComs.com.

Regional indexes rank countries in geographical and/or political groups (such as CIS, Asia and Central Asia).

The indexes were created through a partnership with Perception Metrics, a leader in text analysis, which developed the algorithms to evaluate tone in text based on grammatical associations.

Using this technology, East West is also offering a range of customized reports to countries, which tell them what strengths they can build on, and what weaknesses they need to address in how they are perceived in the world.

The reports can also track the perception of economic sectors, industries, cities, regions and major personalities, both world-wide and in particular media markets, such as the US or Europe.

With these tools countries have a scientific basis to use in shaping their messages. Something East West is specialized in.

Nation branding is still in its early stages of development, but it is likely that the future will see very nation investing in its 'brand'. The intangible benefits include increased prestige in the world system. The tangible benefits include increased inbound investment, exports and tourism.

The need for differentiation in a world that is increasingly made up of countries offering a high standard of living and quality products and services is clear. Countries need to invest in positioning and branding to set themselves apart and to attract the interest and sympathetic attention of the world to what they have to offer.

This difficult task just got a little easier.