In the newest Global Soft Power Index, the United Kingdom has retained its position as second on the list.

Soft power, a measure of a country’s ability to shape international outcomes without the use of force, largely through cultural exchange, dialogue, and cooperation, has become an increasingly crucial aspect of international relations.

The performance on eight “Soft Power Pillars”, Business & Trade, Governance, International Relations, Culture & Heritage, Media & Communication, Education & Science, People & Values, and Sustainable Future, all contribute to the overall evaluation.

The report, published by Brand Finance, can be found here.

  • Russia’s reputation dips, causing a downward shift in rankings.
  • Ukraine shines with the most significant improvement in soft power.
  • Top 3 powers remain consistent: US, UK, and Germany.
  • Japan edges out China for a spot in the top 5.
  • UAE breaks into the top 10, marking a significant achievement for the nation.
  • Nordic nations rise, largely due to perceptions around sustainability.
  • No representation from Latin America or Sub-Saharan Africa in the top 30.
  • Sri Lanka suffers, experiencing the most substantial dip following a crisis.

The United States maintains its dominance, clinching the top position with a score of 74.8. The UK and Germany trail closely, securing the second and third spots respectively. However, the most notable shuffle in the top 5 is Japan’s ascent, replacing China.

Emerging strong this year is the United Arab Emirates, which has entered the top 10 for the first time, demonstrating a rise in its global influence and soft power capabilities.

Another remarkable observation is the absence of nations from Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa in the top 30, raising questions about regional soft power dynamics.

The UK entry is as follows:

“Elizabethan Era: In the United Kingdom, 2022 will be remembered as the end of an era. The passing of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96, after 70 years on the throne, shook the nation. At the same time, intense media coverage of the period of mourning and the monarch’s spectacular funeral attended by the world’s leaders reminded the world of Britain’s greatest Soft Power assets.

The UK has defended its 2nd position in the Index this year, with an increase of +2.4 points to 65.8, recording increases across a number of attributes, from “good relations with other countries” (up 7 ranks) to “appealing lifestyle” (up 5 ranks). Last year will also go down in British history for its three prime ministers.

After the fall of Boris Johnson’s government as a result of “Partygate”, Liz Truss shot to power as quickly as she lost it to Rishi Sunak, becoming the country’s shortest-serving prime minister ever. While the nation’s overall Reputation has not been dented, perceptions of the UK as “politically stable and well-governed” declined relative to others (down 10 ranks).”

Soft power is paramount for nations to realise objectives peacefully. It enables countries to establish and nurture relationships even with nations that might initially be apprehensive or antagonistic.

Apart from the diplomatic advantage, soft power is a tool that countries can employ to attract foreign investments, boost trade, invigorate tourism, and attract global talent, translating to job creation and economic growth.

David Haigh, Chairman and CEO, Brand Finance, said:

“As our world becomes increasingly interconnected and globalised, the importance of Soft Power in international affairs cannot be overstated. The use of Soft Power has become a critical component of foreign policy for nations around the world, as they seek to build positive relationships with other countries, promote their values and interests, and achieve their strategic objectives through non-coercive means.

This is even more important when some nations use military force to impose their will on other nations. This annual report into Soft Power covers the ability to influence others through attraction or persuasion rather than coercion. It encompasses a wide range of tools, including business and trade, governance, international relations, culture and heritage, media and communication, education and science, the character of the nation and the promotion of its values. This year, we are also looking more closely at environmental sustainability.

Soft Power enables countries to shape the perceptions and attitudes of other nations, build trust and cooperation, and advance their own interests without resorting to military force. One of the key advantages of Soft Power is that it allows countries to achieve their goals through peaceful means. In contrast to hard power, which relies on military strength and coercion, Soft Power enables nations to win hearts and minds through dialogue, cultural exchange, and cooperation. This can be particularly effective in building relationships with countries that may be suspicious or hostile towards one’s own nation. By demonstrating goodwill and promoting mutual interests, countries can build trust and create a more stable and peaceful international environment. Another important aspect of Soft Power is its ability to foster economic development and prosperity. Nations can leverage Soft Power to attract foreign investment, enhance trade, promote tourism, and invite talent.

All of those can help create jobs and boost economic growth in both partner countries. However, Soft Power is not without its challenges and limitations. It requires significant investments in education, culture, and diplomacy, and may not always yield immediate results. In addition, Soft Power initiatives may be undermined by domestic policies or actions that are perceived as hypocritical or inconsistent with the values being promoted. Moreover, Soft Power may not be sufficient to address certain challenges, such as terrorism, which may require the use of hard power. Despite these challenges, the importance of Soft Power in international affairs cannot be ignored. In a world where power is increasingly defined by intangible factors such as reputation, influence, and values, Soft Power has become an essential tool for achieving strategic objectives and promoting international cooperation.

It is up to policymakers, diplomats, and citizens alike to recognise the potential of Soft Power, and to invest in the tools needed to wield it effectively. Only by embracing Soft Power can we build a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world for ourselves and future generations. Join us, and many of the world’s leading Soft Power experts, as we consider the opportunities and risks ahead.”

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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John
John (@guest_823479)
1 month ago

“Increasingly globalised”? Facts are that globalisation is a dead duck. Look at any geopolitical commentary, observe supply chain issues and it is obvious. I find it interesting that having come 2nd, we are classed as the 20th most corrupt country on the planet ( having been 16th last year ) Then maybe “soft power” is fed by corruption? Also those who have memories can remember TB Liar ordering the SFO to cease investigations into certain defence contracts with the Saudis. Wish people would not “shag the flag”, just try telling truth.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_823485)
1 month ago
Reply to  John

You have misread the data. We are the 20th least corrupt country in the world with a score of Corruption Perception Index of 71. Denmark is the least corrupt with a score of 90.

Globalisation is no dead duck. Just one example – most car manufacturers in the UK are foreign, not British-owned and continue to source parts from outside the UK, as well as within UK.
Also look at the size of the shipping industry which is an indicator of international trade and globalised supply chains – container shipping has doubled in the last decade.

Jim
Jim (@guest_823534)
1 month ago
Reply to  John

Another Russian bot, we were 20th least corrupt country you muppet 😀

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy (@guest_823545)
1 month ago
Reply to  John

Corruption, is part of soft power

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy (@guest_823550)
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave Wolfy

As is manipulation.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_823498)
1 month ago

Good stuff.
My country is somebody on the world stage, whether the self loathers like it or not. For many, many reasons.
God Save The King!

Jim
Jim (@guest_823541)
1 month ago

It’s quite amazing how such a small country can have such a oversized influence on the world, it’s no wonder mad vlad and his army of bots is so obsessed with UK defence journal comments section 😀

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_823548)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Because this country was central to making the modern world, from Empire and all its cultural and language links to our pivotal role in WW2 and subsequent Cold War as Empire faded.
Proud of my country and it’s history.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_823551)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

I’m curious who you think is a bot here, mind.

Jim
Jim (@guest_823659)
1 month ago

I think around 1 in 4 of the commentators on this sight are bots these days, they are immensely sophisticated now, normally it’s when you see some random name tag and they have some very large opinions to express that have an anti western sentiment. They all use language models now like chat GPT.

Normally it’s only the name tag, the fact that you never seen them post before yet they suddenly have a major opinion and the generic anti UK/western nature of that opinion that gives them away.

geoff
geoff (@guest_823687)
1 month ago

Well said Daniele. Proud of my British heritage.

Ross
Ross (@guest_824298)
1 month ago

Well said, and I’ll join you most certainly in saying, God Save the King!

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_823499)
1 month ago

What a lot of cobblers. “Soft power” is an oxymoron but it sounds good and allows these pointless rankings to be produced. All it really means is influence, which doesn’t sound nearly so important, but is easier to question.
How much soft power/ influence did 2nd ranked UK demonstrate in its negotiations with Brussels? Or China over the crackdowns in Hong Kong?
Power means making another country do what you want them to. The threat of force or financial inducements are the best ways to achieve that.

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy (@guest_823549)
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

The UK probably had oodles of soft power in 1938.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_823596)
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

We’ll let the experts know you are available to hire then Peter with such fascinating knowledge.

Jim
Jim (@guest_823660)
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

UK soft power has achieved a massive amount, how many comprehensive trade deals has the EU done with other major economies in the last 5 years? None How many countries outside the Pacific are in CTPP, Just 1 and it’s no France or Germany. China reverted on the Hong Kong treaty with the UK, with in a few years hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens moved to the UK, HK and China economy both went down the shitter, the Five Eyes countries all took consolidated actions against China, Huwaei was kicked out of every major economy, AUKUS happened, GCAP… Read more »

Aaron L
Aaron L (@guest_824015)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Well said.

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_824108)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

So Levi and Coca Cola were not content with undermining the West?

BlueMoonday
BlueMoonday (@guest_824288)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Is that the same Chinese economy, now the second largest in the world, that raised the majority of its impoverished population to a much higher standard of living within a single generation? The Chinese regime is not beyond fault but the transformation of China from a borderline third world nation to it’s current status of global superpower is an incredible achievement.

geoff
geoff (@guest_823691)
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Good Morning Peter. neither the threat of force or financial(dis)inducements have worked on the Russians for example, so one cannot generalise about the power of jaw-jaw as opposed to war-war. The world has become a complex place in the 21st Century with the role of disinformation and mass media blurring the lines between rationality and unhinged behaviour. Here in SA for example the people of KZN have voted in huge numbers for one of the most evil criminals on the planet who almost single handedly destroyed the fabric of South Africa. The same phenomenon can be seen in the USA… Read more »

geoff
geoff (@guest_823693)
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

ps and I must add that despite my general view, I am on the same page as Donald Trump with regard to some of his policies. There are very few politicians who are either 100% good or 100% bad.
Shades of Grey…

Jon
Jon (@guest_824072)
1 month ago
Reply to  geoff

For those of us not well-versed in SA regional politics, are you talking about former president Zuma?

geoff
geoff (@guest_824075)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Correct Jon

D.Roberts
D.Roberts (@guest_823768)
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

I think we call it the foreign aid budget

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_824121)
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Soft power. Henry IV Part 1
“Lay aside life-harming heaviness, And entertain a cheerful disposition.” 🙂

George Amery
George Amery (@guest_823508)
1 month ago

Hi folks hope all is well. Well the reading appears encouraging and on the whole I believe the UK has maintained this status for many decades. Looking at history and the influence the UK had had over many years on the global stage. However, when we factor what is happening at home and the issues associated with illegal immigrants, many people cynically would argue that the UK has very little influence on those nations close to home in helping stopping the migrants. All we have seen is France trousering over half a billion quid with little affect. Can imagine if… Read more »

lordtemplar
lordtemplar (@guest_823515)
1 month ago

never been a fan of these rankings, they are very subjective and about as usefull as these youtube videos top 10 etc…
for example having Japan above China is a joke. China is a permanent member of the UN security council, China has a lot of leverage over many countries with its Belt and Road initiative, etc… afterall was it not China that led the peace/truce in Yemen between the Saudis and Iranians?

andyreeves9@msn.com
[email protected] (@guest_823526)
1 month ago

soft power? utter rubbish, it’s hard power that we should be the ROYAL NAVY IS MILES TOO SMALL and everyone knows it, but it’s negligence and penny pinching that has put it nin the state it is now. if the money thrown away at fanciful novelties like Proteus And Stirling castle destroyers and frigates are what a navy is about.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_823553)
1 month ago

Nor really. A major power like the UK should be high in both categories. One complements the other.

andyreeves9@msn.com
[email protected] (@guest_823612)
1 month ago

soft power in the UK is the same as no power when it involves a political element

andyreeves9@msn.com
[email protected] (@guest_823614)
1 month ago

it’s all pants to me

Jim
Jim (@guest_823661)
1 month ago

Yes, we should build loads of frigates and destroyers and not bother having any anti mine capability.

Use the hulls to find mines like a proper navy would

All that sea bed hydrographic work is for whimps, real men can drive submarines without any knowledge of the sea bed and I for one have no issue freezing to death because the Russians cut all the under sea power cables in the North Sea.

Let’s get a proper navy back full of first rates and dreadnaughts again and show Ivan what’s what.💪💪💪💪😂🤣😂🤣😂

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_823697)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

😆

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy (@guest_823542)
1 month ago

If Germany was not so obstructive, where wpuld the UK rank?

Dave Wolfy
Dave Wolfy (@guest_823543)
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave Wolfy

Would (drinking Spanish wine all afternoon).

Jim
Jim (@guest_823662)
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave Wolfy

Still second, go to London then Frankfurt then you see why the UK will always be second

andyreeves9@msn.com
[email protected] (@guest_823658)
1 month ago

power? rubbish.

Pete
Pete (@guest_823671)
1 month ago

You can get little blue tablets to help firm that up you know….but suspect the medicine cabinet is probably fitted for, but not with, said blue tablets

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_823677)
1 month ago

Well we’re a long, long way from 2nd military power after decades of deep, foolish, dangerous armed forces cuts. In fact we’d be hard pressed to defend ourselve. And before anyone claims we always have allies, we are bringing far less to the alliance(s) than ever before due to all those very cuts.

Simon
Simon (@guest_823704)
1 month ago

soft power index, a questionable measure but indicates the uk creative industry/ arts should get due recognition. Personally I loved das boat tv/film but not much tv generally comes out of Germany. Interesting how gritty nordic noir crime shows took off.

Raz
Raz (@guest_824246)
1 month ago

😂😂 Is the author serious? We have less influence than Burkina Faso.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_824512)
1 month ago

All I keep reading is how US Soft power is in decline everywhere yet we see they are still number one. One does wonder mind how much is exercised and truly appreciated by those often responding to it over and above the concern that the alternative is even worse to contemplate, or might bring down the wrath of the US by not showing willing. Certainly many in Africa have seen what happens if you don’t cooperate with China, or indeed often when you do or dare change your mind. Do these lists take such nuance into consideration.