It's not just about hockey, anymore. In just four short years, Canada has jumped to the most respected country brand in the world, bumping the U.S. from the top spot as it leveraged the Winter Olympic Games to extend the global reach of its tourism brand. According to sixth annual FutureBrand County Brand Index, produced in partnership with BBC World News, Canada topped the most comprehensive study of country brands to date.
Managed properly across every measure, according to FutureBrand, country's brand strength can be a lasting vehicle for goodwill, encouraging forgiveness in difficult times and disproportionately boosting the value of exports, from people to product and entire corporations.
After launching the new tourism brand—"Canada. Keep Exploring"—five years ago, Canada leapfrogged from 12th place in 2006 to sixth place in 2007, and jumped again to achieve the second-ranked spot for the first time in 2008, a position it held again in 2009. This year, the United States slipped from the premier position to cede the coveted spot to Canada. Amidst this jostling, Canada's tourism brand has emerged powerful, engaging and vibrant in an intensely competitive international tourism marketplace.
The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and its partners seized the once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase Canada's tourism brand internationally by leveraging the 2010 Winter Olympics and providing video content and stories directly into the hands of broadcasters and media in all the countries in which the CTC invests as well as tapping social media. Initial results of the CTC's marketing campaigns conducted during the Games indicate that the number of flight bookings has tripled over 2009 as a result of the awareness created of Canada as a top-ranked travel destination.