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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Sweden tops poll of nation brands
1. Sweden
2. UK
3. Italy
4. US/Germany
5. Japan
6. China
7. India
8. South Korea
9. Russia
10. Turkey
Sweden has been voted number one in a poll of 11 nation brands for its image as both comforting and cutting edge.

The UK came second in the international survey about people's perception of nations' governance, business, exports, people, culture and tourism.

The US shared fourth place with Germany, in the poll in which 10,000 people were asked to rank 11 nations.

Russia and Turkey lagged at the bottom of the poll with weaker, negative associations in the minds of consumers.

Image and reality

The report's author says the "relatively low" placement of the US could be explained by the "deep unpopularity of US foreign policy which is dragging down positive perceptions about trade, exports, investment and popular culture".

Sweden's entry to the 2005 Eurovision competition
The people of Sweden are seen as both intelligent and honest

Over 10% of those questioned described the US government as "unpredictable", seven percent as "sinister" and over 10% used the word "dangerous", according to the research.

The UK, one of the US' closest political allies, is nevertheless ranked third overall for upholding international peace and security.

The British people outrank all others, the survey says, loved for their image as polite, educated, honest and trustworthy citizens.

Sweden is admired for "its rare combination of stable and responsible governance, honest and trustworthy people, successful cultural exports and being a prime location for investment".

Its predominance might be due to the current climate of fear and unease, the poll's author, Simon Anholt, told the BBC News website.

"Sweden manages to square the circle - it is sexy yet reassuring. That is the zeitgeist, if people were feeling more secure they might go for something riskier - like Latvia," he said.

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