On the eve that two German teams, Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern, battle it out on England’s hallowed Wembley turf in the Champions League final it would seem that German football has eclipsed the Spanish and English. And that’s not all; Germany is a champion performer in league tables on and off the pitch.
According to this year’s annual Country Ratings Poll for the BBC World Service, Germany is now the most positively viewed nation in the world. The 26,000 randomly-selected people surveyed rated 16 countries on whether their influence in the world was “mainly positive” or “mainly negative”. 59% of people perceived Germany to be “mainly positive”, putting Germany at the top of the league tables with a three-point increase on last year’s results.
Perspectives were warmer for the UK, Canada and France than in 2012, and less favourable for China, USA, Russia, Japan and India. Iran came out worst, with the most negative perception globally.
So what determines perception and how is it altered? You might think tourism plays the biggest part, but Simon Anholt attributes positive national reputation to diplomacy, trade negotiations and international development assistance . Germany’s ranking could then be attributed to Merkel’s performance on the world’s stage, the country’s strong trade links, or involvement in Spain’s bail-out. The fact that the German economy has done better than every other in Europe in recent years is sure to work in its favour…it’s perhaps no coincidence that two German teams are in the final.
The UK’s positive result unsurprisingly comes in the wake of the 2012 Olympics; the best display of national warmth, character and strength are showcased at sporting events. Reputation is not born overnight, however, and is a result of long term admiration and existing perceptions. Contributing factors undoubtedly reach the world’s attention through ever increasing media channels, and today more than ever ‘the survival of those perceived to be the fittest’  rings true.
Author: Sarah Moor
  Places: Identity, Image and Reputation