Continuing on with the recent spate of brand rankings we’ve commented upon recently, news that Canada has been rated the second best global brand in the 2008 FutureBrand Country Brand Index. The Index purports to be a comprehensive study, combining the views of 2,700 business and leisure travelers from nine countries together with expert opinions and relevant statistics to determine the world’s brightest country-brands.

The winners? For the third year in a row, Australia. The United States was nipping at Canada’s heels to finish third, with Italy and Switzerland rounding out the top five.

Review of the report’s various categories suggests that Canada’s second place finish was largely the product of generally consistent rankings across the board, with bright spots to be found in such categories as “Ease of Travel” (where we finished third), “Outdoor Activities and Sports (where we also finished third), “Families” (where we finished first) and “Easiest In Which To Do Business” (where we finished first, just ahead of the US).

Interestingly, Canada also finished third behind New Zealand and Australia for the title of “Country Most Desired to Live In” – which finish actually represents a drop of three places from first over the previous year.

The study’s travel-heavy focus perhaps explains the disparity between these results and a report released earlier this year that was less complimentary to the US brand: in that well-publicized survey, more respondents viewed the US as having a negative influence in the world than a positive one.

And what about Canada, you might ask? What did that study make of Canada’s global influence?

In a decision that will serve only to stoke stereotypical Canadian paranoia about our country’s place in the world, sadly, the organizers of that survey did not view Canada as important enough a country to even attempt to gauge world views on its influence.

Well, at least the tourists like us.

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Jeffrey Vicq is a Partner and co-chair of the Intellectual Property and Information Technology practice groups at Clark Wilson. A lawyer and registered Canadian Trademark Agent, Jeffrey has written and spoken extensively on IP and commercial law issues relating to the Internet and to e-commerce in Canada.