New Delhi, the capital city of India, has achieved an impressive ranking of 1st in India and 95th globally in the recently released inaugural Brand Finance City Index. This index, presented by renowned brand evaluation consultancy Brand Finance, provides insights into the world’s top 100 city brands. The ranking is derived from a comprehensive global survey conducted in April 2023, which involved nearly 15,000 participants from 20 countries across all continents. The survey aimed to gauge public perceptions of the world’s leading cities. Notably, London has been crowned the best city brand globally, with New York and Paris following closely behind in second and third place respectively.
New Delhi has garnered a noteworthy score of 54.8/100 in the Brand Finance City Index, surpassing other Indian cities included in the ranking in terms of global recognition and securing the 57th position. As the capital city of India, it is not surprising that New Delhi enjoys a higher level of familiarity. This recognition has likely contributed to the city’s impressive ranking of 48th for its strong identity, character, and civic pride. Furthermore, the city’s remarkable architectural heritage, highlighted by iconic landmarks like the Red Fort, India Gate, and Jama Masjid, has positioned New Delhi as the leading Indian city in terms of beautiful architecture.
The survey aimed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the ranked city brands by considering factors beyond familiarity. Participants were asked about the general reputation of each city and their personal opinions on living, working locally, working remotely, studying, retiring, visiting, or investing in each city. The assessment of preferences across these seven dimensions was supplemented by perceptions of 45 specific attributes associated with city brands, categorized under seven pillars such as Business & Investment or Sustainability & Transport.
Ranked at a close 96th position, Bangalore emerges as the second-best city brand in India, following closely behind New Delhi. Bangalore stands out among its Indian counterparts, particularly in the realm of business and innovation. Notably, it achieves commendable rankings in categories such as Business & Trade (global rank 66) and Education & Science (global rank 74). This success is further reinforced by strong scores in key attributes, including an impressive 24th rank for being conducive to start-ups and innovations, 26th for attractive corporate taxation, 59th for ease of doing business, and 64th for future growth potential.
Included in the study, Mumbai secures the 98th position among the ranked cities. While its overall rank in the Brand Finance City Index is somewhat compromised due to relatively weaker liveability in certain markets, Mumbai still garners recognition in several aspects. Respondents acknowledge Mumbai as an incredibly affordable city, ranking 8th in this regard. Additionally, the city is praised for its ready access to a skilled workforce, securing the 18th spot. Mumbai also excels in terms of its rich history and heritage, ranking 46th, as well as for its outstanding cultural festivals, securing the 32nd position.
Ajimon Francis, Managing Director of Brand Finance India, commented:
“Although ranking fairly low in the Brand Finance City Index overall, the Indian cities of New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai are clearly performing well across many of the metrics examined in the study. As India continues to grow both in terms of population and influence on the global stage, these cities are likely to further prosper as dynamic and culturally diverse metropolises, boosting their influence and perception around the world.”
London crowned as the world’s best city brand
London has achieved an impressive score of 84.6 out of 100, making it the top-performing city in terms of brand perceptions among respondents from around the world. This achievement is largely attributed to its widespread familiarity among the participants. Familiarity, in this context, refers to the level of knowledge about the city acquired through repeated exposure or personal experience, which in turn fosters a stronger emotional connection to its brand. London’s exceptional brand performance can be attributed to its well-established reputation and widespread recognition.
David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance, commented:
“London’s exceptional performance in the Index can be attributed to its global familiarity. Coming first on this particular measure, London has a huge advantage over its peers, leading to its success in the ranking overall as the world’s best city. Knowing a city allows the public to form positive perceptions about it – to recognise its reputation and to consider it as the preferred place to live, work, study, retire, visit, or invest. High familiarity means a deeper understanding of its qualities and a broader reach of its appeal, allowing the city to draw significant economic benefits from inbound migration, investment, and tourism.”
London emerges as the ultimate winner, securing the top spot in multiple key dimensions, including study and visit, while also ranking within the top four in all other dimensions.
Renowned as a center of academic excellence, London is globally recognized as the best city for pursuing studies. This distinction is well-deserved, given the presence of esteemed universities such as University College London, King’s College London, Imperial College London, and the London School of Economics. Additionally, prestigious preparatory schools like Eton and Harrow, situated in or near London, attract students from all corners of the globe, further enhancing the city’s reputation. It is unsurprising that London secures the first position globally for its exceptional universities and private schools.
London stands as a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from around the world, thanks to its collection of iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. The city’s cultural richness is exemplified by renowned institutions like the British Museum, National Gallery, and the vibrant West End theatre district. London’s well-deserved top global ranking as the best city to visit is further bolstered by its impressive 3rd position for its exceptional museums, art galleries, theatres, and music venues. The city’s strong identity and character contribute significantly to its appeal, earning London the 3rd spot globally in this aspect.
Everyone wants a bite of the Big Apple, coming 2nd behind only London
Taking the 2nd place, just behind London, New York City achieves a notable Brand Finance City Index score of 83.0 out of 100. The city also excels globally, securing the 3rd rank in terms of familiarity. Additionally, New York City earns the impressive 2nd position in three out of the seven key dimensions: invest, study, and visit.
New York City is widely recognized as the world’s financial capital, positioning it as the 2nd best city for investment, just behind Zurich. The city secures the 1st rank for attributes such as being a city of global significance, ease of doing business, and possessing a strong and stable economy. These outstanding attributes contribute to New York City’s allure and make it an appealing choice for investors.
New York City, housing prestigious universities such as Columbia, NYU, and the City University of New York, has gained recognition as the second-best city globally for studying, following closely behind London. It secures the second position for attributes like great universities and leadership in science and technology. The city also performs well, ranking fourth, in terms of exceptional private schools. However, it lags behind London significantly in terms of great publicly funded schools, placing 41st overall. Overall, New York City is perceived as the least affordable city among the ranked cities, securing the 100th position in this aspect.
With its vibrant shopping scene, diverse range of restaurants, and lively nightlife, New York City secures the top spot for attributes like great shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Additionally, the city’s renowned theatres and music venues, including those on Broadway, contribute to its reputation as the “city that never sleeps.” These outstanding qualities make New York City the second-best city globally for visitors, offering a memorable and dynamic experience.
Paris is in vogue, ranked 3rd in the world
Claiming the 3rd position in the ranking, Paris achieves a commendable Brand Finance City Index score of 79.7 out of 100. The city also secures the impressive rank of 2nd in terms of global familiarity, highlighting its widespread recognition and reputation worldwide.
Renowned as the “City of Love,” Paris secures its position as the 3rd best city in the world to visit, further reinforcing its strong familiarity score. Paris boasts a wealth of iconic attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Moulin Rouge. Unsurprisingly, the city excels in the Culture & Heritage pillar, surpassing all other cities by ranking 1st globally for beautiful architecture, exceptional museums and galleries, and outstanding theatres and music venues. In the People & Values category, Paris performs admirably, ranking 2nd globally for being open, welcoming, and fun, as well as for possessing a strong identity and character. However, it falls behind in terms of friendliness, ranking 25th, which may align with certain stereotypes associated with the city.
Zurich leads rankings as the best city in the world to work locally, work remotely, invest, and retire, but low familiarity undermines its reach
Zurich emerges as an extremely sought-after city for various aspects, including working locally, working remotely, investment, and retirement, securing the first position in each of these dimensions. The city achieves outstanding scores in terms of reputation (4th) and consideration (1st) when all seven dimensions are taken into account. However, a relatively lower familiarity score (53rd) prevents it from attaining a higher rank in the overall Brand Finance City Index (17th). Despite this, Zurich remains highly regarded and continues to be an attractive destination for individuals seeking employment, investment opportunities, or a place to retire.
David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance, commented:
“Zurich is a great example of a city brand successful in converting familiarity and perceptions into reputation and ultimately consideration. More so than for other cities, those that get to know Zurich, feel persuaded by its appeal as a destination, especially for work, investment, and retirement. Much like Swiss watch brands, Zurich is a “luxury city brand” – with a lower familiarity among the public, but a high regard among those that know it well. The trade-off of this positioning is a more modest reach than that of more popular city brands, such as London, New York, or Paris.”