Tokyo, Sydney and Copenhagen claimed the top three spots as the world’s most reputable cities in Reputation Institute’s 2018 City RepTrak®, the world’s largest annual survey of city reputation. These cities are joined by Vienna, Stockholm and Venice, collectively comprising six cities with excellent reputations this year. This is an increase from only two cities with excellent reputations in 2017, as the factors that drive desirability and reputation become increasingly competitive.
Study results demonstrate significant changes in city rankings compared with last year. Tokyo rose 11 spots in the ranks from 2017 to become the most reputable city in the world this year. It led the way in key drivers of city reputation, featuring strongly on perceptions of the Most Respected Leaders, Effective Government and Safe Environment.
According to the Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike, the best approach to city leadership is, “not to rely on the status quo, but to seek change and reform constantly…change in order to preserve.”
In testament to this approach since being elected to office in 2016, Koike has spearheaded city-wide reform implementations to yield elevated success and earn Tokyo the top spot.
Six cities are new to the top 10 in 2018, as Sydney, Copenhagen, Vienna and Stockholm were the only cities still in the top 10 from last year. The top ten cities in the 2018 City RepTrak are:
Among reputation leaders, Copenhagen is recognized this year as the world’s safest city. In reputation rankings, it is #1 for the safest environment for residents and tourists, #2 for well-developed political and legal institutions, and #3 for progressive policies.
Cities that successfully manage their reputations and improve their scores are gaining the most support across stakeholders. This is critical for local policymakers and city-wide leaders concerned about tourism, relocation and investment. The results revealed in the
2018 City RepTrak show that cities with the highest reputations are attracting the most visitors, gain the greatest support from their stakeholders, including intentions to live, work, invest and organize and attend events in the locations.
“The competition for city reputation as the foundation for attracting businesses, a talented workforce and tourists, is only becoming more intense,” said Enrique Johnson, Managing Director at Reputation Institute. “Fostering and developing an effective government is the most important priority for cities to attain a strong reputation. Cities must promote safety, beauty and leadership, which are key attributes driving city reputation and stakeholder support.”
Along with cities that are successfully managing their reputation, many cities are experiencing challenges this year. Reputation is declining across cities overall, and the decline in city reputation (-1.1 pulse points) translates to a drop-in stakeholder support of (-3.4% points). Moscow is this year’s least reputable city, but maintains a strong reputation among the Russian population. Mexico City is perceived as the least safe city, following its most violent first quarter in the past two decades.
For the first time in seven years, safety surpassed beauty as the premier attribute driving reputation.
“This year’s pivotal switch between beauty and safety as the most important attribute is a sign of the current socio-political landscape shaping cities,” said Oliver Freedman, Managing Director at Reputation Institute. “City reputation is comprised of more than just fiscal growth. Underlying feelings of geopolitical tension, nationalism and social unrest contribute to city reputation.”
The top three key attributes driving city reputation in 2018 are safety, beauty and leadership, which together comprise 32.7% of a city’s reputation.