New Delhi clinches the title as India’s top city with Bangalore and Mumbai following closely behind

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*With a score of 84.6/100, London tops the inaugural Brand Finance City Index, based on a global survey of 15,000

  • New York and Paris are close behind in 2nd and 3rd among 100 cities in the ranking
  • New Delhi is India’s top-ranked city, out-performing fellow Indian cities for familiarity
    *Bangalore (96th), and Mumbai (98th) both feature in the study

Ranking 1st across India as well as 95th globally, New Delhi is ranked amongst the top 100 of the world’s best city brands, according to the inaugural Brand Finance City Index released today. Presented by brand evaluation consultancy Brand Finance, the ranking is based on a global survey of close to 15,000 members of the public conducted in April 2023 in 20 countries on all continents to measure perceptions of the world’s top 100 cities. The Index has named London as the best city brand in the world, followed by New York and Paris.

With a Brand Finance City Index score of 54.8/100, New Delhi outperformed fellow Indian cities included in the ranking in terms of familiarity on the global stage, ranking 57th. As the capital city of India, this higher familiarity is unsurprising, and has likely also contributed to the city’s 48th position for the attribute City with a strong identity/character/civic pride. Owing to its numerous iconic landmarks such as the Red Fort, India Gate, and Jama Masjid, New Delhi was also the highest ranked Indian city in terms of beautiful architecture.

To arrive at a comprehensive assessment of the city brands in the ranking, alongside measuring familiarity, the survey asked the respondents about the general reputation and their personal consideration of each city as a place to live, work locally, work remotely, study, retire, visit, or invest in. The evaluation of preferences across these seven dimensions was complemented by perceptions of 45 underlying city brand attributes, grouped under seven pillars, such as Business & Investment or Sustainability & Transport.

Bangalore, ranking just behind New Delhi in 96th, is the 2nd best city brand in India. Bangalore out-performs its fellow Indian cities in terms of business and innovation related metrics. For example, it performs well in Business & Trade and Education & Science, ranking globally 66th and 74th respectively. This is supported by solid scores in attributes such as Great for start-ups and innovations (24th), 26th for attractive corporate taxation, 59thfor easy to do business with, and 64thfor future growth potential.

Mumbai (98th) is the final Indian city included in the study. Weaker Liveability across some of the markets included in the research is undermining its overall rank in the Brand Finance City Index. Respondents did however acknowledge Mumbai as an extremely Affordable city (8th), with readily available access to a skilled workforce (18th). The city also performed well in terms of a rich history and heritage (46th) and Outstanding cultural festivals (32nd).

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

With a score of 84.6 out of 100, driven by its high familiarity among respondents worldwide, London has recorded stronger brand perceptions than any other city in the study. Familiarity is understood as knowledge about the city gained through repeated exposure or direct experience, and it allows one to form a deeper affinity for the brand.

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.”

Crowned as the overall winner, London ranks 1st in two of the seven key dimensions – study and visit – as well as in the top 4 in all other ones.
Renowned as a hub for academic excellence, London is ranked as the best city globally to study. The British capital hosts top universities – such as University College London, King’s College London, Imperial College London, and the London School of Economics, while prestigious schools in and near London that prepare for university – like Eton and Harrow –attract students from around the world. It is no surprise that the city comes 1st globally for great universities and great private schools.

Thanks to iconic landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London, and renowned cultural institutions like the British Museum, National Gallery, and the West End theatre district, London is a prime tourist destination. London’s top global ranking as the best city to visit is supported by its 3rd place for great museums and art galleries and great theatres and music venues. The appeal of London can also be attributed to its strong identity and character, where London ranks 3rd globally.

Everyone wants a bite of the Big Apple, coming 2nd behind only London

New York City has secured 2nd spot, behind London, with a Brand Finance City Index score of 83.0 out of 100. NYC also ranks 3rd globally in familiarity and boasts 2nd spot in three out of the seven key dimensions: invest, study, and visit.

Widely regarded as the global capital of finance, NYC ranks 2nd behind only Zurich as the best city to invest in. It comes 1st for a city of global significance, is easy to do business in, and has strong and stable economic attributes, which explains its appeal to investors.

Home to several of the world’s most esteemed universities – including Columbia, NYU, and the City University of New York – the Big Apple has also been recognised as the 2nd best city in the world to study in behind only London. It is 2nd for the great universities and leader in science and technology attributes, comes 4th for great private schools, but falls much behind London on great publicly funded schools, ranking 41st overall. In general, NYC is perceived as the least affordable city in the ranking, coming 100th.

Ranking 1st for great shopping, restaurants and nightlife and 2nd for great theatres and music venues, home to Fifth Avenue shops and Broadway theatres, NYC lives up to its name as the ‘city that never sleeps’. As a result, NYC ranks as the 2nd best city in the world to visit.

Paris is in vogue, ranked 3rd in the world
Paris rounds off the podium, coming 3rd in the ranking with a Brand Finance City Index score of 79.7 out of 100. Paris is also ranked as the world’s 2nd most familiar city.

Complementing its strong familiarity score, the ‘City of Love’ is also ranked as the 3rd best city in the world to visit. Boasting an abundance of renowned attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Moulin Rouge, Paris unsurprisingly scores better than any other city in the Culture & Heritage pillar, ranking 1st globally for beautiful architecture, great museums and galleries, and great theatres and music venues. The French capital also performs strongly in People & Values, ranking 2nd globally for being open and welcoming, fun, and having a strong identity and character, but falling behind on being friendly where it ranks 25th – perhaps in line with stereotypes.

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 is a highly desirable destination to work locally, work remotely, invest, and retire, claiming the top spot for each dimension. The city scores exceptionally well on reputation (4th)and consideration (1st)when considering all seven dimensions combined too, but a low score on familiarity (53rd) prevents it from taking a higher spot in the overall Brand Finance City Index ranking (17th).

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.”