British Icon Index

The Premier League tops the British Icon Index

The Premier League has topped the British Icon Index for the third time, outperforming other leading British organisations and brands in making people around the world feel positively about the United Kingdom.

The British Icon Index is an analysis of 14 key British institutions, industries, and brands, looking at how the public across 11 different countries respond to them. Yonder Consulting conducted at least 1,000 interviews in each country, with respondents asked to rate these ‘icons’ on 10 attributes or measures.

The 14 institutions under analysis were the Premier League, Rolls-Royce, British Universities, British Airways, the BBC, Jaguar Land Rover, British film, British music, British fashion, The British Council, HSBC, The Monarchy, Dyson, and Harrods.

Key findings from the British Icon Index include:

  • The Premier League topped the British Icon Index league table, with Rolls-Royce and British Universities second and third, confirming the Premier League as a key UK export success story
  • 87% of all respondents said that the Premier League makes them think more positively of Britain
  • The Premier League came top in five markets across Africa and Asia (Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam). Rolls-Royce came top in another five, and British Universities are first in Brazil
  • The Premier League performed strongly across a range of attributes, receiving the highest ‘familiarity’ and ‘favourability’ scores across the markets
  • The Premier League ranked positively across all demographics, but particularly among the ‘leaders of tomorrow’, ranking top amongst young people aged 18-34

Respondents were asked to rate each institution on attributes such as how modern, exciting, and trusted they are, as well as ranking how recognisable they are globally. The results were then analysed by Yonder to find the hidden attribute which comes closest to combining all the positive qualities tested. How much of this hidden ‘X factor’ each icon has is what determines their place in the British Icon Index.

As in previous studies, luxury brands such as Rolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover continued to perform well across each market polled, as did institutions like British Universities and the BBC. However, it is the global reach of the Premier League which again saw it emerge top of the British Icon Index, performing particularly strongly in South-East Asia and Africa.

Once more the Premier League demonstrated its ability to engage across populations beyond those interested in football, and with an unrivalled appeal among young people.

Richard Masters, Premier League Chief Executive said: “For more than 30 years, the Premier League has delivered incredible football that has captured the imagination of fans all over the world. This is thanks to the world’s best players producing thrilling matches week in, week out and the global profile of our clubs.

“Football has the power to inspire people of all ages and we are proud to have come out on top of the British Icon Index for the third time, ahead of a number of other globally recognised organisations.”

Andrew Bowie, Minister for Exports at the Department for International Trade said: “What a hat-trick for the Premier League. It’s truly fantastic to see one of the UK’s most valuable brands and biggest exports thriving across the world and winning this accolade for the third time in a row.

 “With broadcast exports alone worth a huge £1.4bn in 2020, the League’s global success is an export success story – growing the economy and supporting nearly 100,000 jobs in the UK.”

Rick Nye, Senior Counsel Yonder commented: “As the UK seeks to strengthen alliances globally, the country needs icons that are at once universally recognised and admired and capable of engaging people around the world. The Premier League stands as the very best of these.”

The British Icon Index III can be read and downloaded here.