Sydney has the world’s best city reputation according to Reputation Institute’s 2013 City RepTrak Study, which surveys more than 22,000 people from G8 countries in early 2013.

Along with Sydney, which received a score of 77.4 on a 100-point scale, the top five cities include Toronto (76.9), Stockholm (76.9), Vienna (76.9) and Venice (75.8). At the opposite end of the scale are Cairo (46.1), Nairobi (44.4), Karachi (43.5), Tehran (32.1) and Baghdad (28.5).

Europe has a clear dominance of the global reputation stage, with an average of 76.5 points and 15 cities listed within the top twenty. The European cities additionally improved by an average of 3.1 points in relation to 2012 scores, compared to a global average increase of just 1.4 points.

“The cities with the best reputations are those which have been able to maintain a balance and certain leadership in each of the three dimensions of our model, while those cities with a poor reputation show bias towards fewer of the mentioned dimensions,” says Fernando Prado, responsible for the Place Reputation Unit of Reputation Institute.

“The results also demonstrate that neither the number of inhabitants nor the gross domestic product is an essential factor in the construction of a good reputation.”

The results also highlight the key drivers of a good reputation: the beauty of the urban environment (the most influential); safety; the cultural, gastronomy and entertainment offering; or standards of living, all of which are common characteristics of the top five cities. Occasionally the size of a city helps in building a good reputation.

The yearly City RepTrak Study ranks the world’s 100 most reputable cities based on levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect, as well as perceptions regarding 13 attributes, grouped into three dimensions: “advanced economy” (headquarters to many leading companies, technologically advanced, financially stable), “appealing environment” (a beautiful city, a safe city) and “effective government” (favorable environment for doing business, run by well-respected leaders, progressive social, economic and environmental policies).

Study results confirm the link between city reputations and economic outcomes. “People have images of a city on their mind when they are deciding to go on holiday there, to live or work there, or to buy products originated there,” says Prado. “Our modeling demonstrates that a city that knows how to effectively manage its reputation can attract more tourists, greater investment or a bigger influx of talent.”

The top trends, according to the Reputation Institute:
1. The reputation of a country affects the reputation of its cities: There is a demonstrated correlation between the reputation of a city and the reputation of the country in which it is located. In general terms, the reputation of a city is slightly above that of its respective country, although there are some notable exceptions.
2. American cities continue to improve their reputations: The worst appears to be over for the American cities. New York increases 7.8 points, making it the city with the best reputation in the USA. Boston improves by 7.3 points; Los Angeles, 4.5 points; Miami, 4.0 points.
3. Cities in Italy and Greece are recovering: The recovery of both Greece’s and Italy’s reputations recorded in the Country RepTrak Study 2013 is also reflected in their cities. Athens, which fell 14 points in 2012, this year improves by 7.6 points. For its part, in Italy, Venice increases 6.3 points; Florence, 5.3; Rome and Milan, 4.2.
4. The “emerging” cities are trending downwards: While the growth in the reputations of emerging countries such as Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, Taiwan, Indonesia or Malaysia is positive, the reputations of the cities in these countries fall by a combined average of 3.0 points.
5. Awareness helps, but awareness alone is not sufficient: Being a well-known city is not synonymous with having a good reputation. Sydney (1st in the 2013 ranking), Stockholm (3rd) and Vienna (4th) all have awareness levels significantly below those of Paris, New York, Rome or Tokyo, which have a worse reputation.
6. Europe dominates the global stage in reputation: European cities lead the ranking with an average reputation of 69.8 points, almost two points above the average of the cities in North America (68.1). Asia-Pacific cities have on average a reputation of 57.3 points, while the Latin-American city average is 55.5 points. The cities with the worst reputations are African, with an average of 53.2 points.