Okay. It’s hot. Very HOT here in Western Pennsylvania at the confluence of the Three Rivers. Where, the iconic Point State Park fountain flows again. And, more and more, Pirates fans are dreaming of not just but the first .500 season in almost two decades but maybe, just maybe, the playoffs.

But what caught my eye recently was this report (pdf) from Pew Research Global Attitudes Project. The news? The United States continues to be viewed more favorably than China around the world, 63% to 50%. Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. is viewed more favorably in all regions of the world but for the Middle East. Nonetheless, there are some surprises. Like the fact that 64% of French citizens have a favorable opinion of the U.S., but only 58% of Britons and 53% of Germans feel the same way. Moreover, while a majority of those polled still consider the U.S. the world’s dominant economic power, a majority of Canadians and most Western Europeans give that consideration to China.

I thought I’d note these Pew Research reports because they are fed by and feed into one of the most important aspects of franchising: The Brand. I’m positive that the U.S. is viewed favorably around the world because of iconic U.S. brands like Coca Cola, The Marlboro Man, and the Golden Arches, just to name a few.

Franchising clearly plays an essential role spreading U.S. culture, business practices, and ethics abroad. This month, Entrepreneur Magazine is out with its list of the Top 200 Global Franchises of 2013. Number one on the list? 7-Eleven. In fact, 7-Eleven has more stores in Japan–its number one market–than in the U.S. Which reminds me–a Slurpee is a great way to beat the heat. Oh Thank Heaven!