All countries have global brands; they’re famous for something. Germany is incredibly efficient, Norway has terrific social services, the United States is a hotbed of innovation. Most developed nations seem to have a lot of things to brag about, but those who are less developed usually have far fewer.
Perhaps that’s why developed countries are the ones churning out almost all the leading global brands. Products manufactured in developed countries come with an inherently positive perception of high quality. On the other hand, brands from developing nations such as China, India, Mexico and Turkey are often associated with inferior quality, inadequate environmental regulations and illegal labor practices. Therefore, companies from these and other emerging markets face an uphill battle when global branding.
But there are several strategies those companies can use to overcome negative country-of-origin associations. The first is to emphasize their country’s positive aspects. China is famous for its ancient medicine and silk, India for its spices, and Southeast Asia for its beautiful beaches. If brands from these countries position themselves around things the world views positively, they have a better chance of being accepted.
A sneakier strategy is to simply hide the country-of-origin. For some companies, this means shedding region-specific attributes of their brand name and shying away from their own culture in order to better relate to global audiences. By deemphasizing their background, some brands get worldwide consumers to give them a try, and—if their products are worth it—they inspire customer trust and loyalty.
Strong global brands can be an infinitely sustainable resource—given careful marketing. Companies need to develop their brand positioning statements, give their marketing a strong creative flair, and package their products in ways that arouse consumer’s emotions. By investing in powerful, creative advertising campaigns, companies can not only build their own brand but improve the image of their home country, as well.
Currently, Mexican beer brand Corona is the only emerging market brand to have cracked the top 100 list of the most valuable global brands. However, some experts believe brands from emerging markets will become increasingly global and could possibly pose a threat to an established global brands. Even if such predictions are exaggerated, the new wave of branding campaigns coming out of emerging markets should be seen as a wake-up call for leading companies from developed nations. As emerging market companies continue to leverage their home field advantage and push towards global growth, they have a real chance of becoming truly global brands.
This article was published in the 2014 edition of HQ magazine, a publication of CSOFT International. If you’re interested in learning more about CSOFT’s globalization and localization solutions, don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed for automatic updates from Simply CSOFT!