How global are global brands?

Global Brands and Branding
Marketing is what you do, branding is what you are

Both scholars and practitioners agree the current trend towards globalization is real and accelerating. Consistent with this trend, many companies have changed their strategy from a multi-domestic marketing approach to a focus on global brands. Even though the globalization imperative has been present for more than twenty years (after Levitt’s seminal article in 1983), not many brands can be called truly global. Additionally, in most of brand value rankings published by research agencies at the national level, the top positions feature a mixture of global and local brands.

The phenomenon of globalization is explained by several factors, including the expansion of global media, critical advances in telecommunications (Internet being its best representative), increased feasibility in foreign travel and international investments.

All these forces have promoted an increased similarity in lifestyles across the world, taking to the emergence of a “global consumer culture” (Alden et al, 1999). On the contrary, other scholars argue that local cultures are still a very powerful force shaping consumers’ preferences and still others identify a tendency in consumers to “hybridize” (Holton, 2000), “glocalize” (Ritzer, 2003) or “creolize” as a way to blend global and indigenous cultural forces.


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Forbes: Apple, Microsoft And Google Are World’s Most Valuable Brands
A strong brand name is an incredibly valuable asset. Consumer companies in particular devote huge chunks of time and resources to solidify and expand their brands. “A valuable brand delivers a return for the company on two dimensions,” says David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “Either it allows the company to charge a premium price or it adds more volume or market share.”

How global are global brands?
An empirical brand equity analysis

By Thomas Cleff, Lena Fischer, César Sepúlveda and Nadine Walter from Pforzheim University

The term “global brand” has become a widely used term: Business Week publishes annually its well known ranking of the “Best Global Brands”. Consumers who travel find their favorite brands also in stores in foreign countries. Although media and consumers call these brands “global” and centralized marketing departments manage these brands globally – are these “global brands” really global? Are they truly perceived everywhere in the same way by the customers? Can we talk about global brand equity? Is the brand image the same in different countries?

The authors conducted an empirical research with more than 700 students in Germany and Mexico in order to compare the global brand Apple ipod in the two countries (research period: May to June 2009). The goal was to identify if brand awareness or brand image of the Apple iPod differ between the two countries within a homogenous consumer group. In addition, influencing factors were identified to explain any differences. The results show that brand image perception in Germany and Mexico is quite different – even for such a “global brand” as the Apple ipod. The results question strictly standardized marketing instruments which global brand management teams in many consumer goods companies use for its presumable “global brands”. Differences in brand equity suggest that a more differentiated approach that takes into account specific local brand images might be more suitable for “global brands” who turn out not to be so global.

The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

By James Heaton
Branding should both precede and underlie any marketing effort. Branding is not push, but pull. Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.

Best Global Brands

Interbrand’s Best Global Brands is the definitive list of the world’s most valuable brands. Find out the world’s top 100 brands and the leadership strategies here.