The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Branding Strategy Insider welcomes and answers marketing questions of all types. Today's question comes from Petra, a third-year marketing student in Copenhagen, Denmark. She asks:
“For a key assignment I must uncover why many of the top brands in the world are American. Please tell me, is there something within the American culture that gives brands an edge? Are the market conditions different? How come American brands are so successful?”
Petra, thanks for asking, this is a very interesting question. I will give you several hypotheses to explore as you write your paper. Distribution is a key contributor to strong brands because it drives awareness and accessibility (two of the five brand insistence drivers per our BrandInsistenceSM brand equity measurement model). It also leads to economies of scale. The first brands to have aggressively gone global will have several advantages in the marketplace. And, having a large domestic market makes it easier to successfully take a brand global.
Consumer understanding through marketing research is another area to explore. A brand that can anticipate consumer needs and appeal to consumers emotionally, experientially, self-expressively and regarding the alignment of core values will do better than brands that have not uncovered and exploited these consumer insights. Generally, I believe US brands do a good job of leveraging these types of consumer insights, which gives them an advantage.
Next, I would look at the percent of a brand’s revenues that are devoted to marketing. I would compare this by country. I think the stronger US consumer brands understand that brand building is an investment that requires significant funding. A smaller brand that spends 5% of its revenues on brand building will have a very difficult time of gaining mindshare over a larger brand that spends 10% of its revenues on brand building, especially if the larger brand is at least as sophisticated and effective in its marketing spend as the smaller brand is.
I would also explore the history of advertising. While brands and marketing have been around (in one form or another) since the beginning of recorded history, it wasn’t until the industrial revolution, which blossomed in the US, that modern day mass advertising came into existence. For instance, many American brands (such as Coca-Cola and Marlborough) pioneered the 30-second television commercial decades ago.
I hope these areas of exploration will help you answer your paper’s central question. I wish you much success with the assignment. I would be interested in reading about your conclusions if you are willing to share them.
To our readers, what do you think? Why are many of the world's leading brands American?
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