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1 'Taking A Brand Global: Ten Steps To Success'; I. Introduction: The Importance of Being Global A strong global brand is a powerful weapon. These days, however, it may also be an indispensable one, even as the economy challenges our faith in brands to deliver a profit. According to Interbrand's 'World's Most Valuable Brands 2000'; study, for example, although Amazon's share price has declined, its brand value has increased by 233%. On the other hand, international power player Coca-Cola, although still the world's #1 brand, saw its value drop by 13%. And technology brands did quite well— Microsoft, IBM, Intel, and Nokia placed second through fifth—not at all foreshadowing the precipitous crash in their stock prices about half a year after the study findings were released. Overall, notes marketing writer Jane Bainbridge in Marketing [20 July 2000], Interbrand's second annual study of this kind reveals not only that global brands are 'stable assets,'; but also that 'the most valuable brands are global.'; In fact, she argues, 'to have a billion-dollar brand, a company has to be global.'; II. Branding As The New 'Universal Language'; Based on a recent survey of more than forty-five thousand people across nineteen countries, Young & Rubicam makes a rather startling claim. In its newest Brand Asset Valuator report, issued in March 2001, the firm asserts that brands have taken on a godlike status: consumers find greater meaning in them and the values they espouse than in religion. As Conor Dignam reports in Ad Age Global [12 March 2001], the study claims that superbrands like Calvin Klein, Gatorade, IKEA, Microsoft, MTV, Nike, Virgin, Sony PlayStation, and Yahoo! can therefore also be called 'belief brands.'; Although Dignam argues against the idea that consumers would treat brands as gods (because they will not be dictated to by them), he does accept the implications of the argument and make a different analogy. Brands, he says, are more like 'best friends,'; in that they are an important part of people's lives, do carry specific meanings for the consumer, and they are respected or rejected based on how well they keep their promises. Yet whether one calls them gods or 'best friends,'; brands have clearly started to take on greater importance in consumers' lives. In fact, they have gone from objects with identity to identities in the guise of objects. The trend has gone so far, in fact, that people are beginning to speak the language of brands and even to market themselves as brands in their own right. There is more than one book in print along the lines of Brand Yourself [Ballantine, 2000] devoted strictly to the notion that the

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