Edited by Bernd H. Schmitt and David L. Rogers
Chapter 17: The Challenges of the Global Brand
17. The challenge of the global brand Hayes Roth ‘We’re a global brand.’ How many times, in how many boardrooms around the world, has this claim been made over the past 30 years? In the 1970s it was almost always more vision than fact, with only a handful of companies able to cite concrete evidence of such status – arguably CocaCola, Pepsi and Pan American Airways; maybe Colgate-Palmolive, IBM and Shell – and even these (with the possible exception of Pan Am) could essentially point only to ‘Western’ markets as their domain. Whole continents were still oﬀ-limits politically and culturally to American and Western European brands. In the 1980s, it was primarily global hope-to-be’s who were beginning to stake ground for the future while struggling to ﬁgure out how to actually get there. Cool start-ups and aggressively reinvented brands in fashion, technology and transportation – Nike, Microsoft, Sony, Apple, British Airways, Honda – began to push frontiers and establish brand reputations far in excess of their actual market footprint. By the 1990s, as the walls between East and West crumbled, the race for global brand domination was on. It became the ‘decade of the brand’ and everyone had to have one. Never mind that the so-called brand was as ethereal as vaporware or as disappointing as the mostly forgotten, ill-conceived, fundamentally ﬂawed online experiments of the late 1990s (remember the Pets.com sock puppet?). Today, global brands aren’t a marketer’s fantasy. They are highly valued, tangible corporate assets that require immense investment and infrastructures...
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