News on the latest in the anti-American feeling abroad and its consequences for American brands.
According to the Edelman companys annual “trust barometer,” a survey of 1,500 opinion leaders throughout the world, 32 percent of Europeans polled in January said they were less likely to purchase products made by companies in the United States because of disagreements with American culture. The Coca-Cola brand, for example, was “trusted” by 69 percent of respondents in the United States but by only 45 percent in Europe and 46 percent in Canada. Procter & Gamble products, which include Vicks, Folgers, Charmin, Clairol and Pampers brands, were trusted by 74 percent of Americans but only 44 percent of Europeans.
Edelman suggests brands avoid ‘treat[ing] Europe as if it had a single, homogenous culture. Edelman says, “That’s one of the secrets here. There’s no such thing as global media.
Exactly. And while were at it, we might avoid treating America as if it had a single, homogenous culture. This is another way of saying that glib, simple minded anti-Americanism is wrong for many reasons, but the most compelling is that there is no single American mentality or point of view.
Brands that stands for America may once have stood for a monolithic. (This might have been particularly true when they stood for mid-century modernism.) But now they stand for a multiplicity.
Or to put this in a more pugent marketing formulae: Brand America is actually Brand Americans, and Brand Americans are diverse. There are many ways to roll this out. One of the simplest is to argue that Brand America is about the Americans you know, not the country you imagine.
When you think about how hard America has worked to inspire, enable, and various license its multiplicity, it does seem like this should be one of the payoffs: a new versatility when it comes to crafting an image for itself overseas.
OBrien, Kevin. 2005. U.S. Companies Rethinking Their Marketing in Europe. New York Times. February 14, 2005.