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Decline in US Brand Power?

“Does the rising tide of anti-Americanism hurt American multinationals? The vocal antiwar protesters would like to think so, but there hasn’t been much evidence for a broader consumer turnoff, until now. In an annual survey conducted since 1998, RoperASW has been looking for a connection between the dwindling reputation of America and the worldwide appeal of its top brands, from Disney to Microsoft. It had found no such link until this year, when a survey of 30,000 consumers in 30 major economies found that those who felt an increasing alienation from American culture were also likely to report a growing disinclination to eat at McDonald’s, or to buy Nike shoes. Most startling, 11 of the top 12 American multinationals saw falling or stagnant scores for “brand power,” a measure of how well they are known and liked, while nine of the top 12 European and Asian multinationals saw their scores rise. “It’s an early warning sign,” says RoperASW managing director Tom Miller. “We’re seeing a shift in the balance of brand power.”

What do you think?

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ARCHIVE ID 1527 FILED UNDER Branding and Identity
PUBLISHED ON Jul.23.2003 BY brook
brook’s comment is:

ok, i'm a bastard for double posting. i deleted it in the movable type menu. anyone know why it didn't go away when i did? ah well.

On Jul.23.2003 at 08:55 AM
Tom’s comment is:

If this trend is true and continues, I wonder how long before some of the American multinational power brands change name and image in other countries?

On Jul.23.2003 at 09:03 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

To be fair, aren't US citizens tiring of the Microsofts, McDonalds and Disneys of the world as well?

Maybe that's just wishful thinking...

On Jul.23.2003 at 09:09 AM
Sam Sherwood’s comment is:

I'm inclined to agree with Darrel. I'm sure company's would gladly pass the blame onto anti-American sentiment as of late; however, these companies were on the fall long before the war.

For instance, in Disney's case, one would sooner associate a movie with Pixar. Every recent Disney movie where Pixar isn't part of the effort has been a flop.

I'd say Microsoft's brand image is actually looking up in the past 2 years, but that's just from my perspective.

Really, the negative opinion of American's has been around for a while -- it's nothing new. I think we're just more aware of it now, and it makes for an easy scapegoat. I'm sure the war had some effect, but I highly doubt it is the sole cause of failures in international image.

On Jul.23.2003 at 10:27 AM
Paul’s comment is:

Interesting article. Thanks for the post.

This could be the best hope we have for getting the US government to behave like global citizens. (Who do you think has a greater chance of being heard: hooded anarchists in the streets of Seattle or "concerned" CEOs from Nike, Yahoo and McDonalds at a GOP fundraiser?)

Still, despite the size of the percentage drops, it's only one year of negative numbers. Let's see what they say next year...

On Jul.23.2003 at 10:34 AM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

Yeah a decline in the so called “progressive” socialist-european and Canadian societies The reality of the matter is that there is an incredible demand for American brands and American way of life in the developing world, just ask the Chinese or eastern Europeans. In some regions of the world is still not hip to despise capitalism and free enterprise.

On Jul.23.2003 at 01:30 PM
ss’s comment is:

The ridiculous games that the US started by renaming French Fries to Freedom Fries and by more serious economic bullying such as withholding contracts to countries who didn't support us during our invasion of Iraq, will backfire someday if it hasn't already. The US has more to lose if we play isolationists than any other country on earth.

Plus, many American TV shows broadcast overseas have moved from once prime-time to the shoulder time slots (search the reliable media for harder evidence). Demand for American entertainment seems to be on the decline, if only slightly. Is this a result of anti-war/anti-Americanism? Who knows.

Closer to design, I've noticed that the NY Times web site (as seen in the above link) has started using new art direction in its photography, with the trendy 16x9-ish ratio. I like it.

On Jul.23.2003 at 04:14 PM
Matt’s comment is:

With the ways things seem to be going, it doesn't seem like a completely far fetched speculation. America comes across as one big brand itself. Brand America. A congolmeration of products, companies, politicians, values, attitudes, etc. So unless someone starts to rethink/reshape Brand America's marketing campaign, I sure as hell wouldn't be surprised if American companies begin to loose market power across the seas and even here. That article points out a lot of discerning things that would seem to only point in this direction. It just seems like we can't trust giant brands anymore, or they just don't fullfill us like we want them to. Who's going to take the next step in brand value?

On Jul.23.2003 at 07:57 PM
Glutton’s comment is:

But what is an American brand? Are we talking about an archetypal brand like Coke? Or anything American? For instance, Burger King was, for about ten years, a subsidiary of a British company. Jim Beam currently is. Amoco is owned by BP now. Sony owns a kazillion American-sounding brands.

On Jul.24.2003 at 06:40 AM
Ikaika’s comment is:

The war made me boycott a lot of american brands but I haven't abstain myself to download/steal them. I'm not anti-american whatsoever but I believe that all those major brands could have voiced their opinion to bush and the world that they don't support the war but it never happend. In fact most americans supported it so they don't deserve my euro's.

On Jul.24.2003 at 09:31 PM
Todd’s comment is:

I think the trend is overstated, and probably mostly wishful thinking on the part of many. Check out this week's Business Week article "Brands in an Age of Anti-Americanism", which accompanies their annual ratings of the top 100 global brands, determined with the assistance of InterBrand. Of the top ten brands, 8 are US companies and of those 8, only three had declining brand power: Disney, McDonald's, and Marlboro. Moreover, looking at those three, their decline can be almost exclusively attributed to internal screw-ups and mis-management, not anti-Americanism (though McDonalds and Disney probably are most at risk of damage from growing anti-Americanism.) American companies took 63 of the 100 spots.

While Europeans, no less self-righteous than Yankees, may look down their nose at American brands, the developing world can't get enough. And their populations are growing while Europe's native population shrinks. On the whole, American brands can assume the future looks bright for continued dominance.

On Jul.26.2003 at 03:49 PM
Joy’s comment is:

Europe's native population is shrinking? Where does one get stats for that? Does it come from net migration to "cool" countries like America, or general not-having-five-children-in-a-family-ness? (the latter being that modern trend where less people want to have kids, which is supposedly happening more for more "civilized"/modernized countries)

It's too bad, because maybe its just a huge generalization, but I've always thought Europeans are way ahead in their thinking.

(Wind power is one solid example for that, if you want to know along what lines I'm referring to when I said "ahead"... http://www.awea.org/news/news040310glo.html

if you're curious.. its amazing [and sad] but true)

On Jun.03.2004 at 08:35 PM