OPINION: American Dream Could Prove a Nightmare for Future US Brands

Article excerpt

The 90s were a golden era for both brands and the US. For US citizens, it was the Clinton era and the greatest decade in a golden century of unparalleled fiscal growth.

It was also a remarkable period in the history of branding. It was the decade that saw the revitalisation of Coca-Cola and its return to the top after its mistakes in the cola wars of the 80s. It opened with Microsoft developing its Windows line and ended with it being acknowledged as a global branding marvel. The decade witnessed Intel pulling off the branding coup of the century by turning boring old microprocessors into the key component brand in one of the most lucrative markets the world had ever seen.

As these three notable examples suggest, the rise of the US and the rise of brands were not entirely independent. Rather, the two grew symbiotically.

In last year's Interbrand survey of the world's most valuable brands, 37 of the leading 50 brands were owned and operated from the US. It may well be the biggest economic power in the world, but the US' relative share of the phenomenon that is branding far exceeds even this position.

There are many reasons for this imbalance in branding power. US marketers are trained at powerhouse schools such as Harvard, Wharton and Stanford to build brands brilliantly, while European counterparts rely on creativity and 'gut feel'. But perhaps a more obvious explanation for the supremacy of US brands can be found in their brand equity. Every brand possesses unique brand equity, but for many powerbrands, one of the sources of that uniqueness is brand heritage. …