According to a 2020 Forbes report, of the 100 most popular brands in the world, Apple, Google and Microsoft ranked in the top spots respectively. What do all of these brands have in common? They are American–regardless of the origin of the founder(s). This means despite all of the US political wrangling in recent years, people still manage to separate American companies from American local and international political interests. Whether this can or should be done is up for debate, what matters is that branding has made it possible for companies to do more and remain in markets that would be less permissive if the brand was not so popular.
Branding is not something that companies or even nations can afford not to do. Branding can and does go beyond products and services. It also goes to the national aesthetic. How much do citizens and expat laud their home country? How much is it lauded and well represented in local media and entertainment. How valuable is that national brand–not just for tourism, but also for national pride and as an image of productivity and growth?
The national brand can and should be cultivated. Many developing economies have not yet began to tap into this powerful dynamic.
Branding is fundamental. It is the missing component for tons of products and services as well as internationally exported resources. No one lauds Ghana chocolate, but they do love Hershey, Cadbury and Belgium Chocolate. An irony, that such brands could not exist without chocolate from West Africa. Again, we know OxyContin maker Purdue Farmer and Johnson & Johnson but we don’t know any of the opium farmers in Afghanistan which is the largest opiod producer in the world. The US pulled out of Afghanistan on August 30, 2021, just days before Purdue Pharma owners won Immunity the following month from further litigation for the opioid crisis.
Brands are often divorced from their source in the minds of the public. This is why it is important to develop a brand that gives life to some of your most valuable industries. Even local companies that manufacture and export to big international brands, must develop its own homegrown brand for export. Why is that important? It is important, because trading partners can change and international politics can intervene. This will leave your company, industry or resource a producer without a middle man buyer, and tons of products that cannot sell at volume.
Branding helps you sell your products easier. People are more inclined to buy or use a Samsung mobile phone, a Toyota car or a Maersk Line Logistics contract than a “generic” non-brand. Get your products, services, industries and natural resources out of the “generic” non-brand dundgeon.
Today some of the fastest growing brands are in tech and innovation, with Pinduoduo, Tesla, and TikTok taking a notable place in recent rankings acvording to Visual Capitalist. However, branding doesn’t altogether require a great product, just the conceptions that it is. For instance, the electric car was first developed in 1890 by William Morrison, and some of the first portable video devices were handheld games and televisions in the 1980s and today’s million dollar “Space flights,” depend on technology developed as far back as 1961 when Yuri Alekseyevich Garin of the former USSR became the first man in space. Improving on a product, service or system is a timeless human practice–and your ability to brand those developments matter in dollars and cents.
Don’t just sell, brand.
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