Selling its products to make a profit is something businesses desire, and the next level up is making the business a household name or a brand. Read this case study about branding and answer the critical thinking questions. Then, write a 700-word essay reflection about creating a brand using social media.


U.S. Brands Face Global Competition

America is the cradle of the consumer goods brand. Here, a free-spending and marketing-saturated public nurtured Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and countless others to maturity. Many of those brands grew up to conquer other societies, as well.

But American brands' domination in the global marketplace is eroding. From Samsung to Toyota to Mercedes Benz to SAP, companies in Europe and Asia are turning out top-quality goods and selling them as such rather than competing on price. "There are longer-term trends toward greater competition. The United States was the only global brand country [but] that's no longer the case," says Earl L. Taylor, chief marketing officer of the Marketing Science Institute. "Consumers prefer brands that they take to be of higher quality" regardless of the country of origin, he notes. "Increasingly, there will be other successful global brands in the U.S. [market]".

Of the brands at the top of Interbrand's recent list of the world's most valuable, four of the top five still originate in the United States; the five most valuable are Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft, while Toyota (Japan) comes in at number five. American companies have lost the most ground in the middle tier of recognizable brand names, says George T. Haley, professor of marketing at the University of New Haven's School of Business.

One area from which U.S. brands are feeling the pressure is the Asia-Pacific region, which harbors the fastest-growing emerging markets today. In the appliance category, two Chinese companies, Haier and Kelon, are becoming top competitors for well-known U.S. brands Whirlpool and Maytag. In fact, Haier bought GE's appliance division in 2016. The Chinese branding trend is not confined only to hard goods. Sporting goods and sportswear brand Li Ning, well known within China, is building its international profile. While the Chinese basketball team wore Nike uniforms at the Athens Olympic Games, the Spanish team wore Li Ning apparel. The threat to U.S. brands is not confined to China, however. South Korean brands, such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, have emerged on the global stage in specific categories, such as smartphones, household appliances, and automobiles.

The animosity that many Europeans feel toward the United States is translated into a preference for European or even Asian brands at the expense of U.S. brands. Plus, experts say, European brands are simply becoming stronger and more consistent.

Meanwhile, European brands are gaining momentum in the areas of white goods and consumer goods, putting the pressure on such well-known U.S. brands as Bissell and Hoover, experts say. For instance, Gaggenau is a popular, high-end European kitchen appliance brand, along with Bosch and Dyson. Other European brands maintaining cachet – if not always the allure of luxury – include Absolut, Virgin, Mini (as in Cooper), Red Bull, and Ikea.

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. What can U.S. multinational firms do to regain and maintain their leadership in global branding? Are there sectors and product areas where U.S. brands are gaining share?
  2. Do you think that the quality of American products and services is declining, or that the rest of the world is just getting better? Explain your answer.

Source: Rice University,
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Last modified: Friday, November 12, 2021, 3:54 AM