For past few months, I have visited almost half a dozen cities in four countries on three continents. And I have seen some new symbols of globalization. Unlike the past, when Coca Cola, Levi’s and McDonald’s were icons of globalization, today the brands are very different. They aren’t entirely American, but instead very global.
Today, I am more likely to find H&M, Zara and Diesel in different cities. Weird? But not as weird as the iPad ads on a bus stop in Berlin, in a metro station in Helsinki. Samsung televisions and now Galaxy phones, Ulysses Nardin (watches) and Montblanc boutiques (writing instruments), Hugo Boss (clothes) are new symbols of globalization.
The new brands are a reflection of two major trends – US doesn’t have the brand hegemony as it competes with all comers from around the planet. The reason why we are seeing more international brands is because the planet is more connected to the Internet, which allows brand messaging to spread much faster than in the past. The consumer is global and more open to new concepts.
For instance, the hacker-founder culture popularized by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (and the movie The Social Network) has resulted in more founders in many countries wearing the hoodies-t-shirts-denim uniform. And one more I have seen pretty much universally — Linksys SSID on WiFi networks.
Anyway of all the brands I love seeing everywhere — Illy, the Italian coffee brand. Why? because it makes sure that I don’t drink Starbucks coffee. Anyway glad to be home!