The New New Globalization.

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!

Responses

  1. Jan Chipchase (@janchip) says:

    April 2nd, 2012 at 7:43 pm Reply

    FYI the Illy – Coke partnership is limited to a joint venture that focusses on premium coffee in a can, but doesn’t stretch to the coffee that you enjoyed in-store. You get to enjoy the taste of independence a least a little while longer.

    Most recent Coke press release: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/dynamic/press_center/2011/05/lower-calorie-decadence-anytime-anywhere.html

    Here in China the country waking up to the potential of good coffee – and Illy is part of that drive, but its do it in a culture that often values the grand theatre of making coffee at the expense of the taste, and where the Illy sign does not always equate to Illy coffee in the cup or a trained barista at the pump.

    The only thing worse than no coffee is bad coffee.

  2. Roman Reyhani (@romanreyhani) says:

    March 31st, 2012 at 6:56 am Reply

    Om:
    Great post. I love America, what it stands for, and how it has pushed humanity forward in so many areas. However, I am also really excited about the ‘rise of the rest’ as Farid Zakaria put it. The emergence of new non-American global brands is a sign of the coming of age of humanity. We’re entering a new era where great ideas and great products can succeed regardless of their origins. Yes, the Europeans with BMW and Hugo Boss are already there. So are the Japanese with their electronics and cars. It’s now just a matter of time until global market leading brands rise from the likes Brazil, Rwanda, or Eastern Europe. As market economics, political stability and entrepreneurship are fostered in such countries, we’re going to have the most incredible global economic boom in the history of humanity. And the benefits of this will be enjoyed by all.

  3. JoRoan (@JoRoan) says:

    March 31st, 2012 at 5:13 am Reply

    Would it bum you out that Illy is a Coca-Cola brand? I didn’t know until last week during a visit to Atlanta. Scattered along with the litany of acquired brands around the office cubes was the little red square.

    So, question, is it still brand hegemony if it’s not visible? Because the true owner (or JV partner) is not normally within the peripheral vision of consumer-level awareness.

    1. Om Malik says:

      March 31st, 2012 at 1:21 pm Reply

      Wow, JoRoan that indeed is interesting wrinkle but the fact remains is that it is a brand which became famous elsewhere and as a result perhaps got acquired. Anyway are we likely to see more such cross border transactions? My suspicion is yes. What do you think?

  4. Rich Brauer says:

    March 25th, 2012 at 9:20 am Reply

    Um, Pete, you listed Hoover and Heinz as if they were non-US brands. They both are.

    And I do find it fascinating that you seem to think that the biggest brands in the auto industry are European. And premium, apparently.

    Of the 5 biggest car manufacturers in the world, two are American, two are Japanese, and then there’s Volkswagen and its group.

    Oh, and sweetie? Jaguar and Landy are both owned by Tata.

    Might be time for you to travel a bit more.

  5. Anand Subramanian says:

    March 23rd, 2012 at 8:35 am Reply

    I believe I get the drift here, but try as I might, still fail to grasp your entire thrill at these new-found symbols of globalization, if at all they maybe permitted to be termed so. As a nomad born and brought up in India, having worked in five different countries, a new-found symbol of globalization that I found striking was finding an ad of ICICI bank (what my Chinese banker in Toronto called the ichi-ichi bank) at a bus stop in the twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario and that too, way back when I was a grad student in 2005. Well, I guess there are always examples and then more examples – and then some more. But being worthy of a gigaom post? Ah, another matter that…Cheers – Anand

    1. Om Malik says:

      March 23rd, 2012 at 3:10 pm Reply

      Anand

      I think you didn’t even read the domain I use for my personal blog and not “GigaOm”. Thanks for reading.

  6. Pete says:

    March 23rd, 2012 at 2:59 am Reply

    Only someone from the US could have such a narrow view of globalisation (note spelling ;-) ) as to think that it is all about US brands. Just to consider one industry, the automotive industry, what would you say are the biggest brands here? Almost entirely European! The likes of Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Land Rover, and Jaguar for example. Ford may have kicked off the industry but lets be honest, US cars compared with European cars (or even far eastern brands like Toyota) are very poor. Just look at the state of the manufacturing economy in Detroit…

    Of course this myopia isn’t limited to the automotive industry. There list of examples is endless, for example, Hoover, Heinz, and Harry Potter!

    1. Om Malik says:

      March 23rd, 2012 at 5:42 am Reply

      Only someone who doesn’t read can have such a narrow view of the writer. As global nomad, who grew up in India and has made a career by finding stories in other locations, I perhaps understand globalization better than you assume I do. I would be thrilled if you actually took a minute and thought before typing out your comment.

  7. itgirrrlsdn says:

    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:35 am Reply

    Om, thank you for your insights. Anything would be better than Starbucks! (Think Dunkin Donuts coffee!) Btw, I wonder if you’d be open to discussing your “pain points” as a traveler. I’m doing a survey of people who travel frequently, basing my hypothesis on a 2012 study. But without prejudicing you by mentioning its findings, I wonder what your personal frustrations are while traveling, or while booking travel. I apologize if this is the wrong forum to ask. I can also be reached at saba dot rmf @ gmail if you wish to comment.
    Best,
    Saba

  8. rich pesce (@rpesce) says:

    March 22nd, 2012 at 6:58 am Reply

    I am certainly not the world traveler you are Om, but agree – any day I can see Illy – and have an Illy espresso, is a good day! Thanks for the post.

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