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What language does Brand Power Speak?

When I was growing up, the most useful language to learn was, apparently, German.

When my (much younger) sister was heading for Uni, it was all about speaking Japanese.

Today my son is no doubt being encouraged to learn Mandarin. Or he would, if his secondary school offered it. And it would be an impressive teacher indeed who could persuade him to take up a subject as difficult as that…

China is the focal point of any economic conversation these days – for good reasons or bad, and her status as the world’s ‘second largest economy – soon to be largest’ is well known to anyone following the news. We hear about Weibo and Alibaba as challengers to Google and Amazon respectively, and when the Shanghai stock market sneezes, the world catches a cold.

Which is why I was interested to read an article in Marketing today which summarises the findings published by strategy consultancy Brand Finance, who looked at the league table of brands in terms of ‘power’ of value.

Read Article

Whilst I haven’t read the full report, the summary of the top 10 brand by both measures is striking in one respect: the utter domination of the US.

For all the predictions of the Great Asian Eclipse, the power of the US in terms of brand is still quite staggering.

If you like stats, how about this one: Google and Apple are worth a combined $1.1 TRILLION.

And you have to wonder, with the ambition, vision, drive and creativity that has fuelled this success to date, will the day really arrive when US brands don’t dominate global mass consumption?

Probably, but it will take some doing.

Who can match the Yanks for sheer belief in brand? From burgers to fizzy drinks, fashion to tech, Hollywood to Silicon Valley, they ‘get’ brand engagement – the role of the identity, the language, and above all the people that make it all happen. Whether it’s geeks in t-shirts or uniformed front-of-house staff.

We don’t do it nearly as well here. Do the Chinese?

I’m no futurologist, but the language of global brand power will remain badly-spelt English for some time yet.

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