I don’t know why this fascinates me so much, but Global Branding has been on my mind a lot. Today’s diversion was this Wired article on Samsung’s Transformation from cheap manufacturer of crappy TVs 10 years ago to design and technology leader, with twice the market capitalization of Sony.
Here’s a list of the top global brands, as reported by Interbrand. The Brand Channel site that hosts the list has some pretty interesting articles, like how global companies successfully localize, such as the defunct Singer corporation, an American company:
By the early twentieth century the German public so widely accepted Singer sewing machines that they were purchased by the German army—to the embarrassment of Singer’s German competitors. Later, during World War II, German aviators avoiding bombing Singer’s European factories because the pilots thought the factories were German-owned.
I think ultimately, the appeal of brands is that they mean something to people. I’m sure the study of brands is related to the study of semiotics in some way, and I bet that following brands on either the local or global scale will teach you something about human nature you didn’t know.