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Finding the red thread: Lessons from American brands

Driving across the country is enough to remind anyone not only how geographically expansive the US is, but also just how disparate a culture we are “under one nation”. Besides surprise at how much of the country really is corn fields, one is also forced to recognize that American culture is not just that of its individual metropolitan centers. On the contrary, much of American culture is characterized by…

Driving across the country is enough to remind anyone not only how geographically expansive the US is, but also just how disparate a culture we are “under one nation”. Besides surprise at how much of the country really is corn fields, one is also forced to recognize that American culture is not just that of its individual metropolitan centers. On the contrary, much of American culture is characterized by the ethos of the people in its heartlands and beyond. An examination of the top American brands shows their ability to appeal to and unite disparate American groups, appealing to the American story at large.

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So what then are the red threads that connect us as American people? Sparxoo has identified the trends that mark the culture today in itsState of the Union report. But, with every trend there are countertrends. With support, comes opposition. A closer look at the struggles and successes of the following American brands, serves to further shed light on the milieu of America today and provides “American” marketing lessons.

1. Nike: Performance- Before Obama’s “yes we can”, there was Nike’s “just do it”. Both slogans are quintessentially American for what they represent: hope. America was founded on the hope of a better future and Nike similarly encourages and motivates its consumers to believe they can do “it” and perform to their personal best… whatever that may be. Allowing each individual to uniquely interpret their goals and strive to achieve them is what makes Nike compelling and is a familiar story that resonates with the American people. Of course, the journey is not without struggles both for Americans and for Nike. Nike faced a lot of controversy over their corporate practices but has managed to swell the countercurrent by emphasizing another American trait: humility and transparency. Not admitting to perfection is honorable and also something that the working American people can empathize with. Nike’s brand successfully represents the aspirational reality to be your individual best.

2. Apple: Innovation- America can identify with the “other”, the “underdog”, the struggle for recognition—it is something deep in its colonial history. Besides the product offering itself, the ingenious resourcefulness of Apple to stand on its own unapologetically against its monolithic opposition—Microsoft—also resonates with the American story. This relentless determination, confidence, entrepreneurialism, and its formidable goals resonates with the American people. Furthermore, if Italy has their fashion and England has their tea, America can be characterized by their innovation. Apple is known for inspiring creativity and design. Here to, Apple’s innovative brand represents America.

3. Walmart: Access- American culture is often identified as one of excess and consumption. As has been argued against America at large, Wal-Mart has been said to offer cheap products that have been made for disposable consumption- without deference to the people or the…

To read more about American brands, go to Sparxoo, a digital marketing, branding and business development blog.