National values are still crucial

In his column “Forget John Bull and embrace Europe for a cooler Britannia” (MW November 13), George Pitcher argues that in a rapidly globalising world, national brand identities are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

The evidence suggests exactly the opposite.

I am struck by the extent to which national brand values still bring key credentials to some markets, but major image problems to others.

Americanness, for example: great in jeans and fast food, dodgy in cars and cheese. Frenchness: good for wine and fashion, not great for consumer electronics or rock ‘n’ roll music. Japaneseness: yes to cameras and motorbikes, no to shoes and packaged holidays.

It is also curious how quickly some of these national stereotypes can change. American wine, German beer, Korean cars, Australian soap operas and even Belgian chocolates would all have seemed out of the question many years ago.

At the macroeconomic level, George may well be right that the global economy now pits “consolidated geographical areas”, not just countries, against each other. But until the global consumer is ready for Asian motorcycles and European whisky, the same cannot be said of individual branded markets.

Lucian Camp

Creative director

Camp Chipperfield Hill Murray

London SW1

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