By Al Ries
“Country of origin” used to be a powerful force in marketing. Gin from
from England .
Fashions from Russia .
Automobiles from France .
Computers from Germany .
Many brands owe much of their marketing success to associating themselves with
a specific country. America
The world is changing. Today, where a brand is produced is less important than the brand itself. What do you call a
with American parts and American workers? A Japanese car? America
Or how about Ralph Lauren, a famous American clothing designer whose company had revenues of $6.9 billion last year. Would you call his clothing “American clothes,” in spite of the fact that almost none of his clothing is made in
Coca-Cola is widely perceived to be an American drink even though all of the Coke consumed in
India is made in with
Indian ingredients and Indian workers. India
Today, the brand is more important than where the brand was produced. In the future, many global brands will be like Red Bull, an enormously successful brand identified with no particular country.
This leads us to
, perhaps the most-famous
tea brand in the world. Darjeeling
Next to water, tea is the world’s most-popular beverage. Something like 4,000,000 tons of tea are produced and consumed annually. Of this total, the tea gardens of the Indian district of Darjeeling produce only about 10,000 tons, or just 0.25 percent of the world’s total.
The tea gardens of
Darjeeling could form an association to
brand globally. Then buy tea in bulk from other Indian districts that meet the
high standards set by Darjeeling-grown tea. Darjeeling
Darjeeling tea not grown in ? Wouldn’t this undermine the power
of the Darjeeling
Not really. Tea drinkers don’t want to drink tea grown in
Tea drinkers want to drink high-quality tea and they recognize the Darjeeling name as a
guarantee that the tea is high quality. Darjeeling
There’s no reason a tea brand called Darjeeling couldn’t achieve a global market share of something like 10 percent, or 40 times the current sales of Darjeeling-grown tea. At premium prices, too.
There’s a good example in
that demonstrates the power of creating an association to market an
agricultural brand. Years ago, the cranberry was a little-known and not very
widely-used fruit. Then the cranberry growers got together to form a
cooperative. One of their first decisions was to create a brand name for their
cranberry products. “Ocean Spray” was the name they selected. America
Over the years, the Ocean Spray cooperative marketed fresh cranberries as well as cranberry juice and many other cranberry products. Today, Ocean Spray is the leading producer of shelf-stable juice drinks. It also produces dried cranberries, a product called “craisins,” a play on the word for dried grapes, raisins.
Annual revenues of Ocean Spray are $2.2 billion and 30 percent of their sales are outside the
. United States
All around the world, consumers are eager to buy global brands. As time goes by, people will forget where a brand originally came from and focus on the perception of the brand itself.
Where did Red Bull originate? Does it really matter? What really matters is Red Bull’s perception as the leading global energy drink.
perceived as the leading premium tea brand. But only if the tea growers of Darjeeling change their
strategy from an “origin” approach to a “branding” approach. Darjeeling