Barry Silverstein has written an interesting piece on German brands on Interbrand's Brand Channel . Of the Top 100 Global Brands, no less than 10 are German, with Germany being second only to the USA in the roll-call of Top Brands.
The ten brands include - unsurprisingly - five automobile brands (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche and VW) as well as SAP, Siemens, Adidas, Allianz and Nivea. Actually, it is always quite an amusing exercise to see how well a country's top brands reflect the country stereotype. With Germany it's a pretty good match: a sporty, technically astute, financially solid car-freak with a rather good tan from all those sunbeds (had to get that in somewhere!).
On analysing the success of German brands, Barry Silverstein puts this mostly down to the factors of "discipline and quality" with a downside of being somewhat "lumbering". I'd say this is pretty spot-on, but I'd like to look at that "lumbering" and see if I can find anything positive there.
I would re-interpret that "lumbering" into a few other, more desirable qualities. There is a sense of substance and staying power with these brands. They are damn good products first and foremost, with a minimum of frivolous marketing hot air. While certainly innovative, this is genuine and considered innovation, rather than flash-in-the-pan stuff. I can't see any of these brands suffering from the hubris of over-expansion like that of my "favourite" coffee company!
Finally, although I am sure all of these brands have the usual German skeletons in the cupboard from the 1930s and 1940s, there is a sense of responsibility about them. You could almost say it's part of the brand engineering.
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3 months ago