Worlds collided for me today when I saw sexy, sporty, sophisticated Michelle Wie in a television advertisement for Kia automobiles.
Why did that strike me as so unusual, you ask?
Well, it’s just that Michelle Wie, a Korean-American who plays what has become a decidedly American womens sport now dominated by Koreans was advertising for a Korean brand made from Korean parts assembled in America.
Whether you can follow all of that or not, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the continual melding of what used to be disparate companies and nations into a truly global economy.
We see it every day on the television, online and in print. Many times, the brands don’t even make it apparent where they’re based, and we don’t take the time to look behind the scenes.
But that doesn’t matter, either. The point is, that barriers are coming down. Through technology, more rapid access to information and the blurring and blending of cultural lines, it doesn’t even necessarily mean a whole lot whether a Volkswagen is German or a Chrysler is American. In fact, they are as much Canadian and Italian, respectfully.
National labels are meant for food and beverages. Give me a Gruyere cheese. That’s fine. Other than that, brand nationalism is for a bygone era.
If brands like Kia can start making a name for themselves based on quality and the personification of a winner like Michelle Wie, then doesn’t it make more sense to build your small business brand on characteristics, rather than country lines?