Travel is great for broadening the mind, isn’t it? Seeing different cultures, experiencing different foods, knowing that you’re miles away from the nearest McDonalds. Or maybe not – global expansion of certain brands has been so successful that you can be thousands of miles away from America and still be able to enjoy the comforts of home. So, who is the most successful? Which popular brands can you find on sale in the depths of the Belize jungle? Find out in our Top 10 Brands That Have Made It To Every Corner of the World.
Peru is notable for many things, but one thing it is known for is its coffee production. Small farmers produce the beans there that are shipped all over the world. So, you’d expect that when you needed a shot of caffeine in Lima , there would be a host of locally-owned coffee shops to choose from. Well, there probably are but there are also a number of branches of Starbucks. In fact, within a few kilometers of Miraflores (a suburb of Lima), there are 8 outlets. And that’s just one example of Starbucks’ worldwide grip – the brand can also be found in 18 European countries, all the major Asian countries and Australia and New Zealand. Oh and Africa, the Middle East and other parts of South America. With a presence on every continent, you are never far from that green mermaid thing…
With the secretive government of China, it can be difficult for American brands to break into the market. But one sportswear brand decided to “Just Do It”. And they were successful – Nike has made its home on Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai, and is the country’s number one sportswear brand. They have apparently done this by “listening to the voice of the Chinese athlete and then applying creative design and technology to meet their needs.” What they don’t mention is that sales are falling in China, although they still dominate the market.
But that’s not the whole extent of Nike’s global presence – they also have headquarters in Japan and the Netherlands, which cover their whole EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) operation. It’s reassuring to know that their “creative design and technology” is reaching everyone who needs it. The less said about the people making those shoes in the same countries the better…
And while we’re skirting around the issue of big brands in developing countries, here’s Nestle – a brand that has undoubtedly achieved global domination, but with some devastating side effects. A quick glance at their global map reveals how many countries the company works in, and their website talks about their business principles of adding value to the communities they work in, and saying things like “Our core aim is to enhance the quality of consumers lives every day, everywhere by offering tastier and healthier food and beverage choices and encouraging a healthy lifestyle”. Funnily enough, there is no mention of the aggressive marketing of breastmilk substitutes in developing countries that led to an international boycott.
But as far as success in spreading the brand goes, Nestle can certainly claim credit. You can’t go anywhere in the world without seeing their chocolate and their logo is globally recognised. Whether they can truly claim to be “the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company” is another question!
Suppose I wanted to buy a car on the island of Madagascar, where would I buy one? Assuming I wasn’t busy being distracted by all the talking animals, I would probably head to Antananarivo, where I would find a Ford dealership. After all, it’s good to buy a car from a known brand if you want to be assured of quality. Say I was in Sweden, where would I go? Maybe Ford again. Or Darussalam, Brunei? Same again.
Not content with revolutionising the manufacturing business by inventing the production line, the Ford Motor Company has expanded to every continent and even the most obscure countries. Surprisingly for such an expansive brand, the company has steered clear of controversy, concentrating instead of just making reliable, unexciting cars. However, the Ford family, now minor shareholders in the business, have had more than enough controversy to compensate…allegedly
It may not be the most recognized soft drink in the world (more on that later…) but there’s no denying Pepsi’s global influence, with their product available everywhere from Alaska to Australia. But success comes at a price, and the brand has got into trouble in India for using an excessive amount of groundwater, in areas where water is a scarce commodity. Still reeling from that scandal, a second scandal broke, accusing Pepsi of allowing pesticide residue into their sodas. Pepsi was banned in Kerala (along with Coca-Cola) and there were protests in the streets, with bottles of Pepsi being smashed by angry protesters. In response, the brand has launched a number of PR initiatives in India, including a drive to create “a positive water balance”. The efforts are slowly repairing Pepsi’s reputation, but other countries must be watching the company with suspicion…
Not all global brands reach worldwide saturation by their own doing. Apple has the dubious honor of being one of the faked brands in the world, with China being a particular hotspot for counterfeit iMacs, iPads that are a touch too small and Louis Vuitton covered iPhones. In Taiwan, they even have a fake Steve Jobs (above), selling tea on TV. And Iraq has its own fake Apple store, which looks nothing like a real Apple store.
In some ways it’s all a compliment- it means that your brand is so recognisable that something just has to be sleek and white for it to be identified as an Apple product, even if it’s missing its logo. On the other hand, it’s a legal department’s nightmare and Apple has a team working on stopping the counterfeits, but it’s fairly futile. Meanwhile, the real Apple stores have made it across Europe and to Japan and China, so they are well on the way to world domination themselves.
But Apple still have a way to go before they catch up with Microsoft. The mega-corporation has offices in around 150 countries all over the world, from Azerbaijan to Zambia, who come together at their Worldwide Partner Conference (see above). And those are only the offices – the products have a much greater reach. You would have to find some pretty undiscovered tribes to find someone who had never encountered a Microsoft program in any form.
As such a huge player in the global market, it has come under criticism and been accused of monopolizing the market, a charge it’s hard to argue with. But Microsoft also have some community-based projects to try and enhance the areas they’re expanding into, such as its Microsoft 4Afrika project. So they do some good, but they are definitely a force to be reckoned with.
While Microsoft is a relatively new player in the global market, the authoritative tones of the BBC have been reaching the far corners of the world for almost a century. As a kind of hangover from the days of the British Empire, people all over the world still like their news to be delivered in a British accent, and BBC World News goes out to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and America. But there are worldwide specialist channels too, such as BBC Canada and BBC Persian (above).
Part of this global domination is because the BBC is forbidden to show adverts in the UK, and it relies on license fee payers to fund its programming. Abroad, however, there are no such restrictions and they can also export successful UK shows in slightly different formats (so “Strictly Come Dancing” became “Dancing with the Stars”). It may be definitively British, but apparently Britishness sells..!
But, of course, the biggest brands on the list are American. One of the most iconic brands in the world, Coca-Cola can be found everywhere. It can even be drunk in the jungles of Belize, as the family that owns Coca-Cola in Belize have a jungle lodge there, called Chan Chich where you can, naturally, drink Coke (although at $25 for a burger and Diet Coke you may not want to!)
Coca-Cola aren’t just content with caffeinating the world – they also feel responsible for global happiness, with their happiness barometer (above). According to their findings, “More than half of the people surveyed (56%) cited the taste of Coca-Cola as something that makes them smile”. So, the future happiness of the world is in safe hands – reassuring, hey?
There’s nothing quite like a McDonalds. If by that you mean, nothing that is so uniform around the world then no, there is nothing quite like it. True, some branches have subtle differences, but a Big Mac is a Big Mac wherever you buy it, even if the price varies considerably – in the Ukraine, you would pay just $1.83 for the delicacy. If you’re looking for your McFix, there are over 34,000 outlets worldwide in 123 countries. For Americans everywhere, it’ll make you feel right at home. There’s even one in Guantanamo Bay, although sadly it’s only open to base personnel. A true lesson in world domination.