Five Reasons Local Brands Have the Home-field Advantage

Few brands establish dominating positions in multiple countries. Moreover, we've observed that brands that are distributed across multiple countries tend to have weaker overall relationships with consumers than brands that stick close to home.

The chart above is based on an analysis of over 10,000 brands measured as part of BrandZ™. The data suggests that brands that compete in more countries tend to have weaker "Bonding" scores overall. For most brands, much of their strength and equity comes from their original home markets. This should not be surprising because few of today's global brands were originally designed to travel. Most of them originated long before the imperative to go global took hold. We can hypothesize that as a strong brand moves from its country of origin, it struggles to effectively meet different consumer needs and desires in the new territory. No matter how strong a brand might be on its home turf, it can be tough to win over local customers who have grown up with their own beloved brands.

The Global Brand Survey findings suggest that local brands have the home-field advantage, provided they qualify as strong brands in their own right. The different ways in which a brand can be perceived as part of the local culture include the following:

  • Meeting unique local needs or tastes
  • Nostalgia – being a brand people grew up with
  • Local operational or logistical advantages
  • Strong community ties
  • Cultural identity

Chapter Seven of The Global Brand provides case studies illustrating each of these factors. Brands covered include Marmite and MINI in the UK, Amul ice cream in India, Efes Pilsen and Cola Turka in Turkey.

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