Global Brands and the Globally Branded: A New Wave of Hip hop Grunge CultureWritten by Jonathan A.J. Wilson / Featured in: Column / 07.08.2012.
The exciting new wave of Global brand culture and consumerism embodies the modern-day phenomenon of collective individualism and hybrid personalities – which connects people across nationalities and ethnicities using the language of brands. This article highlights some of the key trends and offers further insight, from a branding and anthropological perspective.
Brands and national identity are on the tip of everyone’s tongues. They are language shapers and meaning creators. But with the rise of global brands, are we all starting to think, feel, speak and behave in the same way?
de Mooij (2011) observes that,
“In practice, notwithstanding the worldwide reach of television and the internet, in many people’s lives, in consumption or entertainment habits, be it music or sports, the people of different nations continue to have different habits, tastes, and loyalties. Instead of causing homogenization, globalization is the reason for the revival of local cultural identities in different parts of the world.” (p.5).
This view challenges Levitt’s (1983) rational perspective of global markets, where Levitt suggests that technology leads to the homogenization of consumer wants and needs – as they will crave high-quality and low price standardized products over customized high-price offerings. Usunier (1996), also argues that there exists no empirical evidence to show homogenization of tastes or the appearance of universal price-minded consumer segments. Instead,
“Convergence at a macro level (e.g., convergence of GNI [gross national income] per capita) does not necessarily imply convergence of consumer choice. As people around the globe become better educated and more affluent, their tastes diverge” (de Mooij, 2011 p.6).
Global brands spearhead conspicuous consumption and consumerism, and with further technological developments, it is now possible to create more customised, high quality and low-price offerings – which some have termed ‘affordably luxuries’. Brands can now be both global and local – depending on the space, time, context, and engaged stakeholder.