International research group NOP World has hoisted a storm warning to America's global marketers: Combine your resources and best practices or face increasingly adverse consumer perceptions elsewhere on the planet.
In its annual survey of 30,000 consumers in thirty overseas countries, NOPW discovered that diminishing respect for American culture is having a detrimental domino effect on US brands worldwide.
At a one day conference (Driving Growth Across the Marketing Cycle) held in Manhattan last week, some 500 representatives from major marketing companies learned that much of the rest of the world does not regard Uncle Sam as warmly as it once did.
Such multinational marketing giants as Bristol-Myers Squibb, DDB Worldwide, Kraft Foods, UPS and Ford's Volvo unit, heard that global consumers are now more hesitant about US brands.
Respondents' familiarity, claims to use and desire to purchase stateside brands declined for the first time since the yearly study began in 1998. The fieldwork was conducted during the 2004 January-March quarter
In the face of this unpalatable information, NOPW managing director Tom Miller attempted reassurance: "It's not like there's a massive boycott [of US goods]," he said. "Instead, it seems to be an erosion of support. It's not falling off the face of the earth, but it is clearly a warning sign for brands."
The nations whose consumers are least enthused by American culture include Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
While those rooting loudest for US values and brands included Australia, Brazil, Hungary, the Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan and Venezuela. Curiously, the report made no mention of consumer attitudes in the UK, America's closest ally in its international adventuring.
Miller attributes some of the attitudinal change to new opportunities for local brands in local markets.
Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff