Do brands create nations, or do nations create brands? That's a thought provoking question in today’s increasingly global economy. Consumers – regardless of location – determine the fate of every brand. Similarly, the global rise of commerce and transportation in the past few decades has also led to a rise in immigrant workers working on these brands in every part of the world. The article on that discusses the lessons learned from the list of 2008 best global brands points out that the phrase “Made in ____” should really be expanded to “Made in ____, by ____” – e.g., Made in Italy, by Vietnamese!

The general trend reflected in the 2008 best global brands list, as compared to 2007, is that of the influence of emerging economies such as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) on brands (and thus, businesses) all over the world. Such developing nations, with a burgeoning middle/upper class and increasingly higher internet penetration rates, have outperformed developed nations, such as the United States, in the 2008 top brands list. In fact, 20% of all brands in this year’s top 100 list are non-U.S. brands that have either moved up a few spots or are new to the 2008 list.

While U.S. is currently going though a financial markets flux, luxury brands in particular are continuing to do well by benefiting from the economic expansion in other parts of the world. In fact, many marketers of luxury U.S. brands believe that a domestic economic downturn is an opportunity to increase marketing spending and get ahead of the competitors. Additionally, the article also points out that 99% of consumers trust those brands more that “have and continue to build trust with customers” than the ones  that “seek to capitalize on the latest trend or exploit the sincerity of the moment – for instance, going green.” These are very interesting and relevant issues that marketers and brand managers of global brands need to be constantly thinking about. When a brand moves up in ranking, another brand must fall – and such movement can provide a unique perspective on shifts in the global economy, consumer perceptions, attitude/spending shifts, and have real implications for future success of these global brands. Are any of your favorite brands among the 'movers and shakers' this year?

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