Growth Strategies

Damn Yankees

American brands are sparking enduring trends abroad. So why do they hate us for it?
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the June 2001 issue of . Subscribe »

You've heard it: Americans are boorish. We know little about world history and want to make the globe one big Disneyland. People worldwide are fighting the perceived threat of Americanism.

In 1999, a McDonald's in France was torn down by farm equipment. The windows of a McDonald's in Davos, Switzerland, were smashed at January 2000's World Economic Forum. Now China is condemning Starbucks for its presence in Beijing's Forbidden City, and the British press ridicules the chain, saying it capitalizes on "the precious pickiness of American consumerism and offer[s] you more coffees than you need."

So we just can't win, eh? Well, the success of top American brands abroad says we can-and that's the problem. "If there is cultural imperialism, it is definitely American," says John Quelch, dean and professor of marketing at the London Business School. Quelch says a level of anti-American sentiment has existed around the world since the '60s. It's more prevalent among consumers than in the B2B world because, Quelch says, it's an "emotionally founded hostility" not grounded in economic reality. Many overseas consumers deliberately buy local products over American ones , and U.S. brands work around that by partnering with or buying stakes in foreign brands.

Any exceptions? "Any small business that's predicated on technological innovation and is differentiated and superior," says Quelch, "can expand globally very effectively using the Internet as a vehicle for promotion."

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.