American Outcast

Get ahead, even if it feels like the world's against you.
This story appears in the February 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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For centuries, "Made in America" stood for supremacy in everything. Now, with globalization on the rise and much of the world resenting the unrivaled power of the United States, American businesses have to deal with protests, boycotts and increased costs of tightened security measures. How do you overcome these challenges?

According to Keith Reinhard, chair of DDB Worldwide and president of Business for Diplomatic Action, companies should position their brands as local, a tactic that makes sense from a marketing standpoint if your country of origin is seen as a negative. Reinhard's advice:

  • Develop a plan that fosters a good brand strategy in your overseas country.
  • Acquire new brand attributes such as cultural sensitivity and a willingness to listen to your customers.
  • Visit to learn how to be a good world citizen.

The good news? "[While] research shows that [global] consumers are cooling toward American culture and American brands," says Reinhard, "there is still no hard evidence showing direct impact on bottom lines."

Laurel Delaney runs and, Chicago-based firms that specialize in international entrepreneurship.
Edition: October 2016

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