retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB took note the other day of a BrandWeek report that Coca-Cola, IBM and Microsoft have ranked first, second and third in Interbrand’s annual ranking of the 100 Best Global Brands, which is formulated based on what the company calls ““a unique methodology analyzing the many ways a brand touches and benefits an organization, from attracting top talent to delivering on customer expectation.”

My question: How does McDonald’s make the list and not Walmart? It makes no sense. Walmart has a name and brand equity that stands for something very specific, and that resonates around the world. Hard to believe it doesn’t make the top 100. Hard to believe it doesn’t make the top five.

MNB user Nico Hogeveen wrote:

You ask why McDonald’s is on the Best 100 Global Brands list and Walmart is not? You state it makes no sense. I would argue it makes total sense as long as you understand the difference between a brand name and a company name. Although Walmart is a huge company, it’s not a global brand by a long shot. Two reasons: global presence and brand name strategy.

Global presence: Outside the US and Canada Walmart is only present in 13 other countries around the world (and of those nine, yes 9, are in Central and South America). Ask almost anybody in the rest of the world and they would have never heard of Walmart, let alone know what it is or does. Contrast the global reach of McDonald’s: it operates in over 100 countries and on every continent (except Antarctica, I think?) under the same brand name. Leading to #2…

Brand name strategy: Walmart will never be a global brand if it continues to use local brand names for its stores (ASDA in UK, Bompreco and Dia in South America, etc.). I don’t think Walmart necessarily needs or wants to be a global brand, and strategically there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a strategic choice and simply the difference between a company name and a brand name. It’s somewhat similar to P&G not being on the list while a brand of theirs (e.g. Gillette) is. And the Interbrand research measures brand names not company names.

Another MNB user wrote:

I think what's interesting in the list of Top 100 Global Brands is the fact that not only is Wal-Mart not listed, but there are no other Retailers listed from any retailing segment.  This might illustrate what is often times one of the primary challenges in the retailing world - it's tough to create a strong brand image when you predominately sell products produced by other companies/Brands.

MNB user Garry Adams wrote:

I’ve heard that Harley-Davidson is America’s most LOYAL brand.   I was surprised too.  Then it was pointed out that rarely is “Coca Cola” or “IBM” tattooed on anyone’s body.
Tattoos are for a long time.

On another subject, MNB user Gary Cohen wrote:

On your Tesco story and them wanting to have 10,000 stores…

Think Hawaii. ABC must have 10,000 stores in Oahu alone. One on every corner and then one in the middle of the block! They have beverages, grab & go food that’s pretty good, convenience store items, plus Macadamia Nuts in every possible variety. Maybe that was the business model Tesco should have gone after.


On the whole “small store” issue, another MNB user had an interesting thought:

Blockbuster must be sitting on extensive real estate in prime neighborhood locations with stores of roughly 20,000 sq ft…where’s Walmart???

Here on MNB, we keep calling for the government not just to allow, but to require that genetically modified salmon (and other GM products) be labeled as such, since it is only by doing so that consumers have a real and informed choice. MNB user Tom Kroupa responded:

I totally agree with you about the need for transparency of GE Salmon. They should label the food I eat! In a democratic society the consumer is right! If any other business did not respond to their customers they would suffer, and there are many examples of that. This is blatantly immoral behavior! The great philosopher-inventor Buckminster Fuller once said at a press conference, "That men could put moneymaking before The Truth seems incredible to me! But men have put moneymaking before The Truth by the millions for a long, long time --which tells us why we are in a very great predicament on our planet today!”

The city of Boston is considering whether to restrict or even prohibit the sale of calorie-laden refreshments on city-owned property.

One MNB user responded:

How ironic! The city that started the Revolutionary War because of opposition to involvement of the King of England in their business affairs now wants to regulate whether you and I can consume a soft drink? Wow, what’s next? Perhaps, banning artificially sweetened soft drinks? After all, those artificial sweeteners may be bad for you. Not to mention all the sodium that is in soft drinks. Ban them all, saith the town fathers! After that they should look into banning anything with caffeine. What about alcohol (okay, just joking about this one, it is Boston after-all). Seriously, where does the nanny state end, and the concept of personal responsibility begin????

I’ve always bought into the idea that Boston is the Athens of the west, but one of the country’s great cities has a long and unfortunate history of Puritan-style instincts that have led it to ban everything from books to movies over the years. That’s changed...but sometimes old instincts die hard.

Got the following email from MNB user James P. DeJohn:

 I enjoyed reading the article "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Michael Sansolo this morning.  I completely agree that having a family dinner is a very important part of a child's day.  My wife and I even take this a step further by having our children (who are 9,6 and 3) help us with the preparation of the dinner.  We try to do things like make our own pasta once a week so they can learn it doesn't just come out of a box, we make sauces, and try to have them come up with some dinner ideas.  We also allow them to choose different vegetables at the grocery store to try for dinner to help add a fun touch to the ever tough trying vegetable routine.  Once at the dinner table, we will go around and everyone will say one good thing that happened to them (their rose for the day) and then one thing that wasn't so great (their thorn for the day).  We feel this entire process of a family dinner will help to instill a sense of well being and hopefully better decision making in their futures...knowing they can always discuss them at dinner.

MNB user Lisa Bosshard chimed in:

Just wanted to share - that not only does eating in with family help in so many ways - but it also helps maintain important friendships.  Every Sunday evening, we trade off cooking with our 'best friends' (we're the god parents of their young children).  Sometimes it's a pain to spend time cooking, but once we're all together, it couldn't be a better, more fun-filled conversation for 2+ hours each week.  In fact, my grown daughter enjoys it so much, it's the one night we can depend on her coming to dinner 🙂   This weekly scheduled event, provides the opportunity to have adult time and get to be a kid again for those of us with grown children.  Just last Sunday, I played kitchen soccer with a 3 & 5 year old - it was creative and lots of fun which wouldn't have occurred without our 'weekly dinner'.   Great article and I'm so glad to see something like this published - thank you for sharing with your readers.

Finally, responding to my “Eye-Opener” the other day about the piece done by “The Daily Show” about a certain amount of hypocrisy in the UFCW’s approach to picketing Walmart in Nevada.

MNB user Glenn Cantor wrote:

The Daily Show piece on the Nevada UFCW’s protest of Wal-Mart is priceless.  The look on the interviewed union leader’s face, when asked if he knew that his union hired non-union workers to walk the picket line, tells it all.

But another MNB user wrote:

Perhaps I'm missing your use of sarcasm but you always appear to use "The Daily Show" as though they are reporting the facts. It is simply a comedy show.

True. The best thing about “The Daily Show” is that it makes me laugh.

I suspect that while often the show uses facts to make its points about hypocrisy and stupidity on both sides of the aisle, the producers would never suggest that it is “factual” or anything other than a comedy show.

But great comedy always has its roots in truth. Truth is not always the same as the facts.  Sometimes, truth is more important.
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