Everything and everyone is a product. A country, a city, a company, a product, a service a person – yes you and me included. And how the market perceives the product determines its value. It’s sounds cynic, I know. But if you want a high value and be sought for on the market you have to create a brand that is in demand and sells.
And then when the product is a success all of a sudden the brand matures, growth slows and it comes under pressure from competitors. This is the time to start innovating and spending again if you want to defend your market position. If not ,don’t complain if nobody wants to hire you, go on holiday to your country, do business with your company or buy the wonderful product or service you are selling.
You may object that some brands, like Cornflakes, or Chanel for that matter, have been around for a long time. But what we buy today is very different from the same product 50 years ago, not least when it comes to packaging and design. If your personal brand is out of date you will have to make an investment to innovate yourself. Maybe learn a new skill, have a make-over or simply learn how to better promote yourself? How you want to be perceived depends on what market you are aiming for.
When it comes to countries, Europe and the US have matured and competitors are moving in. But the West seem to take their current status for granted and the only thing they are doing to defend their market position is protectionism, unfortunately. And they really have to do much more if they want to keep their position in this globalised world. What happened to innovation and making their markets more attractive to investors not to mention more business friendly?
Nowadays it’s irrevocably one global market. And Sweden, to my great surprise, hasn’t wholeheartedly joined. Sweden as a product has matured badly and needs to innovate to get back the position it had on the market in the 60′s and 70′s. Join the global market wholeheartedly, reduce corporate taxation drastically and realize that there is a reason that Sweden’s unemployment is more than twice as high as it’s neighbours Denmark and Norway would make a good start. But there doesn’t seem to be any political will to do so.
More and more Swedish companies are using IT consultants in India. Naturally the Swedes, not least the trade unions, don’t like that. They conveniently forget that the main objective of a company is to make money. And using Indian IT consultants is far cheaper than using their Swedish counterparts. On top if it India, unlike Sweden, has four universities that when it comes to IT are on par with MIT. Unless taxation in Sweden, i.e. the politicians, change we will see more and more Swedish companies outsourcing IT to India.
Obviously this is not only happening in Sweden but in the West as a whole and there is no stopping it. Look at all the out-sourced call centres, for instance. Since it is an issue that is not going away I’m surprised that not more is being done in the West to adapt to the global market. It surprises me that we are not facing up to the issue.
Globalisation is irrevocably the governing principle of commerce. That does not mean it is popular everywhere. The US will continue to lose relative power because of globalisation. It’s ironic that thanks to its generosity in exporting the secrets of success, China and other emerging giants are catching up. Public support for protectionism has hence surged in the United States. But there is only so much current protectionism can achieve. Look at the way China is surging, despite Western protectionism.
Developing nations are not going to cede power to the US and Europe out of gratefulness. So it’s time for the West to face up to reality – their brand is loosing out. It’s time to innovate and make it profitable for businesses again to stop them moving to other parts of the world.
(Photo Handosh Flickr)Google+