This is the very interesting question one of my readers addressed in a private email. It triggered my curiosity as a brand that would cross borders is not what we would call an “international brand” or a “global brand” but, as my reader (who just pass his WSET exam) put it ” ‘brands’ that operate under more than ‘one’ country”.
Is there such a thing as a “cross cultural brand”? There are more and more corporations buying each other and they become very international. For instance, the French Pernod-Ricard bought the Australian Jacob’s Creek. Does it make Jacob’s Creek a French brand? Not at all: Jacob’s Creek is still perceived as an Australian wine. When I told my American husband Jacob’s Creek was owned by Pernod-Ricard he didn’t believe me!
I can’t really think of any brand that will cross borders as such. But some wines have so little links with their place of origin that they fit the palate of almost every wine drinker: this is the case of Yellow Tail (an other Australian brand) or the American Turning Leaf (Gallo). Those wines are based on the varietal and designed to please the drinker. Does it make them a cross cultural brand? I would say no because they’re based on an international varietal known to almost every drinker.
On the other end, there are some brands that could qualify as border crossing brands. My reader sent me to read a link he found on the subject on the Wine Business site. Foster’s Wine Group announced it would include within its Australian Lindemans brand wines from Chile and South Africa. This announcement triggered an heated discussion in the industry about regionality. “Today’s consumers want to explore wine from new countries and regions, but are concerned about making the right choice in a fragmented market,” said James Craig-Wood, communications manager for EMEA Foster’s Group to journalist Felicity Carter on March 3rd, 2008. Carter has a very relevant point in her conclusion: “[...]multi-country brands are bringing wine closer to the beer model, where a standard product is brewed to the same recipe in different locations – the difference being that, while the beer’s origin is kept as anonymous as possible, the wine’s origins are being sold as a brand benefit. Which is another irony of regionality: the more effort that’s put into carving out distinct regions, the more those regions become brands which can be taken up and used by companies looking to extend their portfolios.” Isn’t it the case with Champagne? The region is more branded than most of the “brands”!