Kantar Millward Brown
While French brands in the luxury and personal care sectors are known around the world, French names are under-represented in other sectors. Yet the associations that people have with «Brand France» can be more widely applied, to the benefit of many more brands.
In the minds of international consumers « Made in Germany » clearly stands for quality and reliability. We should not try to move in on this deeply held territory. It is better for French brands to build on existing associations with « Brand France » which are anchored in ergonomics, design, aesthetics, wellbeing, art and the joy of life.
It is still common to hear that France has a "culture of engineering", but technical excellence is no longer enough. French companies and startups must build strong brands to ensure their growth, in the same way as their Anglo-Saxon rivals are doing.
Above all, French companies must place the consumer at the center of their efforts and rely more systematically on brand activity to inform their broader strategy.
But the success of the French brands that have become globally successful can also be attributed to a uniquely French style of marketing. L'Oréal knew how to find the right balance between global and local as it innovated. It celebrates diversity and local mores, while remaining highly coherent across markets.
Finally, we cannot speak about what France stands for without talking about rebellion. It is this rule-breaking state of mind that has allowed Jean-Pierre Petit to make McDonald's France the biggest contributor to the group's results outside the US – in a country with such pride in its gastronomy. Such success should inspire French brands to go boldly to the world, and take with them the French spirit of revolution and disruption.