Monday 25 September 2017

Big international brands dwarf our own but ties to home are invaluable

THE news that Coca-Cola and Apple are the world's two biggest brands is not surprising.

One thing that was of note for us though was the lack of any Irish brand on Checkout magazine's Top 100 Brands list. There are plenty of strong brands coming out of Ireland, but none it seems are worth $3.7bn, the minimum price of entry to the list. So what are the most valuable Irish brands? Or what should be the most valuable Irish brands?

The magazine puts Avonmore as the top indigenous brand -- but let's step away from the supermarket shelf. Does Ireland have any big, branded businesses, such as the IBMs and BMWs of this world? No.

As a country we have become a magnet for established businesses but -- Guinness and Ryanair apart -- there are few big Irish companies recognised by the general public. Most Irish people have never heard of CRH and DCC, although they are enormous companies.

Maybe this isn't a bad thing. Google and the rest bring jobs and that's all that matters. Valuable as these companies are, though, their relationship with Ireland is mostly transactional.

Indigenous companies are more likely to stay when times are tough. See Kerry's recent affirmation that it will not leave the Irish Stock Exchange. When push comes to shove, the ties to home always matter. We need to be mindful of that the next time we laugh at the apparent lack of successful Irish companies abroad.

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