Trade Nov-Dec Interactive - page 23

success, however, local presence and
the ability to react in a flexible way
to what the customer wants are
Important Role in
the Food Industry
The "Made in Germany" label plays
an important role in the food
industry as well. In this sector,
products with German origin enjoy a
significant level of trust and confi-
dence. "In the U.S. in general,
German products are seen as high-
quality food specialties, and German
manufacturers are seen as very
reliable business partners," says
Arnim von Friedeburg, owner of
German Foods North America, LLC,
an independent trade promotion
agency in Washington, DC. "For this,
U.S. retailers are willing to pay a
corresponding premium." Not only
the "typical" goods such as sauer-
kraut or beer sell better with a nod to
the German origin. For entrepreneurs
such as Seitenbacher, Gerolsteiner or
Bahlsen, the label is just as much an
important sales tool.
German food manufacturers would
like to have the protection of geo-
graphical designations of origin (such
as "Schwarzwälder Schinken" [Black
Forest ham]) transferred into a future
U.S.-EU free trade agreement. For
example, "Kölsch" beer is currently
produced and marketed in the United
States; however, according to EU
legislation, it may only be produced
in Germany’s Cologne area.
Also in other consumer goods
sectors, some companies use their
German roots to their advantage in
order to emphasize their unique
selling points and premium features.
Companies such as Miele, the
manufacturer of domestic appliances,
or Poggenpohl, the kitchen manufac-
turer, are among them. If a company,
however, only has one type of bulk
article in its range of goods, it does
not make a lot of sense to use the
label. Then, the company runs the
risk of making "Made in Germany"
seem rather expensive.
Strong brand names, especially
popular consumer goods such as
Adidas or Nivea, use the label less
frequently. Nonetheless, predominant-
ly companies that are smaller and less
known in the U.S. make use of the
label to emphasize their high stan-
dards for quality and the premium
features of their products.
Sometimes, "Made in the
USA" is more Attractive than
"Made in Germany"
Thus, a reference to the German
origin is used in varying ways and
depending on market environment,
company size and product range. For
big players such as Siemens or Stihl,
the tool manufacturer, it is very
important to (also) be seen as
American. Stihl’s website serves as the
perfect example: In September 2013,
the company’s web presence wel-
comed its customers with the slogan
"Built in America. Believing in Ameri-
ca. Number One in America." One of
Siemens‘ big U.S. ad campaigns calls
it "Somewhere in America" – and
interestingly enough, Siemens’
archenemy General Electric (GE) uses
a somewhat similar approach: "We
are the GE in GErmany."
In general, the "Germany" label still
plays an important role for many
German companies in the U.S.
market. Whether it will generate an
increase in revenue depends on a
multitude of factors.
German businesses in the U.S. benefit
from the fact that Americans value
the reputation of the German
homeland. Surveys, as conducted
frequently for example by the market
research institute Gallup, show this
in their results. According to a
Gallup survey of March 2013, at least
85% of Americans have a positive
image of Germany. This is an
increase of 35 percentage points
compared to 2003, in which the
evaluation had reached a temporary
low during the last Gulf War.
Detailed industry reports, written by the U.S.
correspondents of German Trade and Invest
(GTAI), the official German foreign trade and
inward investment agency.
German American Trade Nov/Dec 2013
About the Author
Martin Wiekert
Director of  Germany Trade and Invest
Washington D.C. Office
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