Restaurants spotted in Barcelona. It’s always interesting to observe how other countries perceive the brand of your home and what they consider to be representative of you.

The US in particular is faced with a difficult branding challenge and opportunity - we benefit from an incredibly diverse and heterogenous culture, but that also makes it difficult to pin down exactly who we are. Our research and company visits have shown that the most consistent and powerful brands are ones that can be articulated in a few words, and I suspect the US brand would be described very differently depending on who you ask.

However, these restaurants show that at a very basic level our country is associated with our president and soda - which is fairly innocuous compared to what I imagine was the case a decade ago. As I wrap up this study tour, I keep thinking about which brand associations have been confirmed or refuted by my travels these last two weeks. Some impressions have improved drastically, while others have faltered a bit. I look forward to continue my interaction with these brands and watch them evolve over time.

Stockholm may self-identify as the capital of Scandinavia, but the most relevant part of its brand appears to be the crown, based on how local establishments seem to be branding themselves. Perhaps this is an opportunity to evolve Stockholm’s brand to not only be more consistent, but also more inclusive. Perhaps something like “Stockholm: Scandinavian Royalty”. This would allow neighboring countries to have “royal” cities as well, thereby elevating the brand of not only each city, but of Scandinavia as a whole.