The 11 Most World-Famous Brands That Most Americans Don't Know

Telecom Italia SpA
Telecom Italia SpA

By Douglas A. McIntyre

When it comes to globally known super-brands, Americans could be forgiven for thinking the U.S. of A. has a lock on all the most valuable names. Brand valuation studies consistently report that the ones sitting atop the list were created here.

Go just a little further down their pages, though, and you'll discover that some of the world's most valuable brands are not only owned by foreign companies, they are names many Americans probably have never even heard of.

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And once you get outside our borders, even the types of companies that make the list will surprise you. The top U.S.-based brands tend to fall into two categories: technology and consumer products: Think Apple, Google, Microsoft, Marlboro, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and IBM.

Overseas, two other categories dominate the brand horizon: cell phone companies and banks.

So which are these mystery companies that are household names elsewhere? Click through our slideshow of the 11 most famous brands Americans don't know, and find out.


Methodology: To pick the most valuable brands that Americans have not heard of, 24/7 Wall St. relied on the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2012. We ranked the brands that made the list based on gross domestic product of country of origin, and then picked the most valuable brands from the eleven largest countries based on that GDP measurement. In order to exclude well-known brands in America, those with very large market share in the U.S were excluded. That meant Toyota, BMW and Louis Vuitton did not make the cut.

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