By Gregg S. Lipman:
The President has been re-elected, the media circus has died down, and Nate Silver is digging up statistics on some new topic — the Petraeus affair, the Fiscal Cliff, the odds of Black Friday being moved to the week after Labor Day, perhaps?
Ugh. So what’s next for “the Greatest Nation on Earth”?
I’m thinking it’s time to refresh America the brand. And it ain’t the color scheme that needs a shot in the arm.
Elections are always ugly, and this year’s was certainly no different. Millions of dollars were spent slandering the opposing parties, at a time when we could have been using that money to dig ourselves out of a massive financial hole. The gap between Republicans and Democrats (not just far right Tea Partiers and far left liberals) grew wider than ever before (thank you dear Internet). In the midst of all this craziness, we lost sight of the qualities that make our country so damn awesome and weakened our own brand. In a nutshell, we’re fragmented, identity-challenged and — methinks — suffering from low self-esteem.
We were built on unity, but now we’re divided into sparring factions. We always knew who we were, but now we’re letting others define us. We were built on a healthy ego, but now we’re doubting our own abilities. We’ve had loud people yelling on one side and loud people yelling on the other, but the truth is that what makes America great lies right down the middle.
When a brand steps away from its principals, it needs to take a breath, reflect and figure out how to get back to them. What are the attributes and equities at our core? How do they deliver against a higher order that lives in the hearts and minds of our people?
Let’s get that star shining again. Divided into red and blue parties for several years, it’s now time to become red, white and blue, again.
America the Brand
Diversity is America’s most potent brand attribute and the cornerstone for some of our warmest brand nomenclature: Melting Pot. It’s a founding attribute and a growing attribute, one with depth, breadth and legs that will fuel the benefits of our brand for years to come. As American majorities shift and change in the near and far term, we should keep in mind that our diversity comes with the territory.
Unity is America’s brand ambition. Now’s a good time for us to leverage the robust equity-quest built into our constitution as we continue to form, and relentlessly strive for, a more perfect Union. Unity as an ambition is healthy. In theory, it would give us a holistic voice and provide a safe haven for American commonality in belief or approach that could actually glue our brand’s warring factions together — look at Chris Christie and Obama. Maybe we’re closer than we think.
Innovation is the brand promise that America broke. But fear not…we have the right to win here. Innovation lies deep within the roots of our being. We were built on new ideas and we have nurtured idea making throughout our history -from our government’s inception to our 20th century manufacturing leadership. As our cultural identity reels from recent innovation declines, it’s time to channel the Wilbur and Orville in all of us and re-build this promise for ourselves. (Because we’re worth it.)
Optimism is America’s emotional benefit and our innermost brand feeling. It’s the wind that allows our brand to soar (if you’ll forgive the emotional blather). Optimism drives America the brand forward, and picks our fallen brand up, dusting it off with a chuckle. If you listen carefully, you can hear America’s optimism surging forward right now. It’s the shining light post Superstorm Sandy, it’s the drive that powered us through election mayhem, and it’s the equity to leverage as we re-ignite our hopeful prosperity for generations to come.
Freedom is the highest order of America the brand, our pyramid top of self-actualization. Freedom is the crux of our brand purpose, the reason we exist, our core truth, and our brand belief rolled into one. Freedom is inherently, innately and immeasurably our brand everything and none of us — or our individual ideologies — would be here if IT wasn’t.
Now that, ladies and gentleman, is a brand! What’s not to love?