It could be argued in business that the current equity of a company’s brand value dictates the future trajectory of its over all enterprise value. If that is even remotely true then it really got me thinking about the evolution of the role of our Presidency over the last 100 years of America’s rise to Global Superpower, from one of principled and visionary leader to one of Brand Manager.
I don’t mean to minimize the most important political office in the world by deducing it to a middle management position, but along with all of the obvious day to day responsibilities that come with the position of our Commander in Chief, when I look at the ‘results’ and overt ‘effort’ that seems to be prioritized, it seems as though the brand management and positioning of not only the incumbent President’s personal brand, but also how it relates to the simultaneous global appearance of Brand Americana, it seems as though this is all that matters…
Call it sad but true, or profoundly visionary, or anything inbetween, it is hard to dispute that from voters to candidates themselves, we seem to place the ‘celebrity’ value of each candidate or office holder along with our national status in the world above any other value, while we simultaneously complain that there is nobody telling us the truth.
The brands of today and the future that consumers value are the one’s which are powerful but authentic, strategic yet personal, and innovative yet respectful of viable traditions. America has lost its way as a brand in most of those regards and needs to find its way back. We may each experience in our day to day life, but most of us feel a sense of apathy, frustration, or disconnection from those who are responsible for leading our brand message and follow through these days.
Think back to numerous examples in recent years whether it be George W Bush on the wreckage at 9/11 World Trade Center with the loudspeaker and his arm around a Fireman (branding that made us feel good when we needed it) or candidate Obama (a junior Senator at the time) on the cover of the New York Times in front of an endless sea of German’s campaigning in Europe with a big American Flag backdrop looking “presidential” (along with a kick-ass social media money raising strategy), or all of the cartoonish Tea Party candidates with massive social media and book tour followings and reality tv shows….Isn’t obvious that the would be and incumbent leaders of our country see brand management as the primary order of the day?
And there this is my favorite example (and arguably the most qualified if ‘branding’ is the key to our country’s future, whether you love him or hate him) Donald Trump see http://www.salon.com/news/donald_trump/?story=/tech/htww/2011/04/20/donald_trump_the_president_we_deserve which came out today…
If you still don’t know if our President is primarily a brand manager, and the concept that as America’s brand goes, so goes our economy, etc. Check out some of the data below from an article posted back in 2005 by Forbes Magazine..
“If Brand America continues its decline beyond the end of the current Administration, then consumer brands that portray themselves as slices of Americana may need to distance themselves from the values association that made them in the first place. The stakes are large. No country’s brands are as dominant as those of U.S. companies (see: ” Brand Values“). Eight of the world’s top brands, worth $327 billion in brand value alone, according to industry estimates, are American, and 68 of the top 100.
Or remember this one in April 2008 (3 short years ago before he was elected) in Fast Company http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/124/the-brand-called-obama.html
It seems there are two things that come earlier every year as I have grown up into my middle adulthood as a member of Gen-X.
1) Christmas sales begin earlier every year (Walmart and Target basically put lights and trees right next to Pumpkins for Halloween nowadays), and
2) The campaign season for the next Presidency begins about 18 months after the campaign to get elected in the first place just ended….
I mean seriously???? Brand Brand Brand…I have no idea who I will vote for in 2012, and am not making any endorsements or recommendations in this blog, because it isn’t the point of this dialog. However, I can definitely assert that if my personal study of this continues to prove out that Brand Management is one of the major key skillsets our President needs to have, that dictates the ability to grow our economy, be diplomatic, decisive, and the respected leader of the free world, then one could argue that we should all vote for the candidate who can build, maintain, and manage our brand to the utmost degree, inside of the neverending tornado of Crisis Management that is the oval office…
We can all think of how poor brand management skills have negatively impacted the lives of millions of Americans and our foreign allies in recent years whether it be the slow and pathetic responses to Katrina and the BP oil spills, or the issues in Lybia and Iran and the middle east, to the financial debacle and spending sprees of the last few years…The focus on personal brand of the party or candidate has supplanted the America-First brand concept that built this great nation.
The next person who gets my vote will likely convince me that they are the lesser of the two evils on all the other “presidential skillsets” and the dominate force of building and managing the American brand and unifying us under something that we deserve to be proud of, not just because of our past accomplishments, but because of where they lead us collectively in the future by defining and maintaining a powerful vision for how America as a brand of proper ideals and values can continue to lead our own people and the world into a future that ultimately values people, innovation, and results more than it values celebrity.