Brand USA : What Do We Stand For?

Brand America: The Mother of All Brands  by Simon Anholt and Jeremy Hildreth

Countries are among the most powerful brands on the global marketplace. Love it or loathe it, never has there been a bigger, stronger or, arguably, more controversial brand than the United States of America.

More than any other country, America has been blessed with a huge range of positive brand attributes. The country is associated with the definitive youth lifestyle (Coke, MTV, Levi’s); with sporting prowess (Nike, NBA, Timberland); and with technological supremacy (Microsoft, Dell, IBM). America is well-informed (CNN, Time, Newsweek) and, naturally, wealthy (American Express, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs). Of the top 100 international brands of 2003, 64 of them are American-owned. (source: Interbrand) The core of America’s potency lies in it being the country of origin for the world’s three most valuable and profitable business sectors: entertainment, merchant banking and IT. This makes America the world’s most powerful public domain brand. American brands simply hitch themselves onto this powerful national brand, and a cultural and commercial trail is instantly blazed for them around the world.

Today, however, America is a brand in trouble. In the wake of 9/11, and as the war on terrorism continues, and the conflict in Iraq intensifies, Brand America faces its toughest challenge. Can it address – and redress – a growing anti-Americanism that is repainting its brand image in harsh and lurid colors? Increasingly, America is also coming to be seen in overseas markets as bullying, polluting, imperialistic, ignorant, fat, selfish, inconsistent, arrogant, self-absorbed, greedy, hypocritical and meddling. Author and country-branding expert Simon Anholt believes that America has done more to control its reputation than any other place in history: in war and in peace, through words and actions, inside and outside its borders. Anholt believes America needs to move beyond current concerns of crisis management, and take the long view in order to regain its brand integrity. He recommends that America’s brand custodians take themselves to task by asking a few questions that every self-respecting brand manager has to answer. What does America now stand for? Where is it going? What is its future role in the community of nations? Why should it continue to exist? Only then will they be able to define a strategy for recovery. Only then will America once again enjoy its unique status as the mother of all brands.

Ever since the Declaration of Independence, America has deliberately and consciously built and managed itself as a brand. From the start, the noble notions of liberty, of freedom – and enterprise – have been at the heart of America’s identity, its Constitution and its brand; several amendments and two centuries down the line, that essential libertarian ethic remains a paradox. Brand America is the first book to tell that story from a brand perspective. Starting in colonial times, and spanning two world wars, the Cold War, times of poverty, prosperity and mass immigration, this compelling account concludes with America’s current efforts to restore its fading brand image and draws conclusions about what’s gone right – and more importantly – wrong.

(Article taken from A big book seller’s website who need no props, but you can buy the book here ;-)

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