The USA used to be perceived as the beacon of democracy and progress for modern times, but now that thought is scary.
The today happening (for lack of a better word) rather proves a branding systemic failure — more specifically, an unhealthy hypocrisy about the governing values of liberal tolerance, equal rights, elitism, and openness. The nation inventing the political correctness pushes in its front office a Chief Incorrectness Officer, and they (at least half of them) seem proud of it! For the people living in the geographies where communism was a dreadful experience for almost 50 years, this dissonance is thunderous, maybe because our post-communist ears are more sensitive to demagogy than the Western ears.
Moreover, to spend such an immense amount of human energy and money as Americans did over the last one and a half year, just to anoint an offensive and empty political agitator as the highest representative of the “most tolerant”, “visionary”, “fair” nation, is such nonsense!
Brand wise, the brand USA is paying the price for not finding a way to actualize its ancestral roots, its core/DNA of purest American conservative capitalism manifestations of being either poor or rich, of power parade to impress, of ‘what you see is what you get’, and of freedom by any means. The brand USA stopped some time ago to be credible and authentic, because of too much claimed correctness, and too much Big Brother establishment, so it’s about time to live the revelation of “who we really are, honestly now?!”. To restrict the post-election analysis to how lucrative the social media is in a political campaign, to the journalism’s new way of playing impartiality, to the fact that young generation has almost zero engagement with the way a nation is led, means actually to refuse to see the elephant in the room.
As about the US political class and its current modus operandi (dynasty topic included! star system included! media superficiality included!) — hopefully this disruption will make them aware of their toxicity, or even inutility (since someone never serving a day in politics or military could become their CEO!). To rebrand political parties is just “blowing in the wind”, and this is true for any nation, be it US or UK! A brand is first of all a proof of certitude, an inner truth about a belief, and a promise. The post-truth era proudly powered by the new darling of the Sapiens — the Internet — is the biggest challenge for brands, so do not act surprised if an army of Trumps queue impatiently behind the curtain to “make our world great again”!
For my fellows Eastern Europeans, news is not great (we still try to make sense of the earlier Brexit), and not necessarily because we felt better with Obama than with Trump, but because we realize that we have to work harder by ourselves, and look less for guidance to the “beacons” of democracy and progress, in dealing with this transformative world.
Aneta Bogdan, FCIM, Chartered Marketer
Managing Partner Brandient