US President Elect Obama on the Cover of Time Magazine.
As written by Kristi Keck of CNN, US President Elect Barack Obama has the ability to rebrand America internationally, and restore its image as one of hope and prosperity for everyone:
President-elect Barack Obama is poised to restore the United States’ image in the international community, but experts say the president-elect must show the world that his actions will live up to his rhetoric.
Receiving a warm welcome is not the same as maintaining one, and Obama has a lot of work to do to improve the U.S. brand.
America’s image has declined in nearly every region of the world in recent years, but Obama’s victory “enables the United States to start again with a clean slate,” according to John Quelch, the senior associate dean at Harvard Business School.
“Americans can actually go to dinner parties and cocktail receptions around the world today and not have to apologize for the United States the way they have had to do the last several years,” he said. “The election has made life a little bit easier for Americans living and traveling abroad to hold their head up high again.”
The United States’ tarnished reputation has been fueled by a combination of factors, including opposition to U.S. policies like the war Iraq and alleged torture and abuse of prisoners, the perception of hypocrisy, unilateralism, and the perceived war on Islam, according to a congressional report released in June.
Obama represents a “clean break” from the past, and his election is the first big step toward change, said Dick Martin, author of “Rebuilding Brand America.”
Who’s winning the branding campaign amongst ALL US presidential candidates, Democrats and Republicans included? Barack Obama… hands down. I watched his speech in the New Hampshire primaries after finishing second to Hillary Clinton and it’s the first time a politician has given me goose bumps during a speech since seeing former President Bill Clinton speak to a standstill audience at a fundraiser here in Vancouver in 2001.
The Obama camp did a smart thing very early. They identified a simple theme or core value – “change” – that the Obama brand would stand for, and since then have repeated consistently in every speech, every verse, and every message. His message proved to resonate so strongly amongst Iowa voters that they pushed Obama into the number one position, and sent all the other candidates into me-too mode during the New Hampshire debates, each trying to deliver their own version of a change message. All rang hollow against the candidate who first brought the message to the masses. In Obama’s speech yesterday, he further evolved the message with an emotional, Martin Luther King-like sermon that was summed up in a three-word catch phrase, “Yes we can”. Watch and see this phrase repeated over and over again during the rest of the campaign, not so different than a company tagline.
What Obama has got over the other candidates, besides his charisma and likability quotient, is that his message is clear, concise and comes across as authentic. As other candidates try to re-tool their message, Obama is evolving his. A very effective branding campaign, one that many small business owners should consider when evaluating their own company brand.