Marketing is a strange profession, perhaps, because once you get engaged in it, you see things everywhere, everyday, that relate to your job. When you’re watching TV, you think about the ads that play, or if you are DVRing, you think about the ads that you’re missing (that can be a mixed feeling scenario).
Usually, I see blog posts from marketers about the marketing facet of political campaigns, but I don’t recall seeing any this year, and no wonder. It’s virtually impossible to talk politics these days without getting into a knock-down, drag-out fight. I’ve been thinking, though, that tomorrow’s election, in a way, will be like a brand campaign kick-off for America. Every four years, we think about how we are branding ourselves, and we decide as a people (mostly) what we want to change and what we want to keep the same.
If I were branding America
This past Saturday, I volunteered with the Marietta Rotary Club Noon Group in an effort to assemble 50,000 meals worth of food. I worked with a couple of local politicians who I know are on the other side of the spectrum from me. There were people who I’m sure had a diverse range of religious and political beliefs, and who came from a variety of backgrounds. None of that was discussed, however. All of the 200 some people who came into the Marietta High School cafeteria on Saturday were on a mission. We were all there together to help people less fortunate than us. That was it. It didn’t matter who we were voting for, whether or not we were going to church on Sunday, which church we were going to, or if we ourselves were enjoying a financial upswing or downswing.
If someone said that I had to describe America’s brand, this would be it. Americans pull together. We rally together for those who are struggling, whether those struggles are with homelessness, disease, or other issues. We work together, and we work hard. We work together to try to make the world a better place for other people when we can. We work in our own backyards and we work everywhere around the world.
America’s brand is about optimism. People come here because they believe they can build a good life here, and that’s bee the case for centuries. People come here because they expect a fair chance at finding a good job, a good home, and good schools for their kids. America’s brand is about caring about kids. All kids.
Branding is how people perceive you
Tomorrow, America will hold a Presidential election. There have been more trying times during which an election has been held. Abraham Lincoln won his second term in office while Americans were killing Americans. Everybody has a candidate they hope will win, and pretty much everyone, it seems, feels that if their candidate does not win, our country will lose everything the American brand is about. But there is a way to preserve that strong American brand. No matter who wins, America can remind the world that we’re a working Democracy. We vote for our leaders, and we can vote for whomever we want with no worries about dying for our choices. After the election is over, we strive to come together, mend relationships, and become a unified country. It doesn’t matter who wins in regards to these things. We can maintain this most special part of the American brand, no matter what.
Alternatively, we could choose to destroy that most respectable and beloved part of what makes our brand so unique in the world.
I am worried about the election. We all have our horses and not too many people have been secretive about who they’ve voted for or who will get their vote tomorrow. But more than the election itself, I am worried about the aftermath. The aftermath is what can prove America is strong, or the aftermath can prove that America is in big trouble.
No matter who you’re cheering on, I hope that we can all greet the world on Wednesday knowing that yet another election, another change in leadership, has happened peacefully. That part of our brand should not be up for discussion, like McDonalds’ golden arches or Burger King’s crown. We the people are what truly make America what people around the world KNOW as America. Let’s keep that brand strong.