About Strengthening Brand America Project
Academically, my background is an undergraduate degree in theoretical mathematics and an MBA in innovation management. My early career involved creating computer programs and simulation models to support both Sales and Marketing. My love affair with brand building didn’t begin until Procter & Gamble acquired the company I worked for in 1982 and I was given the opportunity to become a brand assistant (a now defunct title at P&G).
My Brand Building Credentials
I was given the opportunity to learn brand building from an organization recognized as one of the best branding companies in the world. My career at P&G was an amazing “hands-on” education. It was also the beginning of a life-long journey of learning about branding theory and practical application. Along the way, I built successful brands in both the U.S. and Canada, helped create the brand building framework model used globally by P&G to manage their brands and was recognized as on of the top brand builders in the company by being awarded the honorary title of Harley Procter Marketer.
In 2005, P&G gave me the chance to further challenge my branding skills by becoming an Executive on Loan to help Governor Taft brand the state of Ohio. The experience was my first exposure to “place branding”, and I learned how to translate the principles of product and corporate branding into the branding of communities, regions and states. The good news is that, while I found the tactics to be different, the principles proved to hold true. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 (my last year as Executive Director) Ohio won the Site Selection Governor’s Cup for the greatest number of capital investment deals nationally. And, the results of a bi-annual national quantitative market research study to measure the strength of Ohio’s image within the CEO community indicated statistically significant improvement between 2006 and 2011 despite the global recession and the impact of the challenges faced by the U.S. automotive industry (a pillar industry for Ohio’s economy).
The Purpose of This Website
In 2009, I decided to dedicate myself to helping the economic development profession master place branding as a strategic choice for improving local community prosperity. I created the Strengthening Brand America Project as an educational platform dedicated to advancing a “hands-on” understanding of the craft. My belief is that by creating more investment worthy local communities, in aggregate we will create a stronger Brand America. The website contains practical information on how to reapply the principles of product and corporate branding to help make locations more competitive for capital investment. Particular emphasis is in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, image management, identity creation, and effective communication.
Here is a 2013 interview in the Cincinnati Business Courier that provides a succinct overview of what I am trying to achieve – Business Courier Article 2013
My Four Big Goals
I am dedicating my full-time attention to making the Strengthening Brand America Project a go-to resource for economic development professionals who want to learn about effective brand building. The Burghard Group LLC is focused on four things –
- Helping America be more globally competitive for capital investment by supporting place branding mastery within the economic development profession as a strategy for sustainable economic growth of their local communities. This includes establishing the American Dream Composite Index as the new performance metric for Economic Development Organizations and elected officials.
- Helping communities impacted by shale gas commercialization avoid the risk of experiencing a boom-to-bust cycle, by supporting economic development professional mastery of strategic planning design and deployment and through the sharing of academic research and identified “hands-on” best practices.
- Catalyzing a dialogue on the creation of a national energy policy, through the continued effort as a founding Board member of the Nemacolin Energy Institute.
- Mentoring future economic development professionals as a Fellow of the Levin College of Urban Affairs affiliated with the Cleveland State University Center for Economic Development.
The Strengthening Brand America Project is self-funded from my personal retirement account and I am extremely grateful to everybody who has provided pro bono support. Without their help, the website would simply not be possible.
The vision for The Burghard Group LLC is admittedly big. But, I believe making progress against each of the four focus areas will make a contribution in helping our nation be more competitive in today’s interdependent global economy. Strengthening Brand America is a personal passion I am now fully committed to.
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If you’d like to become a member of the Strengthening Brand America Project just click HERE (remember, our sponsors make membership free). If you would like to review my biography and the 12 Things I Believe, simply click the download button.
If you would like to learn more about the Strengthening Brand America Project and/or The Burghard Group, or if you are interested in learning more about becoming a corporate advertising sponsor, you can contact me by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, you can keep current on the latest news about place branding by following the Strengthening Brand America News that I curate.