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 one 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 Two 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 two 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 Xavier University’s American Dream Composite Index (ADCI) as the new performance metric for Economic Development Organizations and elected officials.
- Helping educate people on what the American Dream really is. The media has created public confusion around the American Dream. Sometimes it is described as getting a great education. Other times it is positioned as owning a home. The reality is neither adequately describes the American Dream. Xavier University’s ADCI is the only statistically validated measure of the American Dream. The University has provided The Burghard Group regular access to their monthly national research findings. The ADCI reveals what people living in the United States do, strive for, work for, wish for, and ultimately, hope for as they assume multiple roles, including but not limited to, consumers, parents, children, students, employees, employers, parishioners, voters, etc.
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. There is no cost associated with becoming a member. 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 have ideas on how to make the website even more valuable to you, contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, you can keep current on the latest news about place branding by following the Strengthening Brand America News I curate.