On hearing the outcome of the military mission to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, Mayor Bloomberg somberly declared Americans have kept their promise after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
I have written about the importance of authenticity before. Authenticity is key to branding success. Keeping your promise matters. If you don’t your reputation is damaged and trust is suspended. Brand America is at a historical moment and the need to behave authentically is of paramount importance.
Osama bin Laden was placed on the FBI’s list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and Most Wanted Terrorists for his involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings. He was implicated in the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. His attack on the United States on 9/11 led then President George W. Bush to promise Americans and the world that Osama bin Laden would be brought to justice. On May 2, 2011, President Barrack Obama announced to the world – Mission Accomplished.
Now Brand America faces another challenge. It is critical America remembers and behaves in a manner authentic with its core promise. Brand America is squarely in the global fish bowl and the world is watching every move. They are watching to see if the core promise of Brand America is authentic.
My concern is the global jury may still be out. An article authored in 2009, made me think hard about the world’s real perception of Brand America. The article is titled “How the World Views America – So Different From How America Views Itself”. It is a sobering look in the mirror that makes me reflect on the wisdom behind Michael Jackson’s lyrics – “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.”
But a lot has certainly happened since that article was written. The world economy has been in recovery mode. Protesters in the Middle East are demanding increased freedoms, and China is undergoing unprecedented economic growth on a trajectory that could result in it passing America as the global leading super power. But one constant is that the world is watching to see if Brand America’s promise is authentic or simply hyperbola.
In my humble opinion, it has never been more important than this very moment to walk the talk of Brand America’s promise. The world is watching. The world wants to believe.
I for one am optimistic the world will not be disappointed.
“His demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity,” Obama said in a speech announcing bin Laden’s death. “Justice has been done.”
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