Quote Attributed To: Aldous Huxley
In an earlier blog post I commented on the poor performance of Brand America in FutureBrand’s 2014/15 Country Brand Index report. Brand America ranked #7 with Japan (#1), Switzerland (#2) and Germany (#3) taking the top positions.
One day after the release of that Report, the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index published their annual study results indicating Brand Germany has replaced Brand America as the “best nation” in the world.
For perspective, the two studies look at different factors to evaluate nations. The Anholt-GfK study measures perception based on 23 attributes that make up the 6 dimensions of exports, governance, culture, people, tourism and immigration/investment. The FutureBrand study evaluates the 7 dimensions of awareness, familiarity, preference, associations, consideration, decision/visitation and advocacy. Differences in questionnaires and response methodologies makes any attempt to reconcile the rankings a fools errand. Each offers a unique and different perspective of what is really going on with Brand America’s global equity.
This year both Reports are indicating Brand America’s equity is eroding. A Newswire PR release suggests “The USA has shown the least impressive NBI[SM] gain among the developed nations. While it still is seen as number one in several areas, including creativity, contemporary culture, and educational institutions, its role in global peace and security only ranks 19th out of 50 nations.”
Clearly, this is not the outcome we want or need with respect to our Nation’s brand equity. It is an alarming trend that needs to be addressed through thoughtful action in order to be reversed. The issue isn’t whether Brand America has dropped to #2 as reported in the Anholt-GfK Report or #7 as reported in the FutureBrand Report. The issue is that Brand America’s equity is declining rather than getting stronger. The value proposition (the AmericanDream) is losing authenticity.
CALL TO ACTION
We need to start focusing on making decisions that better enable residents of the U.S. to realize their American Dream. This is the only way we will reverse the global decline and ensure the sustained competitiveness of Brand America.
It starts with getting a clear, data based understanding of what the American Dream really is. That means ignoring the media’s myopic perspective and instead paying attention to Xavier University’s statistically validated quantitative assessment of the American Dream. We can’t begin to appreciate how the decisions made by elected officials impact the authenticity of the American Dream if we don’t have a firm grasp on what it is.
Then, we need to hold both elected officials and economic development professionals accountable for better enabling residents to achieve their American Dream. Decisions on asset creation, infrastructure investment and public policy/programs must be evaluated against their impact (+/-) on the authenticity of the American Dream.
I believe it is not too late to address the decline in Brand America’s global equity. But, in order to do so successfully we need to each take the first step of self education.