No offense to the Nike swoosh, but is it smart to sell a president the way they sell shoes and clothing? I recently conducted a Google image search for “Obama branding, Romney branding and Ronald Reagan branding.” The results were interesting. Obama’s page showed virtually all symbols with a few photographs. Clearly, this worked in 2008 to sell a president who possessed little substantive experience. Sell the sizzle!
When I think about branding, I’m reminded of a clothing factory I visited in South Korea as a member of a Rotary International Group Study Exchange Team. The production line and sewing machines were interesting to see, but what was really fascinating was the final sewing station with labels featuring brands like Sax Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Macys, and others. The different brand labels were sewn into the same garments.
Both Romney’s and Reagan’s Google image results were all photographs. There were no symbols, posters, or placards. We all know President Reagan was a statesman, he was authentic. I believe Governor Romney is authentic too. We elected President Obama because of the brand he created: hope and change. He did an exquisite job of “pitching” the right message and used the appropriate media to communicate with his audience, namely the web. However, he has failed to deliver on his myriad of promises, especially the big one: to lead and unite us ALL, “no blue states, red states, just the United States.”
With a sluggish economy, high unemployment, a defacto recession for most Americans, expensive energy, food, and healthcare, huge deficits, runaway entitlements, and government dysfunction, compounded by a lack of presidential leadership, it seems to me that we need a person of substance who has the personal history, well-documented character, and resume necessary to lead and manage a large, complex organization such as the United States of America. We don’t need “feel good images.”
The tobacco industry gave us the Marlboro Man and used feel good images to sell their brands. How did that work out? And we don’t need the divisive rhetoric we’ve heard about the one percent and ninety-nine percent. We need problem-solving, not the snazzy ads and slogans that worked in 2008. Let’s look at President Obama’s abysmal record for the past four years. The steak, not the sizzle! The substance, not the brand! The reality, not the slogans!
The question for November 6th is: Are we capable of electing a president based upon real qualifications, not slogans, to address the real issues of the day rather than just smooth rhetoric and clever, colorful sayings and symbols? I hope we are. I for one will be voting for Romney-Ryan to restore the optimism, pride in achievement and success, free-enterprise, and small government which has made America the greatest nation on earth!
© Steven M. Stroum