Brand building — brand diluting in DC

March 5, 2009

What if you say one thing, and do another? Or, work hard at building a brand, and then do something to negate the hard work?

I couldn’t help but see President Obama doing this to Brand Obama recently when he agreed to let 7,991 earmarks, worth about $5.5 billion of taxpayers’ money go along for the ride in the $410 billion omnibus budget bill. (Individual politicians love taking from the big pot into which all taxpayers have dropped their hard-earned cash to dole out juicy chunks to their own friends and constituents.)

What about Obama’s campaign pledges to change business as usual? What about his pledge for fiscal responsibility and to go “line by line” to surgically remove the pork spending that is sneaked, without debate, into worthy bills?

What if Nike started saying “Just Do It… Sometimes?” What if the FedEx brand was built on “When it quite often has to be there overnight, except on Tuesdays.”

A brand is more than an image, or a tagline; it’s what people instinctively feel in their gut about your product or service — because of what you say you are and, more importantly, because of the experience you provide to your peeps. It’s perception to a point; but reality and performance in the long run. Brand loyalty is built on meeting (and exceeding) expectations. But loyalties can be shaken. Loyalties turn if the brand does not live up to its promises.

Maybe President Obama should sit down with a good branding agency for a refresher meeting to remind him of what he so ably built during his campaign.

He might think more carefully before diluting his brand with a few deft strokes of the pen again.


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