We often debate how well big brands are doing in terms of image and perception. If we look at America as a brand, I think it's safe to say we've got a long way to go towards winning over "consumers" worldwide. In Iraq, for example, America's "show of force" branding strategy has pretty much backfired. A recent Washington Post story on that really highlights the dangers of misunderstanding or failing to learn about your consumer. The Pentagon gets pretty low marks as a Brand Manager. The executive branch isn't doing much better. It's no wonder we're always hearing about how America is perceived worldwide as either a bully or an arrogant bore.
A 211-page, $400,000 study by the Rand Corp. suggests that instead of being super-aggressive in a military sort of way, a better Iraq branding strategy may be to say "We will help you." Maybe some good branding strategy really can win hearts and minds, if you hire the right people for the job. And the price was a relative bargian.