Saturday, July 3, 2010

Politics Over Principle Damages America-the Brand

Getting back to the Toyota – BP – America branding discussion, perhaps it is America, the brand, that suffers most when corporate America puts profits over responsibility. This is often compounded by our elected officials who engage in obstructionist partisan politics at just the moment when they need to pull together for the common good. Take Texas Congressman Joe Barton, the jackass who came out and said BP was owed an apology for being subjected to a “shakedown” by our government. He was taken to the wood shed by his own party for that one. He represents Houston, the big oil town. No surprise there. And wouldn't you love to follow the money trail between him and big oil?

I suppose in a perfect world, there would be a long-term boycott of Toyota vehicles and BP oil, and Congressman Barton would be tarred and feathered. But that’s the problem. Like certain banks we all learned about in the big financial meltdown, they are too big to fail.

I’ve heard Congressman Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, say the GOP stands for Greed Over Principle. Well, putting politics aside and sticking to branding, the same could be said for corporate America. It is more than disturbing to consider how the biggest corporations – from big oil to big box retailers, put their profits first, and the bigger picture – the environment, the safety of their employees, etc. – second. When taken to task, they sing the same old tune: “We’re the good guys because we create jobs. If you fine us or impose too many restrictions on us, you’ll take jobs away from hard working American families.” I say shame on them all for diminishing America, the brand.

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