Brand of America

As a Brand Marketing and Communications practitioner for half of my life, it has been troubling to watch what was once considered a great nation crumble in front of your eyes. The past four years of the Trump Administration, and I hesitate to call it an administration since leadership didn't exist, left millions of people worldwide in utter shock by the temper tantrums, screaming for attention non-stop lying, often holding the bible in one hand. Nothing done by that administration did anything to help the American people or make stronger connections with our world allies. I wish that I could blame him for the destruction of the American brand, but he isn't the cause, but a catalyst that fast-paced America on the path to destruction. America was a great country to international visitors, world trade, climate change, or anything else that may have benefitted the American people.

As I dedicated time searching for the truth in news stories for over 1,400 days, I discovered that the image of America started crumbling many years ago, nevertheless, not as low under the out-going administration. I am sure that Trump would willingly blame the American brand's worsening on anyone except himself, but he doesn't get all the credit this time. During the George W. Bush presidency, America's brand took a deep dive, causing other nations to look at America with a cocked head and a look of disapproval, like Pepé the Crow. During the Bush-era, most of us believed that it couldn't get any worse, and we truly wanted to believe the lies and stories released in starting our deterioration as a nation. Under the Bush Administration, the country was involved in a major war in Iraq where many people died unnecessarily on both sides. Human rights violations and abuses occurred at Guantanamo and then alienated old allies.

After Bush exited, the country took a deep sigh and prepared for better days. There were huge improvements under President Barack Obama. Most countries around the world rejoiced and reunited with the new leader. Leaving the country and the President's office on a very high note after eight years, a healthy nation punished with Donald Trump. This mediocre reality show host epitomised the worse parody of America. Everything flowing from his lips is lies. His behaviour helped me and many of my colleagues' research and understand one of the worse narcissists' personalities to exist. Many shocking statements made most people start to hum or sing out loud when he talked to stay cool, calm, and collective. Unfortunately, it didn't work. I am sure that everyone worldwide remembers the harsh, racist, homophobic and sexist things he voiced with pride. For starters, he banned Muslims and called Mexicans rapists, he joyfully attacked allies while embracing dictators, and added more insult to injury by rejecting proven science and facts that would protect its population of people. He also called Africa and Haiti shit holes. Adding fuel to fire, Trump announced that laziness is a trait in blacks. With him leading the country to demise, the country's brand took a nosedive. Many years of good work and relationship building were destroyed in many idiotic tweets, making America the laughing stock of the entire world. When 74 million Americans voted for him in November 2020 to be President for another four years, the whole world laughed even harder at the ignorance or stupidity of those fooled to believe his fake stories.

All Americans will suffer from the actions of the past four years. To date, there has been a significant drop in international visitors during that time. As a result of his trade wars, American products took a considerable dive. Even China boycotts American products. So the brand that the administration has created is and will continue to impact businesses. Companies must devise a way to disconnect their global image from American politics or corrupt politicians. It won't be easy to rebuild when so many organisations are connected to American politics or politicians. The time for making positive changes is now.

Out of curiosity, I conducted a small survey with 50 of my colleagues and friends about America's brand, and the feedback received is well thought out and honest. I developed six questions to obtain feedback.

America has been known as a great country. In the past four years, do you think America’s image is weaker?

  • Yes - 49 No - 1

If you had to create a brand of America today, what would that brand be to describe the United States of America?

  • Land of Unequal Opportunity

What are three things that you feel have impacted the brand of a once-great nation in the world?

  • Lack of Political Leadership

What are three things that may be done to improve the reputation of America?

  • Stabilize Economy

What are your feelings, hopes, or vision for America in 2021?

  • We have to remain optimistic. Without hope, people perish.

Moving forward with new leadership in the White House, do you believe that things will get better in America?

  • Yes — 47

For the past 12 months, I have lived in a different country I now call home. Throughout my entire life, this is the first time I have been ashamed to be American. The moment I admit to being American, people open up and share how much disgust and hatred they have for the out-going President and America to support such corruption. Every day I think of my wonderful friends and family members trapped in what many consider one of the worse countries in the world with over 300,000+ deaths today. There are over 16 million confirmed cases in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm that 80% of American deaths are people aged 65 and older. According to the New York Times, young adults are dying at historic rates. In research published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that among U.S. adults ages 25 to 44, from March through the end of July, there were almost 12,000 more deaths than were expected based on historical norms. This all happens while the out-going leader focuses on playing golf almost every day, sending out rude tweets, blaming others for his failures, encouraging hatred and racism instead of spending time being the leader of a once vibrant nation and saving lives.

Whether you agree or not, we all know that America’s distinguished international image is not coming back anytime soon. I hope that the incoming President and Vice-President will get the country back on track and repair the damage. They can’t do it alone. It’s up to the people to participate, become aware, and eliminate the corruption of elected officials, police departments, judges, and other leadership roles abusing their power. My lesson is life is being reminded to not depend or wait on others to make changes that affect my life, my community, my friends or my country.

Special thanks to everyone who participated and provided honest feedback.

Artwork by Adam the Creator

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Mikael Wagner is a communications project manager with focus on health promotion, public relations , marketing and focus group facilitation.

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Mikael Wagner

Mikael Wagner is a communications project manager with focus on health promotion, public relations , marketing and focus group facilitation.