Destroying the American Brand
The cumulative negative effect of the Obama administration's methods, actions, and ideology on the perception of the United States, both at home and abroad, becomes especially vivid when viewed in the context of a business analogy.
And no business can survive the purposeful destruction of its brand.
In business, no corporate asset is more valued than the brand. At its heart, the brand is a promise; it represents customers' collective expectations of the firm's products and services. It is built over years and can be destroyed in an instant.
A qualitative example of brand value can be found in a 2009 study that placed the value of the Coca-Cola brand at $68.73 billion.
The American brand consists of multiple attributes which include personal liberty, equality of all citizens before the law, economic opportunity, strength in defending our values, a culture founded on historic Judeo-Christian principles, and integrity in dealing with our allies throughout the world. Built over centuries, it has been able to evolve because it is constructed on the fundamental bedrock of the Constitution and a legal/political system designed to provide checks and balances.
The way that brand is being systematically destroyed by the present administration could never be tolerated in any commercial, corporate, or institutional structure:
- In the corporate world, the president is responsible for setting the corporate direction, thereby increasing value to stockholders, perpetuating and augmenting the corporate culture, and acting as the public face of the company.
The Obama administration has been characterized by a decided lack of leadership at the top, as evidenced by Mr. Obama's abdicative management style, personal arrogance, and seeming disconnect from his responsibilities to the needs of his constituents and from critical national and international events.
Of course, it is doubtful that Obama would ever have been hired as a chief executive or in any senior position, given his refusal to divulge pertinent data about his background, transcripts, and other relevant information.
- At a time when businesses pride themselves on lean management and manufacturing, the present government has bloated itself with contrived positions, vastly increased manpower, and extravagant expense structures.
From the top down, it has assembled a cast of manifestly unqualified individuals, including tax cheats, a self-professed Communist, and radical leftist ideologues, to deal with the most pressing and serious issues of our time.
- The number and extent of scandals that have emerged and continue to unfold would, in the business community, result in a wholesale housecleaning. Such behavior is not only unethical, but illegal; it would subject those employers and employees involved to prosecution. The White House has not taken the initiative in any meaningful investigations and prosecutions.
- When it comes to competition, the business world can be a fierce place, replete with references to armed conflict and quotes from military leaders. Despite this, few executives would publicly and openly demonize even their most serious competitors as the Obama administration routinely does with those who oppose its policies.
- No competent executive would impair his company's access to the raw materials necessary to its processes -- yet, as domestic energy prices rise and the economy declines, we see the Obama administration withholding permits for energy exploration and drilling, delaying the Keystone pipeline, and openly declaring a war on coal, while investing billions in Brazilian offshore oil explorations, stating, "We want to be your best customer."
- What business executive would undertake an international tour of both friends and competitors and demean his or her company, as Obama consistently does with his endless rounds of apology? By continually denigrating our values, traditions, and accomplishments, he is repeatedly demonstrating ignorance of history and a refusal to deal with facts.
- Like countries, businesses have alliances with other entities. Deals must be carefully honored, or the entire network stands to be weakened from mistrust. From denying previously committed defense systems to Eastern Europe to weakening our longstanding relationship with Israel, to conducting negotiations with the Taliban in the face of those allies fighting with us in Afghanistan, the administration has destroyed the value of American commitments. By supporting an Islamist-infiltrated regime in Egypt, refusing to back legitimate rebellion in Iran, and retreating from its own previously drawn red line in Syria, the administration has not only alienated friends, but emboldened enemies.
- In business, no group is more important than the end customers. Every effort is made to deliver a product or service that will satisfy a target segment and build a loyalty to the brand. It is ironic, therefore, that the Obama regime, which has been exposed in a drive to undertake the largest illegal gathering of private information in history, nonetheless persists in attempting to force such clearly unwanted products as ObamaCare, gun control, expanded entitlement programs, and amnesty on a customer base that has been both strident and vocal in its opposition.
- Increasingly, corporate culture is cited as a deciding factor among both prospective customers and employees. Billions of dollars are spent annually by corporations and institutions demonstrating their values through support of charities, community involvement, and other conduct.
America's is a culture of freedom, opportunity, inclusion, and integrity. If the majority of its citizens believe that the United States is exceptional, it is because for so long we have been the last best hope of those who suffer from oppression. We have expended our resources and the blood of our young men and women in defending inalienable rights throughout the globe.
What then are we to make of an administration that replaces unity with divisiveness, that stirs racial and class hatred at every opportunity, and that sees us not as one people free to differ yet united in our core beliefs, but rather as a seething nest of angry minorities, each holding the other responsible for injustices, real or imagined? Why would such an administration, deaf to the voices of economic experience, persist in policies destructive to potential and existing jobs and future opportunities? Why so often side with and defend sects that seek a violent theocracy that would undermine our legal system in favor of one derived from other sources?
It is only reasonable to inquire what penalties accrue to those whose actions inflict such damage on a brand. Publicly owned corporations are typically closely watched by financial analysts, and their verdict can result in consequences extending from an inability to raise capital to lower stock prices to demands for corporate reorganization or even dissolution.
If a deeply troubled business entity is to be saved, it requires a radical change of executive personnel as the first step in restoring goodwill. Those who come after must prove themselves, by prior experience, to be capable of undertaking the Herculean task of recreating faith and confidence. Even with the best talent, it is almost always a long road back.
Where this is not possible and where matters have slipped too far, there are only two alternatives -- either the company goes out of existence, or what is left is acquired by another, stronger entity.
The corporate analogy, if not perfect, is extremely telling, and it is worthwhile to remember that despite comments to the contrary, like businesses, no country is too big to fail.