By Susan Waldman, partner and director of strategic services at ZilYen
While leisurely catching up on old online versions of the Sunday New York Times over a colorful plate of scrambled eggs prepared by my 12-year-old daughter, my attention was piqued to a stage of high alert at the notice of a headline for Bono's OpEd column on the Rebranding of America. And, I read with delight - bordering on excitement - of the vision that he laid out for America and his clarity around two central points -- 1.) his optimism and hope for change, and 2.) the depth of his understanding of the real meaning of branding -- one that we can only wish that most of the marketplace could grasp.
I will bypass the discussion on the political front (beyond mentioning that I was left inspired, relieved and hopeful - even given everything that has transpired since this column appeared) and jump to this real understanding of what it means to brand or re-brand. He showed great comprehension and application of four key components of any great brand:
- At the core of any great brand is an aspirational vision that inspires the mind and the heart
- The vision needs to be authentic to the passion of its people - your people must be inspired before they can inspire others
- Understanding that it's not enough to say we believe - what we say has to be backed by our actions
- It takes the ongoing and determined effort of all of us - all employees, citizens, etc. - to create a great brand
These four qualities are the foundation of the creation and ongoing management of any great brand. Whereas I can recognize and put the spotlight on the validity of his approach and understanding, I think you will find Bono's words to be much more inspiring than mine. In addition, he has a much more impactful and articulate vision of the potential of American's brand than I can express. So, from here, I invite you to read his entire piece at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/opinion/18bono.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1