Brand America

I enjoyed Nick Wreden’s thoughtful review of Simon Anholt’s Brand America. As someone who finds it hard to keep up I really appreciate the bloggers who digest books for me!

Nick is impressed with Simon’s argument that “Brand America” is in decline but is more sceptical about the proposed solution. I find that a common feature of many business books; I feel quite forgiving because the problem is not simple.

I wonder though if the whole concept of America as a brand is itself the problem. Branding is a school of thought hitherto largely dominated by Americans and with it goes the idea that a few people can somehow determine how a thing is seen. In the end, they lapse into thinking they determine how it is.

So when Simon proposes a

“single Brand American working group

7 thoughts on “Brand America

  1. Davi Burn

    This has nothing whatsover to do with branding, but America is really hard to define as a single entity, in whatever context.

    The culture of northern California, for instance, is about as foreign to most Americans as is the culture of France.

  2. Johnnie Moore

    David: Yes, absolutely. I think the complexity tends to get edited out by seeing a country through a branding perspective. Though it sounds like Simon’s book is actually quite rich in its exploration of how the country engages with the world.

  3. Aleah

    While I agree that perhaps “brand” is a bit of a misnomer for the American phenom, until I came to Canada I had no idea of the impact of growing up in the USA.

    Despite where you happen to reside (Cali or Indiana, etc), with its own unique idiosyncrasies and habits, there is absolutely an American Identity that each one of us was handed as a child. It is just going to happen – even if you were raised by commune dwelling, antiestablishment parents – you are still impacted by the collective culture in which you reside. America as a phenomenon has done a frighteningly good job conveying a construct of meaning – i.e. that is, what it means to be an American.

  4. David Burn

    Yes, that’s true. There is a construct and people everywhere across the states buy into it, all through their lives. But I still say certain regions can be so indiosyncratic, as to become “other.” For instance, many in the South hold the

    belief that “the south’s gonna rise again.” Hence, their regionalism trumps their nationalism.

  5. Stefan's Branding Blog

    Book Spotting

    Just spotted two books worth mentioning. Actually, two book reviews. First comes Brand America : The Mother of All Brands (a superb review at FusionBrand, annotated by Johnnie Moore here; my two cents being that America still has a lot

  6. Harry Webber

    “Brand America” is just another excuse for a few of us overpaid ( and over-rated) American Brnading Experts to squander a few more hard-earned tax dollars on foolishness. I started to publically thumb my nose at such practices. We created the Coca-Cola “Cool American” campaign to get US brands to begin to consider their roll in defining “Brand America” to the global consumer. ( as a joke) To our surprise these efforts recieved international press coverage and the campaign was adapted by Sprite in China. Even the New York Times covered the effort under the headline “Unauthorized Campaigns Used by Unauthorized Creators Become a Trend.” Has the entire world gon through the looking glass or is truth just sillier than fiction?


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