Monday, February 2, 2009

A Chief Branding Officer for the United States

Right now the State Department is U.S. "brand central" - specifically the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

And we have seen some amazingly talented people occupy that role - most prominently Karen Hughes and Charlotte Beers. Whether you think they succeeded or not, they are brilliant strategists.

I once had the privilege of hearing Karen Hughes speak and will never forget it.

I wonder though whether this position should be broader. Because our brand is about much more than international diplomacy. We need to have a distinctly American communication that is:
  • Clear
  • Compelling
  • Correct
  • Coordinated
  • Consistent

I know one possible objection to such an office is that branding is propaganda. But you know what? That is just not true, at least not anymore, in an age where social media rules. Rather, it is about effective communication. Clearing the decks and telling the truth amid all the noise, including the lies, that are propagated out there in print and online.

We are fortunate that a Chief Technology Officer is on the way. I say, we need a Chief Branding Officer as well.