What is right about America? What is its value proposition to its citizens and to the world? What is America’s brand?
In this second part of Brand America, we return to the Declaration of Independence—arguably the quintessential statement of America the brand—to find what it tells us.
In Part One, we looked at the Brand’s strong positioning statement that claimed an equal place among the nations of the world. We saw that the Declaration gives the brand a great sense of an ennobling purpose.
In the world of corporate core value statements, brands that have “truly held values” find loyal audiences and market segments. The Declaration’s preamble includes, “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.” Here then is one of the Brand’s values from the very beginning: respect for the opinion of others. This respect manifests its most power and influence in the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: freedom of speech and religion. The fact that these are still protected and the nature of that protection is still hotly discussed today is a testament to how truly held the value of respect is.
Also, in this phrase is the value of transparency. With respect comes the obligation to be transparent with one’s actions and motivations. Not only is modern America’s commitment to transparency seen in its laws such as open meeting laws, but its citizens have taken it to heart. For example, one of the foremost principles of Scrum project management is empirical process control which “relies on the three main ideas of transparency, inspection and adaptation,” according to A Guide to the Scrum Body of Knowledge (SBOK™ Guide). The Declaration’s values find expression in the threads of everyday life.
Brand America’s greatest value statement has been, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This value statement broadens the Brand’s appeal to humans all over the world.
What is the Brand’s value proposition? “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” The Brand stands for the right, the duty, of people to seek and establish governments that secure their rights. Over the years, the Brand has done this many times—from forming its own government to helping Europe throw off the shackles of Nazi Germany.
And what is the Brand’s compelling message? “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, … evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” The need that this Brand meets is the need that all humans have to be free of oppression, to possess life and liberty and to be free to pursue happiness