The Flag Issue.
July 06, 2015
Let’s talk about ‘the Flag issue’ in a marketing context.
Marketing is at least partially about “Brand” awareness or enhancement and creating memorable “Impressions.” Marketers spend our time ultimately towards motivating human behavior and smart marketers tap into human emotion.
The thing is brands are actually defined by how they are perceived in others’ minds. Think Coca Cola – refreshing, ice cold on a hot sunny day; a generation that realized Coke could ‘get the world to sing in harmony’ or turn Mean Joe Green into the world’s most generous donor of dirty sweat soaked garments. Or, is Coca Cola the demon guilty of making too many Americans overweight first by hooking us on sugar water then forcing a belch to boot. The Nike swoosh – emblem of athletic greatness or symbol denoting “made in oppressive sweatshop?”
Brands evolve: Think Denny’s – once a target for minority attacks on corporate prejudice but now a beacon and leader in all things ‘diversity.’ Think Berkshire Hathaway – does it still bring ‘shirts’ to mind? Because brands evolve, as marketers our challenges grow since ‘brand consistency’ is a hallmark of effective marketing. Now, about the Confederate Battle Flag….
Factually, the flag commonly known as the Confederate flag was not the flag of the Confederate States. That flag resides in museums throughout the South. The brouhaha flag needs to join it in places where those who choose to learn about its rightful place in history can go to see it. Much like swastikas are generally seen as inappropriate symbols of hate and divisiveness and not appropriate for government buildings or kids’ t-shirts, they are perfectly appropriate in Holocaust museums in Washington, New Orleans or Auschwitz.
Whether you view the Confederate Battle Flag as a proud symbol of Southern Heritage or an icon of oppression and hate we can all see that it is divisive. ‘The South’ today needs new icons and an enhanced brand image in the minds of all who consider us for lifestyle, world-class education, outstanding workforce and economic development. Its time for a re-brand.