Have we become a nation of second-best or even third-best? I mean that in the wider literal sense. Let me show you how that could be.
But maybe much of it goes back to branding and marketing terminology? Brands are always important to proprietary companies. It is great for a company to say it is the only, best or number one in an area. It leaves others to measure up to the brand’s expertise. And often competitors cannot quite get there. They may come close. Sometimes there is no substitute and that matters. They call it the secret sauce for a reason, it is secret.
So diehard competitors look for ways to entice or seduce the consumer. Convenient packaging, pricing, whatever would help lure the consumer to their alternative. We see knockoffs of every major product. But consumers can be fickle and sometimes loyal to brands. That is until something happens to destroy that loyalty and credibility.
However, those would be things alternative competitors are not too worried about. Brand loyalty is a problem to them, not something coveted. Sometimes competitors can excel at what they do because, after all, they are merely trying to undermine or detract from the real branded product. A competitor’s mission is different than the brand master’s. And competitors can become good at chipping away at that brand loyalty. Stay with me.
A nation may work the same way. It can have and affect it’s own brand by whatever it does. A country is not always unique and must try to use its positives to its advantage. It may also have competitors trying to undermine a nation’s loyalty, thereby giving a challenger an edge. You can see the glaring similarities.
Though one goal is to eventually get the consumer to say “what difference does it make anyway which brand I choose, if both are about same thing?” Then it is up to brand masters to ask if it really is the same thing? Or to point out the difference.
The problem with an analogy is when you take it too far. No need to do that for this purpose. Now let’s look at the country’s side of the analogy.
We have a country with a great brand from the beginning, being what none of its competitors could be. Yet chipping away the loyalty works the same way. At some point, you have to defend your superior brand, if you really believe in it. From an opponent’s perspective, anything they can do to undermine a country’s belief in itself is critical to their objective. That weakens a nation’s defense. Now apply that opponents’ strategy on a nonstop basis and you have a problem. Eventually, dissent can rise from within.
In marketing terms, this is where the consumer abandons a name brand and starts to look for alternatives. Any brand loyalty is defeated.
The problem then is when the consumer no longer trusts the brand or believes there is a difference between others. Or if the consumer no longer cares one wit about a brand’s superiority. It is similar to a country losing its uniqueness. The worst thing that can happen to some major companies is losing its brand in any way. A country has the same threat. When it stops being its unique self, there is no difference between its opponents. Though there are bigger consequences when a country goes downhill.
I said all that to ask if, in this country, our brand is being weakened to the point many don’t care anymore about its superiority — much less in defending our brand? We hope not but signs are already there and visible to even the dumbest enemy. When we lose as a country is when we start to consider ourselves second best or third-best. If we are not willing to uphold that superiority and defend it, then we are resigning to second-best status. All it can take is turning our will from brand superiority into being a next-best country. At that point it becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy.
Now factor into this analogy equation that we are being told our system needs changing. We should be more like our second and third-best competitors. We need an overhaul. The disenchanted within try to supplant another system in place of the original. Sure, everyone knows they are doing it. But what does it take to switch people over to the new brand? Well, it is already in the works, too. Cleverly they are bribing people like consumers with enticements, and promises. They have already undermined the brand. So what could brand masters do; how could they compete with that sales pitch?
In reality, those are just pipe dreams anyway because the competitors can’t deliver on them. But they don’t have to worry about that and don’t have to deliver, only get you to switch. Because once you do, the gate closes behind you and you cannot return to the superior brand even if you wanted. They have made that impossible, or soon will.
So the people accepted the next-best-thing country and have no options. It worked the same way with Obamacare. You find out you are screwed or don’t like the alternative and want to undo it, only to find out you can’t. Throw in a Supreme Snob saying “not so fast.” It becomes a done deal and hard to return to normal because normal has changed. Then you start to question if there ever was a normal before, or was that an illusion?
It’s very seductive but instead of leading you down the road of more options, it leads to less options as it goes. Next, you have lost your ability to choose at all. Yet it was all done and framed as a choice from the onset. Even dubbed a great choice. Sorry, no return policy.
So then how do you like your new next-best thing of a nation? Besides, it is really hard to get passionate about defending that second-best country, especially when it really isn’t even the next best thing. Sometimes brand really matters.
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