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Marketing America: Bridging the European Divide

From the unexpected source of a weekly marketing column appearing at Forbes.com called 'Unsolicited Advice,' two top business marketers offer target audience-centric recommendations on Restoring America's Image in Europe. Marc E. Babej and Tim Pollak offer sage advice to American politicians, and perhaps in a far deeper manner than simply repairing the current divide between the United States and Europe.

As far as bridging that gap is concerned, while noting that the center of political gravity for European populations is certainly left of that for America, they also note that most European reaction is far more Bush-centric than America-centric. They also recognize that a "slick new slogan won't repair things."
The best strategy is to turn one of our biggest disadvantages--our deep internal divisions--into an asset.

European societies are also deeply divided over some of the same issues: immigration and integration, strategies to fight terror, the balance between protection and privacy, to name a few. What sets the U.S. apart is how we deal with them: with open debate, without restrictions on ethnic and religious customs, without the rise of xenophobic political movements.

America has a worthy message and an urgent need to get this message heard. Paid media would be an essential component given the less-than-friendly treatment of the U.S. by much of the European press.

Here’s a start on a game plan:

First, coalesce around a clear, achievable objective: to promote a more positive image of the United States -not the U.S. government. Whether we like it or not, the current administration is toxic in Europe. Rather than waste time and resources trying to redeem an executive team that will be out of office in two years, place the focus on the country. This is a time for politicians from all sides to walk the talk and put the nation's interests first.
From the minds of two of Manhattan's top business marketers attempting to address the US-European divide, that same sage ('Unsolicited') advice is perhaps even more valuable when applied in a purely domestic sense. For without even pause for deeper consideration, it is most certainly "time for politicians from all sides to walk the talk and put the nation's interests first" not just to bridge the gap between us and our trans-Atlantic cousins, but to truly put our nation's interest first and thus begin to bridge the divide between the seemingly self-isolated Washington body politic and the rest of the nation that depends on their elected application of judgment.

Marc Babej, founder of the New York City marketing strategy firm Reason Inc., is a good friend who recently became an American citizen. Fewer could possibly have been happier for him than I, and Marc’s own excitement should be bottled and distributed to those who have lost sight of what a special and uniquely free nation ours is.

The ideas and aspects that separate us from our European cousins are not nearly as numerous as the values and traditions that will forever bind us.

So when the native-German, now one of America's newest and proudest citizens, speaks of how to communicate and connect with our European cousins, perhaps we should all take note.