How to ruin a perfectly good "brand" -- America

A survey by the GMI World Poll find growing "anti-American sentiment"
among international consumers, evidently a reflection of result of disdain
for Bush administration foreign policies. This feeling "negatively
impacts U.S. multinational companies closely branded as American."

I doubt that the arrogant central players in the White House took
this backlash into account as they laid their plans for "New! Improved!
Preemptive Strike!"

Here's the story.
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Seattle, Washington -- December 27, 2004

American multinational companies will need to mount a valiant effort to
distance themselves from the image of the U.S. federal government and
its unpopular foreign policies in the New Year or risk continued brand
erosion and ongoing boycotting by European and Canadian consumers,
according to independent market research solutions company GMI, Inc.

The GMI World Poll conducted an 8,000 international consumer survey
on America’s image abroad, U.S. foreign policy and American
multinational brands on Dec. 10 through 12 (representative samples of
1,000 consumers in each of eight countries: Canada, China, France,
Germany, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and United States). The study
found that 1/3 of the 8,000 international consumers stated that
American foreign policy, including the war on terror and the war in Iraq,
most influenced their image of America; only 17% indicated that
American movies and music most influenced their image. Furthermore,
79% of European and Canadian consumers distrust the American
government, 50% distrust American companies, and 39% distrust the
American people.

When European and Canadian consumers were asked to characterize the
American government and President Bush, they were most often
described as arrogant and self-centered; UN Secretary General Kofi
Annan was characterized as conventional and reserved. With this in
mind, when consumers were asked to characterize American
multinational brands, the data revealed select American multinational
company’s - AOL, Exxon Mobil and Starbucks - were viewed very much
like the American government and President Bush: arrogant, intrusive
and self-centered.

According to the study, these multinational American companies were
also among the top brands most likely to be boycotted; in keeping with
polls from the past three months, GMI World Poll found that 20% of
European and Canadian consumers reported that they consciously avoid
American products because of recent American foreign policy and
military action.

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Alas, the nation's leaders tend to take much for granted, especially the
amount of good will the USA has around the world. Right now that
"human capital" is running perilously thin.