Beyond Branding

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Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

The Beyond Branding blog

June 06, 2005

New Year, New Zealand 

Today, we get a day off—no, it's not Memorial Day, but the Queen's Birthday. The Queen?
   While HM Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state in New Zealand, there is a growing number of New Zealanders wondering why we should celebrate the monarch's birthday—especially considering it's not actually her birthday. As John Campbell revealed on the ever-popular after-news programme, Campbell Live, the only queen he could find celebrating a birthday around this time is Harvey Fierstein, who recently played the mother in Hairspray on Broadway.
   There's a Queen's Birthday Honours' List, but these days New Zealanders can't get knighthoods any more, so the vestiges of Empah are diminishing even further. And, interestingly, despite claiming to be multicultural, New Zealand celebrates no days off for holidays originating in exclusively southern hemisphere culture. (There's Waitangi Day, commemorating the signing of a Treaty between united Māori tribes and the Crown, but it is hardly exclusive.)
   The point has been discussed quite a lot over the last two months at the New Zealand group at Yahoo! Groups, with most contributing posters agreeing that Matariki—commemorating the new moon at this time of the year and celebrating the Māori New Year—makes more sense.
   Considering that New Zealand hasn't even got as far as incorporating the Māori language on its own banknotes, underlining its Anglo-monoculturalism, shifting to giving a Māori holiday may seem a gargantuan task.
   However, this underlines that the monoculture is not under threat, as one MP—the Rt Hon Winston Peters—says, because despite all the immigration, all the political correctness of the Labour Party, all the connecting on the internet, nothing fundamentally has changed about New Zealand in the 29 years I've been here. Culture is a lot stronger than the fearmongers state (either that, or Mr Peters must lack so much patriotism to think New Zealand culture is so weak), and it's the last thing that shifts.
   As I wrote recently in Scoop, Californians are not suddenly eating Tafelspitz because of their Governor.
   So what does all of this have to do with branding? Quite a lot when it comes to the nation brand of New Zealand, and to considerations of corporate culture. New Zealand's nation brand tends to be based around its agriculture and cleanliness, something that Sweden, Ireland and Israel can tout—hence there is little differentiation. But if we want to live the things we are proud of—the fêting of Peter Jackson's films, the innovative thinking—then the reality has to begin shifting, too. Something that is top-led may need to take place, to encourage the country to unite itself and show that it's the best in the world.
   While I can't think of a better place to live, this is no time to be complacent. That cultural shift needs to begin, and that means instilling pride as a nation, and finding a goal for all of us. Sadly, in this election year, hardly anyone has come out to talk about a grand idea. We have party leaders who would rather be janitors than principals. And the only one with a vision and a public profile is a religious leader who also prefers to gather fear rather than communicate tolerance.
   And I am not talking about reinventing the wheel. A New Zealander pioneered motorized heavier-than-air flying, as many here believe (not two brothers at Kitty Hawk), Edmund Hillary scaled Mt Everest (and lived to tell the tale), and dual-fuel, non-polluting natural-gas cars were zooming about and ending reliance on the Arabs as early as the late 1970s (commonplace through the 1980s, probably before Big Oil dictated otherwise, which the Green Party seems to have forgotten to praise as it tries to equate Muldoonism with Nazism).
   So as the Māori and I celebrate the New Year—it makes sense to a Chinese to celebrate a New Year based on lunar cycles—we need to take stock as to where we are heading. I see a tolerant, independent society, one that has the purpose and advancement of a Scandinavian nation and the risk-taking nature of Kiwis of years gone—or Peter Jackson for that matter. New Zealand's call to arms should be (ladies, excuse me, for I mean this only figuratively): show us your balls. They're there, and the next step is someone who will tell us that they're not to be ashamed of. New Zealand: independence, innovation, inventiveness. Sounds like a believable and attainable nation brand to me, with a dash of beyond to it.
How could we co-brand public service in a hi-tech world?

Almost every sci-fi story - let alone James Bond - has rehearsed this since Orwell's visionary possibility of Big Brother taking over the world, or perhaps HG Wells similar if slightly more fictions into how time machines let you explore the future of human history, and indeed where did our species doom its own loss of sustainability?

So this thread should be one of the top 7 global village debates of the life and times of the death-of-distance generation 1984-2024 , and the mother of all media revolutions it struggled to time warp through.

With this context in mind how do interpret the latest news stories;
July 2006 America
Click to video replay of Public sector tv broadcast testifies to new evidence that USA has as rigged a voting system as anywhere in the world that shouts its democracy

a few ripostes for , ten - why not tell us yours

1 jk writes at PBS's RoseBoard: would like to complement you on having Robert Kennedy talk about voting fraud, which has reached a new level of corruption in America. I was responsible for writing the specs for the first touch terminal built by CDC, the "Digiscribe," in 1963, and I can assure you that a paper audit could be implemented successfully ... but Diebold is too beholding to the Bush inner circle to allow this to happen. I feel you need to ask Kennedy back, because he has considerably more information available than you let him discuss. I've never seen you as abrasive as you were with him, and as a Republican I was embarrassed by your visible dissaproval of what he had to say. The Republicans would be wise to admit they made a horrible selection in replacing their conservative party with a corrupt neoconservative inner circle of power that has destroyed the republican party. I was once close to President G. Ford, and he opposed any party, religion or dynasty ever gaining too much power, and that's the mistake the Bush regime has made. Please help America stop this blatant abuse of our voting system before our next election. Having fought for my country, I can no longer support this corrupt Bush Regime that has embarressed our country all over the world. Please stay on this subject, and thanks for having the guts to air it on your program.

2 a ScotsEconomics & brand chartering riposte
It's sad because the individual who founded Diebold - now dead and long since ousted from the control of Diebold the corporation - was one of the great visionary questions of IT Entrepreneurs. Goog his origins; see how he was there before silicon valley, probably a role model for many of today's IT billionnaires - I wish those who do remember his appetite for questioning what futures could computing and man team up with would stand up and testify. Remember bit for silicon bit, there's never been a more extraordinary young-person's inspirationary future of: collaboration between man and computing that Kennedy's vision of getting to the moon in the 60s. If only presidents since JFK had chosen one inspiring humanly open vision before they came to rule and stuck at as their prime erason fore public sevice; and if only we the people had both the fair voting channels and the wit to choose a public servant with an inspiring mission that unites us all in the future rather than squabbling about historic systems which in these times of exponential chnage can never be patched up without compounding even worse leaks.

In retrospect, the US voting system was so bust around the change of millennium that we needed a time out - a government of unity while we fought the 3rd world war - not of nation versus nation but mankind's short-term fixes versus nature's sustainable action learnings? Is it too late to propose a government of national unity be elected in 2008;

a dream ticket a woman republican should be president, and a male democrat vic-president - Condoleesa Al, Rice & Gore

Am I on a different planet? If so, I don't want to be on the lost public servant democracy planet we now co-inhabit thanks in large part to tamepring with numbers through IT machines non-transparently spread out of the USA worldwide. However accidentally, this is the poison chalice from which all terror waves - nature's and human are transparently mappable

Well my father interviewed more leaders from more places than any other jouirnalist between 1950 and 1990. Diebold was one of his sponsors. He never ask my father to chnage a word as long he wrote up future stories that entrepreneurs from rich to poor constituenceis from east to west could openly network in global vilage debates (defing technology's advance in terms of how transparenctly they empowered such debates so the smallest lonegst deepest vopice could be integrated at least as muich as the big power, vested interest voice).

Lest we forget the men who spent their lives exploring an inspiring idea only to find it turned round on them after life had run ist course. At we tell a simple story

the world's biggest brands are epicentres of social networks of extraordinary power that can be used to compound goodwill or badwill ends; sadly we have taken no measures whatsoever to protect the biggest goodwill brands from being taken over by those wither with badwill ends, or just random blind ones that fulfil short-term measures of succeess and their own rewards. Mathematically there is no systemic in between; if your goverance blind people from interacting a global org's goodwill gravity, the end consequence (however blinding or noisy the in between channel) will be to compound the opposite of what the founding godwill explored's purpose had been

Will we wake up to this greatest ever media crisis in time  
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