Last weekend, I had a chance to take a stroll around A World A Fair at The Dayton Convention Center. It’s a multi-day event that features food, entertainment, and culture from a variety of countries. Embarrassingly, I’ve lived in Dayton about 25 years and it took the lure of some extra credit points from my son’s Spanish class before I decided to finally take the plunge and check it out. And it was cool.
But later, on our drive home, my son raised an interesting question. What if this event was held in India or Spain? What would be the USA’s cultural dance? What is America’s signature music? Our national food? You know you’re going to get schnitzel and polka music in the German booth, but what would people expect from the USA?
Because all of the other countries have such a significant age advantage on us, and because this country is such a melting pot of other cultures, there were no easy answers to our questions. What do we have that can possibly compare to the Great Pyramids and French pastries?
The YMCA dance? Reality TV? Pizza crust with imbedded with hot dogs?
We’re so quick to poke fun at the oddities and eccentricities. We’re so quick to sell ourselves short.
But America has done some things very well in its infancy. The blues. Ice cream. Square dancing. Potato chips. Apple pie. Blue jeans. Cheeseburgers. Barbeque. Kentucky bourbon. Jazz. Buffalo wings. Baseball. Chili. Swing dancing. Donuts. Mark Twain. Cotton candy. (The real) Football
Rock. And. Roll.
So, how does this apply to our lives in advertising? Your brand will never be as iconic as Nike. It will never be as prestigious as Cadillac. It will never be as historically significant as Coca-Cola. But, even if it’s young, it can still be absolutely unique. And that’s what is most important. Don’t sell yourself short. Think hard about what you do best and fly your flag proudly.