THE BLOG
08/04/2014 05:53 pm ET | Updated Oct 04, 2014

Middle East to Rebrand

AydAn Mutlu via Getty Images

To: Benjamin Netanyahu, Whoever is in charge of Libya, Abdel el-Sisi, King Abdullah, Whoever is in charge of Iraq, Mahmoud Abbas, Bashar al-Assad, Whoever is in charge of ISIS, Ali Khamenei, Whoever is in charge of Lebanon

From: Steven Clifford, CEO, Strategic Branding Strategies

RE: Rebranding

Israel invades Gaza, Hamas fires rockets at Israel. Gang-like militias battle for supremacy in Libya. Civil War rages in Syria. ISIS battle Shiites in Iraq. Egypt becomes authoritarian and suppresses Islamists. Revenge bombings by Hezbollah and rival Sunni factions create chaos in Lebanon. Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia plot each other's destruction.

Gentlemen, you have brand image problem. Among Americans, approval ratings of the Middle East rank below those of Bernie Madoff, Congress and Cancer. Only the Theory of Evolution has a lower approval rating.

The perceived value of The Middle East brand is abysmal. It scores alarmingly low on positive brand attributes such as "quality," "reliability" and "cachet."

Brand loyalty is plummeting. The brand's core messages-are not compelling: hatred, killing and destruction do not enhance brand commitment. The brand's visual imagery, enraged Jihadists and dead bodies, tarnishes your brand promise.

Gentlemen, it time to rebrand. Start with the name. Change it from "The Middle East," to "The Middle Way." In focus group research, the former suggests violence, hostility and chaos while the later evokes tolerance, compromise and stability.

Obviously you will need a new logo along with a totally revamped illustration style. Jettison your illegible Arab script along with your Islamic green. They make the brand look tired and passé. Introduce new fonts, new typefaces and new color schemes that will proclaim to Gen X'ers and Millennials, "The Middle Way is hip, fun and upscale."

Create new tagline. "The Middle Way -Attractively Ancient, Mysteriously Modern." This then becomes the cornerstone of brand architecture and the point of orientation on your Brand Identity Map.

You can create new brand archetype using the technique that proved so successful in our "I am a Mormon" campaign. Using TV and outdoor, your campaign should feature a individuals representing all nations, religions and factions each stating "I am a (Jihadist, Salafist, Druze, Sunni, Hezbollah, Wahabi, etc) and the Middle Way is My Way."

This brand promise will then be reinforced by a catchy jingle:

In Egypt and Palestine
The Middle Way's just fine

Jewish or Palestinian
The Middle Way's Apollonian

Victim or Terrorist
The Middle Way's the merriest

Prisoner or Tyrant
The Middle Way's au courant

This will resonate with target demographics. Brand awareness for The Middle Way will skyrocket.

A multifaceted roll out of the Middle Way's rebrand will:

• Redefine brand DNA
• Reawaken brand awareness
• Rebuild brand loyalty
• Reignite brand excitement
• Reinvigorate all components of brand equity

The Middle East brand will be positioned to cross-pollinate, grabbing mind share and market share. You can lever brand assets and position for brand expansion. The Middle Way brand can be extended to failing sub-Sahara states and even launched in more developed countries.

We would be honored to assist your in strategic rebranding.

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