The Iowa Republican Party - There is a gigantic split in Iowa (and other states) as to who is in control. In Iowa there are the Mary Louise Smith/Robert Ray Republicans and the Bob Vander Plaats/Kim Lehman Republicans. Terry Branstad, who wants to become governor (again) is walking a tightrope between them. That is why he selected a little known "Lehman sort of partner", Kim Reynolds, for his running mate. Attractive and "down home" enough to throw around an "aw shucks" Reynolds is an unknown to statewide politics and hasn't really thought through her position...on much...other than she is a reach out to the Vander Plaats/Lehman Republicans. (Have we seen this before in a recent national election?) The question is...what is the GOP Brand? I can tell you the Branstad/Ray/Smith folks are not, at this time, in charge of the brand. It's a problem.
The Iowa State Fair- For 154 years the Iowa State Fair has been seen as a beautiful example of everything that is fresh and wonderful about our great state. Then the 155th Iowa State Fair came along and for over a week they have been fighting the public image of an unsafe, racially tense...battle ground. "Bands of roaming hooligans harassed fair-goers as they left the fairgrounds." There were beatings, stabbings and a flash crowd that went nuts. The issue has garnered big media attention and, on top of poor fair attendance, and (what many see as) uncontrolled and runaway pricing the brand has suffered. Who changed what about this brand? The Fairboard, Staff? Nope...
Iowa and Iowa Eggs- Up until four weeks ago nobody, outside of farming, knew Iowa was the largest producer of eggs in the United States. Sure, we knew and agriculture knew and those of us who view the Iowa economy knew... But then came salmonella, over 1,500 cases of people getting sick and the story of the Dekoster Farms (again). Turn on any national news show and the words Iowa and Salmonella are linked. Who changed the Iowa brand? The Iowa Department of Agriculture, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the Iowa Tourism folks, farmers? Nope...
So, you still think that the thousands of dollars you've spent building and attempting to maintain your business brand will keep you from major brand problems? You really think that you have control over your all aspects of your brand?
The good news:
The Iowa State Fair will recover because of a loyal fan base that will rise to it's defense and a professional staff that will work with state and local law enforcement to insure the safety of the hundreds of thousands who come to the fair. And our bet is you'll see some price roll-backs at the 2011 fair.
Iowa and Iowa Eggs - The "fix" is already being played out however there are going to be more "heads that roll". The "fix" in this case is none other than the "villain of agriculture" Austin "Jack" Decoster who has been a thorn in the side of many...for years. Already local media have rushed grainy photos of Decoster into their news stories and bloggers are on a roll. Consider this from DailyMe. And, while it is unfortunate, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey (considered an automatic winner in November) will be singed by this as his opponent points fingers and asks questions.
The Iowa GOP - Have faith friends. Folks say you should never discuss politics and religion and when you mix the two it can be lethal. That's what direction the Iowa Republicans have done for political expediency. It will bite them...the general public is not ready for a theocracy...at least we can hope. And, even if former Governor Branstad is elected he will govern more from the center and that will REALLY inflame the "right".
Branding...is such a fun topic...thanks for coming by!