USA State of Optimism: Don’t worry about October 19th. Soft power wins over hard power


Written By: Ailean Mills


While Americans are concerned about their image on the world stage and are holding their breaths for what happens during the final rip-roaring round on Wednesday October 19th, they can in fact sleep soundly in their beds.

Anyone who has moderated a qualitative focus group knows the reality. The recall of the Coco Pops advertising from 15 years ago, the instantaneous image remembered of the luxury car from 10 years ago, the word by word recital of a brand’s advertising copy from 5 years ago.

Stakeholders may want to juggle their brands assets around; consumers are tough advocates of what they know. Soft power was a term coined by Joseph Nye in the late 1980’s, the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion.

One of the core currencies of soft power is a countries cultural assets.  And highly credible too.  Nye explained that with soft power, “the best propaganda is not propaganda,” further explaining that during the new age of digital information, “credibility is the scarcest resource.” 

Bob Dylan accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature last Thursday
Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature last Thursday

And when it comes to cultural assets, America has never been so full of them. And they have never been so varied or ethnically diverse. And so driven by technology and entrepreneurship. And so admired and desired globally. Whether it’s Apple’s impact on global creativity, HBO’s stake-raising command of TV content, or Michelle Obama’s rabble-rousing speech last week, to confront the world on gender equality, America still leads the way.

So whatever happens under the hard lights of the Lupton Hall Auditorium on the Oglethorpe University campus, that fantastic smorgasbord of cultural assets will continue to build the American brand.

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Cookie Notice.

Accept All Cookies