Let’s pretend for the moment that the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law is not simply an immoral justification for vigilantism. Let’s pretend for a moment that the most recent news stories about Trayvon Martin and Michael Dunn were not just an example of racial prejudice and citizen insanity. With the risk of trivializing it as a bad business idea, I thought you might want to hear a different take on this controversial Floridian law.
As a brand, what does Florida stand for? What is important to the state and what image does it want to forward?
Well, when you check out the Florida Tourism website, it looks pretty clear to me. Florida is the sunshine state. A land of white beaches, clear blue water and tropical (pastel) colors. It is a state of mind, if you will. It is a destination for retirees, snowbirds in winter and everyone that wants to grab a piece of paradise as their own.
But the reactionary laws that Florida calls “stand your ground” flies in the face of oranges hanging from trees, sunshine bronzing fit bodies, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pluto. Yup, the BRAND of Florida seems goofy and I’m not talking about Goofy here either.
You can’t be a land of hospitality when there is the fear that anyone who claims you have invaded their personal space has the right to gun you down in the foyer. It is, in the language of branding, an inconsistency in brand permission.
If Florida was a business and the business operations were open to a consultant’s fix, we would rewrite the brand charter and get rid of that draconian law. Stand Your Ground does not feel very welcoming and it belies a sense of victimization that has nothing to do with tourism and hospitality. Quite the reverse.
How about the Florida legislators stop denying the racial stereotypes that keep making national news and just simply try to make the brand promise real and believable? It’s just a thought. I doubt if the Florida legal system cares a jot.