Interlocker Piece; Tlhogi Ngwato

OPED
by OnPoint Editor 20 September 2018

I have always found myself fascinated by reputation management as a science, and the growing ability by companies to either get it right or so terribly wrong, especially since the advent of social media.

Numerous conversations on this topic have been had and I expect they will evolve over time with newer and more “woke” generations to come.  However, at the moment intuition plays a massive part in the roll out of successful communication campaigns. The finesse of our words and their benevolent intentions to garner affinity and sales will go completely unnoticed if they are not associated with poignant moments and/or issues in our society.

This finesse lies in how to make something taboo – devilishly good and difficult to ignore, and this is what “Intuitive Marketing” is about and how reputations are birthed.

Over the years there have been some brilliant campaigns by brands (Nandos & Adv Thuli Mandonsela, OMO SA: Reimagining gender roles and Spurs: The Flag Bearer) but never one that holds so much meaning in a time where brands and the bloodline of these brands are required to be vulnerable and affected by the times in order to address contentious societal issues such as racism, gender politics and transformation.

Much like their campaign slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing it all. Just do it.” They did it and before we could even catch breath Nike went out with an extraordinary piece starring  Caster Semenya. In that moment for many, the penny dropped because it was immediate, localised for greater resonance and aspirational!  Despite the backlash there are some key lessons to be learnt and applied to our daily work and lives. In that moment for many, the penny dropped because it was immediate, localised for greater resonance and aspirational!  Despite the backlash there are some key lessons to be learnt and applied to our daily work and lives. Nike understood the following;

  1. It’s ALL about connection – Selling products and services is not a sterile and objective process. It involves people, emotions, history and luck. And so connection with oneself and connection to the company, client and product are key.

  2. There is more that influences your sales than you can imagine  – listen and respond to your environment.

  3. Face your fears and your fear of success!

  4. Be Inspired by the times!

After all was said and done, Nike rose from the proverbial ashes with both sales and reputation in better shape than before.  In the words of Warren Buffet:

“We can afford to lose money – even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation – even a shred of reputation.”

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