6 December 2013 0 Comments

Nelson Mandela: the making of an iconic brand

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communication specialist, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa)


Nelson Mandela, Making of iconic brand, Brand Leadership. Building Brand equity, Nelson-mandela Biograpghy, Brand Communication, Thought LeadershipNelson Mandela, the great illustrious son of Africa and a citizen of South Africa died late last night. The great brand, a legend indeed, a true brand  lived a life that touched everyone. The life and time of this great personal brand exposed to us, brand managers, what it will require to enjoy global engagement irrespective of where we start out from.  It is true that with lot of resources from the start can help gain better speed. Of course we must note excellent management is essential. But it is not a guarantee that the brand will turn out well if certain fundamentals are missing.

From Nelson Mandela’s life , a brand popularly called ‘Madiba’, we can learn certain lessons on how to turn any brand into an iconic one given all it takes.

Constant internal capacity refinement: Nelson Mandela was not born into a super rich family even though he came from a clan of chiefs. But what distinguished him was his constant refinement of his skills. He studied hard to become a lawyer. Having right internal skill to project right image can assure a degree of success. Adequate preparedness is a fundamental issue to brand success. Think about this all through the lifespan of the brand.

Vision: Without a vision, people perish. A brand vision is essential. A vision serves as a compass.  Your brand vision must produce a burden to solve a particular issue for the market you are hoping to serve. Mandela’s vision was to eradicate poverty, inequality, injustice, segregation. This became his driving force. This also became his energizing force which he lived for. What is the vision of the brand you are building? A vision without the market, consumer as focus will not achieve much.

Time and proper understanding of market value: Any iconic brand must understand the dynamics of the environment and market value of its product. This must be a product of personal research and a resolve to follow the brand’s principles. Why many will want you to continue a product line, there are times to let go. Mandela fought for freedom and eventually had the opportunity of a life time as President of South Africa. He had perfect understanding of what true greatness meant. He ruled South African for a single term without seeking for re-election. Unlike many sit tight African leaders, he left the stage when the ovation was loudest. Keep monitoring and scanning the market environment and have a brand’s principle to live by.

Selflessness: no brand can become iconic if the main motive is to amass wealth at the detriment of the consumer or stakeholders. While profit making is essential to progress of any endeavour, overconcentration on this often leads to selfishness and all forms of greed as well as malpractices.

 Keep the game up and continue to make impact through several community initiatives: Even when he had left active service, Mandela established various initiatives that keep touching lives of many South Africa people including children. His several foundations are still here making impacts. What kind of community impacts is your brand making aside from making money? Iconic brands are not just so called because they have household names, it because of the impacts they have made.

Commitment: of course this is also an essential part of the making of any iconic brand. You must add commitment to your commitment otherwise you may give up at the verge of victory without knowing.

We conclude with a quote from this great brand; ‘…Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

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