2 April 2013 5 Comments

The Madiba brand: 5 lessons from an enduring brand

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps 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) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Nelson Mandela,Nelson Mandela Foundation, Secrets of Great brands,Brand vision,Brand Commitment,Brand loyalty, brand EngagementNelson Rohlihlahla Mandela represents many things to many tribes. For some he is a human right activist while to others he is freedom fighter. In some quarters he is a principled Politician and Statesman.

His entire life has been dedicated to the service of humanity. He remains one of the focused and selfless African sons. Nelson Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, Transkei, on July 18, 1918, to Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela. As a politician and freedom fighter, Mandela brand stands out. He is passionately loved by his country. In some African countries when a serving leader is sick or dead, many will rejoice and celebrate. But that is not the case with Mandela. Just a couple of days ago, he was readmitted and hospitalized for lung infection, many had gathered to pray for his quick recovery. We must also recall he is already 94.Not many had lived up to that age. How many brands in Africa, around the world enjoy such loyalty and commitment? The inspiration for this piece is drawn from Mandela’s life and   a feedback from someone who had left University about two years ago. This individual made a First Class. She sent a feedback thanking me for this platform. According to her, one of our articles here made her got an A in one of her final research papers. To be an enduring brand here a few lessons from Nelson Mandela’s life.

Commitment, devotion to democracy, equality and learning:  A brand without a cause, commitment has no soul. One cannot talk about democracy, commitment to justice and equity without a reference to Mandela as one of the frontline brands. Having a vision or cause is not just enough, a commitment and unalloyed devotion to it is important

Emotional connection: Mandela’s brand is a strong brand not just because of the name but because of his ability to stand for his target. He believed in total freedom and emancipation of the entire South African community. He saw injustice represented by apartheid then and decided to fight it headlong. In the process of time-being incarcerated for twenty seven years, many who could not stand the test of time fell by the way. A brand may never enjoy strong connection based on promises. It must back up such promises with verifiable action steps.

Keeping promises: one other virtue that made Mandela’s brand is his ability to keep promises. A brand promise is a vital factor. It is better to promise a little and stick to that than to overpromise and never to deliver. As a common practice, many of his colleagues would have stayed on in power after his first election as President of South Africa. If he had stayed on, he deserved it. He worked for the freedom and he should enjoy it. But Mandela stepped down in 1999. Do you care so much about your brand’s promise?

Never a reactive but proactive brand/personality: Through his incarceration, one imagined he would come out to wage a vengeful war against the set of people who maltreated him. May of these people promoted and stood for racism. That was never his style. He was pragmatic and principled enough. When he gained his freedom and became President he focused on national building and people empowerment. He and Peter Botha, the apartheid President and predecessor, both received Nobel Prize without and rancour. Many cannot stomach the fact that despite every form of harassment, provocation, he never retaliated against proponents of racism in South Africa.

Touching lives: the essence of money and power is not to use it to oppress the target. Being a market leader means nothing if your brand can not be remembered for touching lives. After living office, he went back to work with Nelson Mandela Children Fund. An organization he set up in in 1995. He also established the Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Mandela-Rhodes Foundation. While he may not be a saint as he was twice involved in divorce, Mandela had remained a frontline, formidable brand across Africa and especially in his country homeland-South Africa.

It will be good to conclude with Mary Angelou’s statement which she said ‘Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”  The secret of great, lasting and enduring brand is not money as it were. For me, I was thrilled when I read a feedback from a first class graduate of one of the Nigerian universities thanking me for this platform. According to her, one of our articles here made her got an A in one of her final research papers.

What is your thought?

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