Branding agency Midlands. Our observations developing customer experience. Be Ali differentiated, be loud and deliver what you are interestingly loud about. Don’t be a Donald Trump be loud with no delivery, intelligence or capability.
BRANDING AGENCY MIDLANDS – BUILDING “THE GREATEST” BRANDS.
Brand development is about constantly looking for new ways of thinking, new stories, new sources of inspiration. We read voraciously, we study history, we study people, the zeitgeist, we read technical engineering papers, we study systems, we read psychology. We study people, how they move and gravitate, how religion works, why we love, why the hell do we kill? How we are bound together in this less than perfect world and how do we exist in an infinite universe? We study how a connected state of online, is creating socialism without the need for the state. How, as superstition fades, we are searching for something to give us meaning and purpose.
Brands, people, products, services, celebrities are filling this space. Online has made marketing far-reaching and ridiculously cheap to reach a potentially global audience. The downside is massive competition, cloning and the “me too”. Brand originals are rare, great ideas and originality are the new world currency.
WHY MOHAMMAD ALI?
Brand agency Midlands. Mohammad Ali created a huge star appeal and was recognised all over the world. He became a global brand that stood for success, courage, superlative wit and intelligence. Mohammad Ali has gone, but remains one of boxing’s biggest legends. Every brand has to have a great story; the greatest stories cannot be manufactured, and we should look at his EPIC story for inspiration. The definition of unwavering purpose, leadership, inspiration, to the essence of greatness, icon, and immortality. Personally, I am truly devastated.
Free hot dogs and the chance theft of Ali’s bike (1954). The promise of free Free hot dogs, popcorn and candy lured 12 years old Ali to ride his Schwinn bike to a Louisville show, promoting black businesses. Had Ali not taken this trip, he may never have discovered boxing. When he left the show, after having his fill of treats, he found his prized Schwinn bike had been pinched.
Seeing the distraught tearful boy Ali, the then stranger Joe Martin from the local Columbia gym suggested Ali should speak to a Policeman. In the pages of Ali Autobiography The Greatest, he describes how he completely forgot about the bike when he saw the sights, sounds, and sweaty, bloody testosterone smells of competitive boxing. The young boy was open mouthed enchanted. As the young Clay left, Martin tapped him and said: “We have boxing training here every night kid, Monday to Friday, six to eight” and shoved and application form into the youngster’s hand.
Muhammad Ali – “Superman don’t need any seatbelt.”
Ali was on a plane. Jetting to a destination, encountering turbulent weather, the airframe being mauled like a dog shaking a rat. This is the time when nervous flyers amongst us, myself included, understand that when the pilot understatedly says “We are encountering moderate turbulence”, it’s time to pray to your God, or start believing in an almighty hand to grab the plan and put it on the ground safely. The passengers were panel-light instructed to fasten their seat belts immediately, with a bing bong and a pilots understatement “We are are experiencing some turbulence”. Everyone dutifully complied, except the shoulder shrugging Ali. Noticing this, the cool, beautiful, perfectly groomed flight attendant (in the pre-budget airline age) glided over (as they can, even in the most turbulent of conditions!) to him, and requested that he please comply with the captain’s request. Ali quick snapped back, “Superman don’t need any seatbelt.” The flight attendant did not miss a beat and replied, “Honey, Superman don’t need no airplane either.” Ali bellowed with laughter.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
He was as great a showman as he was a formidable athlete, if he had chosen something other than boxing, he would have been just as awesome. The worlds greatest at tiddly winks, cheese rolling, well maybe be not but I am sure it would have been entertaining. He branded himself the “Greatest of All Time.” But despite his success in the ring, he made some seriously big money outside of it.
He set out his purpose of inspiration , with the ultimate of can-do attitudes.
“I did wrestle with an alligator, I did tussle with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”
“Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you haven’t learned anything.”
He was always honest and specified his intent confidently and arrogantly against the competition. “Down in the six.” He worked his opponents down in a hugely strategic, psychological and deliberate way – down. He found their fallibility and pushed. He drew support.
He was relentless and never stopped. He also moved faster, making lightning decisions, he uses the whole ring; he kept his competition on the move, strike in then stepped back. He innovated the sport of boxing and the approach, which is now copied to this day. When beat, he came back. He looked at his faults in a self-deprecating way. He learned from them and applied new thinking to his opponent. He was a strategic athlete and he knew his ability. He knew his weaknesses. He was aware that where to focus and how to improve. He made boxing intelligent.
“I’ve done my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.”
Branding agency Midlands. We can look at brands in the same light. The strong, the agile, the self-analysing vs. the complacent and self-entitled, say so (Donald Trump) brands with no substance. The ones we love. They never stop innovating and jibing the competition “is that all you have – bitch?”.
THE CONFIDENCE, THE BRAND ORIGINALITY.
Good brands recognise that success is but a moment in time, to be great you need to come back you need to re-invent you need to be realistic, you need to build in a layers.
Branding agency Midlands. You start with defining your unifying reason and purpose.
If Ali had said: “Greatest of All Time.” The had his first bout and got a complete pummelling then the value proposition would have been inverted; he would have been ridiculed and laughed at and soon forgotten. Good brands are original and genuine and deliver.
“If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
Give something back to society; they have some strong values. Ali supported and gave generously to worthy causes. Ali was sucked into the Nation of Islam, which was (and still is, to some extent) perceived quite a dangerous subversive terrorist movement. Malcolm X, a leader in his time was gunned down by his own radical organisation. Ali had a clear and powerful brand identity, beyond boxing. It was one of betterment and creating your choices.
DID ALI BRING PEACE AND A NEW DIRECTION?
Branding agency Midlands. The movement’s purpose of regenerating black communities by instilling self-discipline, rejecting drugs and alcohol. Seeking to counter the bullish white-dominated society’s racism with black nationalism, identity and a message of self-empowerment. It was a powerful home-brew, and of great appeal to politicised young black men coming of age in the era of crack cocaine, gangs, and Reaganomics.
Branding agency Midlands. For the last three decades of his life, Ali fought Parkinson’s disease – an awful debilitating degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Until the end, Ali continued to make public appearances and earn sizeable endorsements. A great guy and sad loss, sure he had his faults he’s a fallible human, but he was always forgiven with a Teflon-like a shrug, a shine a smile that always came through the darkness. He was a genuine brand. As relevant today as we seek authentic and real but find mostly superficial, fake and manufactured. His legend is now immortalised in his legacy.
HAVE A GENUINE AND GREAT STORY.
BOLD AND DIFFERENT.
DON’T COPY OR CLONE.
HAVE STRONG VALUES.
BE CONSISTENT AND CONGRUENT.
DELIVER ON YOUR BRAND PROMISE.
YOUR BRAND SHOULD BE A LEADERSHIP TOOL.
BE HUMBLE IN DEFEAT.
GET BACK ON YOUR FEET.
TAKE PEOPLE WITH YOU.
BE TALKED ABOUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
BE GOOD LOOKING.
HAVE A WHY FOR YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.
CREATE A GENUINE LOVE FOR YOUR PRODUCT AND SERVICES.
GIVE A LITTLE SOMETHING BACK.
Branding agency Midlands. A personal brand that delivered. Donald Trump on the other hand . . . Well, you know our feeling about that particular protagonist. Be Ali don’t be a Trump brand – most are – unfortunately and they will ultimately loose the fight in the ring.