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The Swahili take on branding

February 21st, 2011 · 2 Comments · Branding

Shutterstock_1482262 Swahili proverb:  A boat does not go forward if each is rowing their own way.

Any good crew team will tell you that they rely on the coxswain to keep them in synch.  During a race, the coxswain shouts commands, keeping the crew on course.  No matter how polished or experienced the crew, they would not be successful without hearing the same commands over and over.

Branding works pretty much the same way.  No matter how talented your team is or how many years of experience — they need a brand champion who will serve as coxswain.  Someone who runs a long side them and keeps them on course, shouting directions and encouragement.

What does it take to be the brand’s coxswain?

Discipline: Sooner or later, your brand is going to put you in a spot where you have to make a tough decision.  For example, do you honor the brand or just hire any breathing body because your understaffed?  Branding is fun when you’re creating the logo.  It’s not as much fun when you’re making difficult business decisions.

Perseverance: Branding really is for the brave.  It’s a long-haul sort of proposition.  So your brand champion needs to be willing to go the distance.

A learner’s heart: Leading a brand effort is often uncharted waters.  So you have to enter into it accepting that you don’t know it all and will learn along the way.  You need to be curious, ask a lot of questions and listen to every perspective.

A welcoming spirit: You can’t build a company’s brand all by yourself.  You need to inspire others to join the cause.  You need to help them understand why it matters and how they can be a part of something meaningful.

What else do you think it takes to be a brand champion?

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