Home > Uncategorized > What’s your chink in the armour?

What’s your chink in the armour?

The phrase ‘Chink in the armor’ was used by ESPN last week to howls of racism leading to a couple of people there being fired.

The reference was to a basketball player in the NBA playing for the New York Knicks called Jeremy Lin.

Lin’s story is great. A virtual unknown and turned down by coaches around the league, he was forced to step up to a game due to several injuries to the main players. And miraculously he led the team to a series of victories and is the latest sensation to hit the NBA. He has also created a whole vocabulary like Linsanity, Linsation etc. Details of his performance here.

I use the ESPN line, not for it’s racist tone obviously, but as it says something different to me as a marketer.

Let’s look at some of the facts.

The New York Knicks was a reasonably performing team.

A couple of leading players got injured.

The coach needed replacements.

Jeremy Lin was a ‘non performer’.

When given a chance to step in he took it in both his hands and performed brilliantly well.

That’s life in the world of marketing too.

Sometimes well performing brands find their thunder stolen by an unknown. An unknown who is talented and willing to work extra hard to maximise the opportunity made available.

A couple of examples here.

Sony. This is a well documented case. They created the personal music industry with the Walkman. They even evolved it to the Discman. Then they stopped. Along came Apple and that story’s well written for me to repeat. An industry that Sony dominated, and had no business losing considering they also had a huge music catalogue, was lost to a rank outsider.

Borders. Again a brand that was among the top performers in the book industry. A much loved category and brand. Again a newbie, called Amazon, arrived and upended the space. Long before Kindle. Within 10 years Borders shut its stores and pulled the brand out of the market.

There’s enough evidence that leadership today is no guarantee of success tomorrow. There’s always someone out there with a dream and passion waiting for her/his chance.

Brand leaders need to continually look at the different aspects of their business to spot any weakness and move quickly to fix it before someone else solves it.

An example that comes to mind is retailers which have long queues for check out. That is just so irritating and a screaming chink in the armour. Self service kiosks is a step towards fixing it. But more needs to be done.

Another one is advertising agencies and the digital space in a market like India. Most leading agencies are weak in the area and a clutch of digital newbies are biting off growing chunks of client budgets.

I am pretty sure similar challenges exists across categories and brands. I just picked two illustrate my point.

It would help brands to take an unbiased look at themselves and spot their chinks. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for an independent ‘marketing auditor’ reporting directly to the executive leadership of the company with their brand audits. Perhaps a whole new         Lin-dustry will be born.


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