Home > Uncategorized > Aspiration v/s Arrogance. A warning for brands.

Aspiration v/s Arrogance. A warning for brands.

Unless one was living on a rock..not even the 3rd rock from the sun..but some other rock, you couldn’t have missed the great sporting spectacle in London. Not sure I can use the O word without IOC’s permission, so hope you’ve figured out the event I refer to.

Last weekend, Bolt became the fastest man on the planet again. This weekend, he reinforced his position as the best sprinter in the history of the sport.

In between, however something else happened.

He took on another legend : Carl Lewis and did some straight talking. (Read what he said here.). Now I fully agree with Bolt. This season we have seen many records being broken and every time that happens, someone from that great democratic land between Pacific and Atlantic Oceans casts doubts on the performance of the athlete concerned.

However a friend of mine asked if Bolt should have shown some humility in his statements. Keeping aside Bolt’s personality for a second, I think he raised an important point.

Bolt runs the risk of dropping of the precipice of aspiration to arrogance. And that is a huge perception shift. He moves from everyone wanting to be like him, to everyone wanting to nail him.

That is a good warning to marketers.

Many brands position themselves in the space of aspiration for their audience, creating in their minds or hearts the emotion of ‘if I could I would like to buy that’. You see this in cars, white goods, many service industries.

This also works at another level of people buying into that lifestyle by buying that brand. I think more people wear Nike than those who ‘just do it’.

Steve Jobs announced every product he launched as brilliant, wonderful, terrific. Here’s a video about his iPad launch (See here).

He somehow managed through all that to keep his brand in the aspirational space. People thought he was arrogant, his company was arrogant but the brand was not.

I think there is a lesson there for brands. Be very very watchful when trying to create an aspirational brand. It is a fine line between that and arrogance.

And that is the whole difference between great success and abject failure.

While you digest that enjoy this video of Bolt winning 100m again.

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