Every great brand we’ve created or worked with over the years has had one thing in common: great brand leadership. That is the individual or individuals who have the vision for what they want that organisation to be and use brand to tell the organisation and the world what that vision is. Sometimes it’s the CEO, sometimes it’s the Marketing manager sometimes it’s a group of execs with a clear vision but needing help turning it into a brand. But there’s always someone, in the business, who has the brand compass. That innate understanding of what is on or off brand.
Australia has lost its brand leaders.
There was much hue and cry when some Australian cricketers were caught cheating. But I find it very understandable if you consider that these young men were brought up and live in a culture with an ethical and moral vacuum at the top. When our politicians have become grubby zero-sum shills of their paymasters, the top religious figure is being defended from historical sex accusations in court by a mob lawyer, our top financial leaders are missing as their organisations are being dragged through a royal commission, or the other mega businesses who sellout resources and pay no tax. How about our media leaders, who control the news cycle from the safety of off shore tax havens? These are ones who are being provided as the role models for Australians. All our cultural leaders demonstrably value power and privilege while talking tritely about Australian values or mate-ship and a fair go. They practise a win at all costs mentality and then tear down with no vision or legacy apart from stay on top.
So what is brand Australia?
What are we when Anzac day has become a romanticising of war and celebration of nationalism. When the lucky country is better known for cruelty and racism than beaches and barbies. When a fair go has become a privilege to the minority who can afford the legal advice to get it. Well I believe we all know what it is, we know when it’s right, we know when it’s what we want to be. We just need help from our leaders. We need them to think about our values and live them, not when it suits them, but when it doesn’t, because that’s what defines great branding: doing the thing that differentiates you, your organisation, your country. Without that leadership there is a void that will be filled by others. If your not sure what to do, just remember the words: Advance. Australia. Fair.
Derek is the Creative Partner at Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in creating beautiful, effective and unique brand identities that bring strategy to life and resonate with audiences. Derek has extensive experience developing consumer, business, community and government brands.
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