Brand Politics: The gift of protest

by Alistair Mackay (@almackay) “A customer that complains is a good customer,” said an entrepreneur while explaining his business idea to me recently. It’s definitely the right attitude to have, and an attitude that would do our politics — and brands — a huge amount of good.

Brand Politics: How to work with powerful personal brands

by Alistair Mackay (@almackay) Helen Zille’s news last month that she would not be standing for re-election as the leader of the Democratic Alliance surprised almost everyone who heard it. With no obvious replacement with her kind of stature or experience, it makes you realise how risky it can be to have such concentrated brand power in the leader of an organisation.

Brand Politics: Whose heritage is it, anyway?

by Alistair Mackay (@almackay) Where do events such as #RhodesMustFall leave heritage brands? Mass protests, a social media storm and the occupation of the administration building have pushed UCT’s transformation record into the national spotlight, throwing up some interesting questions for these kind of brands.

Brand Politics: The consumer is no moron

by Alistair Mackay (@almackay) Frustrated commentators love to imply that voters are stupid, that most South Africans continue to vote for the ANC because they can’t understand politics, don’t know what’s in their own interests or are “uneducated”. David Ogilvy famously had to correct that line of thinking in marketing as well: “The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.”

Brand Politics: The power of a gesture

by Alistair Mackay (@almackay) Western Cape Premier Helen Zille created quite a social media stir recently when she took to the street outside of her official residence and started directing traffic. It makes you realise the power of gestures, grand and small, to tell a story and shift perceptions.

Brand Politics: Everything’s political

by Alistair Mackay (@almackay) It seems to me that South African brands are much less inclined to venture into cultural and political debate. It’s not surprising, given our cultural diversity and fears of offending people, and our track record of angrily shutting down debate. But it’s not great for building meaningful brands, either.

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