|Everything and Nothing|
Some of you are probably wondering where the strange title for this post comes from, well, to divulge right from the get go, I have been privileged enough to have chosen to form part of the South Africa crew of PUMA Brand Ambassadors. Yes, that’s right! Me, a brand Ambassador…what were they thinking? But seriously, all jokes aside. I couldn’t be happier and more honoured to have this little responsibility. If you cast your stalker-like eyes to the right hand side of my blog (only viewable on the Home Page of my blog…), yes – branding – I know, right? Heavy.
Firstly, a couple of truths about the brand and I; I think that before my Ambassadorship orientation, I owned probably 2 pieces of PUMA apparel. A whole two. A t-shirt and a pair of sweat pants that I can admit formed part of my sleeping uniform. As one of the rock stars from PUMA put it so elegantly as I walked into the concept store at Maponya Mall, “Hey Phinda”, speaking to the gorgeous store manager. “Look at this guy!” to which she replied, “Oh my gawd, this will not do…you need to get PUMArised immediately.” In my defensive I had just come from work and was looking rather corporate in comparison to the sea of high-tops and hoodies. Hey, give me a break…I can be gangster, I can be hip, but “street”…that’s another story.
Before actually getting to the store, I was able to meet some of my fellow PUMA Brand Ambassadors and to be honest, a clear state of intimidation hung over me like a wet rag on St.Patrick’s Day – I’m not sure what that had to do with anything but it sounded cool, okay? These Masters of Industry completely and utterly blew me away and even though I won’t mention any of them by name, I can assure you, the names that this brand has chosen to approach on a local level are beyond incredible. Hence, the wet rag syndrome. If there is one thing that I learned above all else upon entering this incredibly tight knit family is that PUMA, as a brand are more musical orientated than I could have ever imagined. Now, I’m not talking, branded musical instruments, but more along the lines of being present in the every day lives of some of the world’s most prolific music artists.
From hip hop to electro, from house to the mainstream stage of radio and back. They do it all and their presence is not something that is typically pushed in your face. The subtlety in the branding of these musical cowboys is brilliantly done. Further more, these carefully selected Brand Ambassadors have adopted the brand into their every day lives and the growth between artist, celebrity and personality have become seamless. This pure organic process is something that I think PUMA as a brand hold dear to their marketing department’s hearts. The industry angle is amazing and to form an integral part of this organic PUMA family tree is truly an honour.
So, what can you expect to see from me? Well, expect me to be blogging and blogging about the brand from time to time, not because it’s my job, but because my relationship with this brand has gone from “awareness” to “adoration”. These guys are doing something right and not just here in South Africa, but across the globe. I admire clever marketing and I enjoy a brand that has the guts and the pizzazz to put their reach in the hands of its consumers. There are a lot of brand out there right now who attempt to get this right on a very small activation basis, but I ask; where’s the longevity? Where’s the brand loyalty? Where’s the adoration from these so called “industry influencers”? They short answer is, as long as the brand’s budget. This I’m happy to report is not the business model that PUMA works with. Their trust and affiliation with “key players” in various industries allows them to have an eclectic voice that spans not only countries, but continents. Again, the honour is almost too much to put into words.
So, to end off; am I excited about this new little venture? Crisis…I couldn’t be more…ermm – okay, I’m not going to say the word again, but if you’ve read carefully you’ll know exactly how I feel.