On the heels of last week’s Donald Sterling debacle (you can read my blog on Brand Chump Donald Sterling here), this week’s blog blog is about a Brand Champion stepping up and owning the internal brand of the LA Clippers.
When the news of Donald Sterling’s racist remarks came out, the Clippers lost sponsors and Sterling proved that he was the disgrace to not only the NBA, but the entire sports world. But we didn’t hear much about what I can imagine were devastating effects that Sterling had on the players and the hard working people on the backside of the Clippers organization: the people selling tickets, doing marketing, running group sales, in charge of sponsorships, finance, human resources and fan relations. Can you imagine trying to sell tickets or sponsorships after last week’s news?
These employees were crushed. It was reported in an LA Times article that when Coach Doc Rivers had a conversation with the operations employees “they were sitting there crying.” They needed some encouragement and love, they needed a real Brand Champion to step up and lead the way.
At a pro level like this, coaches and players don’t always interact with the office employees, much less provide them with pep talks to lift them up after shattering news. Coach Doc Rivers showed such great traits of a Brand Champion, addressing the demoralized staff and trying to encourage them to keep going. “They felt like now they’ve been knocked back down and we have to start all over again,” Rivers said. “And I told them, ‘Yeah, you’re right. You do. There’s no quick solution to this. There’s no banner and then everybody will be good. We got to redo it.’ I told them that. I told them I want to be there for them as much as I can. But it’s hard.”
Brand Champions not only stand for what the brand represents externally, but also work to manage and make sure the brand is communicated to and bought into by the people that help that brand experience become a reality. They’ve got to encourage and support others within the organization when they need it. A Brand Champion makes sure all parts and members of a brand, including the ones behind the scenes, are taken care of. Everyone associated within the brand is needs to feel like they are valued, appreciated and that their voice is heard.
Brand Champions standout not only during the good times, but during the bad ones as well. Especially when the brand is experiencing a crisis and your team needs a beacon of light and a reason for hope. Make sure to champion your brand and lead your team to greatness during the good times and the bad.