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Thursday, September 30, 2010

the "branding" issue

by Cobus:
Archaeologists suggest that branding dates back 5000 years! There is evidence that in 3000 BC the Babylonians were already branding certain products. The branding of cattle and livestock dates back 2000 BC and as far back as 1300 BC, potter’s marks were used on pottery and porcelain in China, Greece, Rome and India.

Today business is branding! The mere mention of brand names like Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple brings to mind images, experiences and emotions connected to these brands. We either buy, or do not buy based on branding. But how do you use the same brand to reach two completely different markets, achieving two completely different outcomes?

One of LifeXchange’s successes is the way we market ourselves in high risk areas. We are not known as a rehabilitation centre, a program for troubled kids, or a youth-at-risk intervention organization, but rather as an extreme sport and adventure organization selecting young people with huge potential. Our brand is non-threatening to gangsters, drug addicts and the uneducated, and has a reputation as the organisation to be in. In the public sphere however we market ourselves as a youth-at-risk intervention organization working with some of the world’s most broken and lost young people. This is the reality of what we do and whom we target in order to achieve our goal; making a broken young person whole again.

Our problem: Selling the same brand to two different groups of people does not seem sustainable. Whenever there is an article in a newspaper or magazine about our intervention approach and the words ‘youth-at-risk’ occur we pray that none of our young people will read it. Yet, we want to be known to the public as an organisation that is specialising in high-risk youth intervention, leaders in our field, excellent in what we do, trustworthy and sustainable. But, in the communities we work with we want to be known as an adventure organization that recruits young people with talent and helps them turn their life stories into success stories.

So how would you do it? This is a request to please give us your advice, guidance and opinion our double-edged problem. Looking forward to hearing your touch of brilliance on this topic!

Monday, September 13, 2010

madrap wisdom #2

though not as comfortable, life is simpler and clearer when we have less.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

in south africa

In South Africa it’s sensible to back-up your laptop, not in case your computer crashes but in case it gets stolen. In the past 3 months, between me and my two sisters, we’ve been robbed 10 times: 2 laptops, 2 passports, 6 cell phones, 3 wallets, 2 bicycles and that’s not mentioning my sister’s boyfriend who had his entire office building cleaned out, my friend’s sister’s throat slit and an old lady down the road shoved into the boot of a car. Sorry for being a bit brash, but these are not uncommon stories for South Africans.

During the past two weeks all public service workers across the country have been on strike. Without indulging in discussions on the why’s and why not’s for the strike; it has left us with no fuel at petrol stations and in our hospitals many adults, children and little babies have been left to die. Our teachers are also on strike, leaving our youth unable to go to school, including those in Grade 12 who were meant to write their last mid-semester exams this week which determines their future careers, bursaries and placement in universities. And for those who’ve refused to strike they have been physically attacked and the buildings have been vandalised with chairs through windows.

Currently South Africa has just passed a law of ‘Protection of Information’ limiting the media on how much can be released to the national and international public. The ANC (our current governmental party) Youth League have “fight, produce, learn” as their slogan and dance in the streets shouting “Kill the Boer”, meaning white person. Seeing their members dancing in military camo’s makes anyone nervous because these above two statements are significant incidences that occurred in countries like Zimbabwe before their drastic downfall began!

This is just a drop in the ocean of our country’s problems. It sheds light as to why South Africans have been fleeing the country since 1994 and why those who remain are constantly negative about our future. But you can’t help yourself from asking, “Will we go the same way?” Some say we already are. Are we?

Imagine that we all, and I mean ALL, for one moment, believed positively in the future of South Africa? Would we still go the same way?

Below are some interesting, thought provoking pics and links