The Power of Brand: How Ozzie Guillen Spit on His Own Brand

These were the words that Ozzie Guillen, manager of the Miami Marlins professional baseball team, spoken in a Spanish-language interview released earlier this week.

“I respect Fidel Castro,” Guillen said in the article in Time Magazine. “You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still there.”

These words have set off a firestorm in the Latin community as well as the sporting world as a whole.

So what can marketers and brands learn from Ozzie’s comments?

Your Brand Means Everything

In communicating with both agencies and clients directly, I’ve heard one sentence more than anything else:

“Is this idea really on brand or are we reaching outside of ourselves with this one?”

The way brands present themselves to the world is more important than anything else. When you alienate your own supporters, the brand as a whole suffers.

Current Customers More Important Than Prospective

Ozzie Guillen has always been a popular figure in the Latin community, as they love the fact that he regularly speaks in Spanish and always supports the Latin community as a whole.

When Guillen uttered the Fidel Castro comments, he hurt the relationship that he had built with the Latin community (his ‘current customers’).

This example reminds me of a Guy Kawasaki quote from Rules for Revolutionaries, where he advises businesses to only listen to current customer advice (as they’ve already purchased your product) instead of changing for prospective clients who have yet to purchase.

Toe The Line -- But Tread Carefully

As agencies, we always push our clients by bringing new & exciting opportunities for them to present their brand to the world.

Looking at the most recent Ozzie Guillen example, agencies should keep ‘on brand’ in mind whenever they are bringing new opportunities to their clients.

As marketers, we want to continue to innovate and improve in the way we communicate brand value to current & prospective clients. Do everyone a favor and ‘reality proof’ your ideas before putting them in front of a client.

Keep Learning

None of the examples above were direct translations from the ongoing Ozzie Guillen fiasco; instead, they were indirect learnings sparked by Guillen’s recent actions.

Whether you’re a brand / client, vendor or agency, all parties involved in the marketing process should focus on building an environment that encourages continued learning for their employees.

Who knows – Paying attention to someone’s past missteps could prevent a similar scenario from replaying itself within your own company.

Whose Mistakes Have You Learned From Lately?

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