Sunday, 1 December 2013

Branding and Marketing YOU through Teams: Media Update,November 2013

Donna Rachelson presents a must-read for marketers

Published: 19 November 2013

Author Donna Rachelson is a branding and marketing specialist who has gained valuable insights into how teams work together. Luckily, she shares these insights in her second book titled Branding & Marketing You through Teams.

Donna Rachelson presents a must-read for marketers
Packed with real life case studies, inspirational quotes and insights, the book is a must-read for marketers, team leaders and anyone who wants to take their business to the next level.

The impetus for the book was a need to unravel the mystery of what drives an individual to perform well in a team. Rachelson reveals the mystery not through intangible theories but with real-life revelations gained from spending time with a number of South Africa’s high-performing teams.

Rachelson spent many hours with these teams, which include Microsoft Services Management, MTN-Qhubeka, Protea Hotels Group, Sanlam Personal Finance, Gift of the Givers and Demographica.

With a chapter dedicated to each company, the lessons are presented as conversations which are not only easy to follow but provide eye-opening learnings into what, exactly, makes for team brilliance.

Chris Moerdyk says this about Rachelson’s book: “There is no greater way in my opinion, of illustrating the power of marketing and particularly its branding component, than through the use of case histories. And this is what Rachelson does so well. She avoids all the clich├ęs and airy-fairy theory that pervades and obfuscates the marketing industry today and just gets right to where the proof of the marketing pudding lies.”

Rachelson asks the questions that get to nitty-gritty of what excellent teams are all about – across personality types, innate ability to work with others, emotional intelligence and leadership. The insights that struck me the most were the ones from Microsoft and Gift of the Givers. Microsoft’s approach is an anti-hero one, they don’t condone a hero culture where one individual takes the credit.

The Microsoft Services Management team works towards the greater good of the client, even if it means bringing in a competitor to do the work, a concept that throws out the notion of competition and embraces and practices the concept of “co-opetition”. These individuals truly understand the meaning of client service.

Gift of the Givers practices the ideology of total transparency. Even in the media. Founder and chairman Dr Imtiaz Sooliman has a “tell in like it is” approach to media. He repeatedly tells members of the press, “Report what you want to report. Good or bad”.

It is not a provocation, but another example of the organisations’ totally transparent approach. Another salient point that allows the NGO to stand out of the “donation clutter” is to do things quickly. The team shares a common purpose and vision and volunteers for the crisis team are selected with care.

No matter how qualified a person is, selection depends on whether they have the psychological, emotional and physical resilience to deal with trauma, tragedy and disaster response and if that person can truly function as part of a team.

With regards to marketing, the brand identity is one of professionalism and visibility. Each volunteer team member wears a custom-made shirt with the South African flag on the left sleeve. Gift of the Givers functions as a professional organisation where “perfection is not good enough” - the team needs to go beyond this, even in its branding.

Rachelson believes that a good “outro” is as important as a good “intro” and she therefore leaves the reader with an extensive list of her learnings from the teams she interviewed. Branding & Marketing You through Teams is not only a quintessential guide to creating and maintaining a great team but a guide on how to market a company through that team. Valuable reading indeed.

Branding & Marketing You through Teams by Rachelson is available at all good bookstores across South Africa as well as and as an eBook on

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