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We are what we do

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Things that Matter

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.


How do you develop and nurture the habit of excellence? How can national sport organisations maximize the full potential of the power of sport? How can they deliver excellence?


There are many different concepts and definitions for excellence. 


How do you find the common ground that will provide the unity of effort and teamwork that is a prerequisite for excellence?


Regardless of which ever definition or concept you choose. A lack of focus hinders excellence.


Can excellence be achieved with a hit and miss approach?


Saying that you are striving for excellence is nice sounding and high minded and it plays well. While not easy to achieve as a long-term position of principle, it is certainly the correct approach.


It’s always important for a national sport organisation to determine what it stands for. What should be the basis for determining what a sport stands for? Should any such declaration be rooted in its brand heritage and values, and the day-to-day reality of what matters most to its primary stakeholders?


Should striving for excellence in brand building be a priority for every single national sport organisation? If only for the reason that a brand is either an asset or a liability—it works for or against—it adds or takes away value.


Maybe more so than in the past, the reality of today’s world is a rather uncompromising one, a sport and national sport organisation’s brand perception will make or break the sport.


The sport’s identity and attributes can inform a road map. 


Some national sport organisations have a clear idea of their brand. Others simply don’t think about it. Identifying their attributes and understanding who they are and how the system works are essential.


It’s the only way to become aware of the hurdles and obstacles.


Harnessing and better understanding the power of their brand should be the focus of all nationals sport organisations.


Striving for excellence in areas such as service delivery, meeting stakeholder expectations, revenue generation and fundraising places such a demand.


National Sport organisations have little choice but to determine what structure they should put in place for marketing plans without compromising their brand.


They need to exercise greater oversight and control, taking a far more active and direct role in building value in their brand.


Too many national sport organisations have allowed their brand to exist with little direct structure or formal management.


This has to change.


To protect its brand, national sport organisations can’t delegate the management of marketing related issues.


National sport organisations need to have a clear understanding of what makes their brand unique and special. They can’t strive for excellence without a clear long term vision.


Key in all of this is building their sport’s brand equity. They are the custodians and stewards of their sport and sport organisation’s brand heritage and history.


A simple question for any nationals sport organisation to ponder—what is the public perception of your brand and brand attributes?


It’s a delicate balance—the pursuit of revenue can’t be allowed to undermine a national sport organisation’s brand or brand building strategy.


How can a national sport organisation realise, develop and use the full potential of its brand?


Are national sport organisations using their resources and assets to deliver on their mission and purpose?


If a national sport organisation’s brand is a primary asset then there is little or no choice but to remain vigilant in managing its brand. Excellence matters. Brand management matters.



Brian Lewis is the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. http//


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