June 19, 2019

The Tao of Kawhi (Leonard) for Marketers

It is still difficult to believe but the Toronto Raptors are the NBA champions. We the North rule the basketball world.

The title was driven by Kawhi Leonard, who entranced Raptors’ fans with his sublime basketball skills and a cool, calm, and collected demeanor. Over the season, Kawhi was never too high or too low. And when the Raptors faced challenges during the playoffs, Kawhi counseled them to enjoy the moment.

There’s a lot to be learned from the “Tao of Kawhi”. The key element is that success happens when you’re focused, grounded and stick to the plan even when times get tough.

Too many marketers (and brands) seek instant success amid fierce competition. They want campaigns to immediately resonate and drive conversions. They want consumers to be engaged, inspired, and quickly convinced that a brand meets all their needs.

This is not how the Tao of Kawhi works.

Instead, marketers need a plan of attack (aka a strategic roadmap) and the faith that it will work. Marketers need patience and a willingness to let campaigns unfold and evolve rather than panicking and looking for quick answers.

The Tao of Kawhi encourages people to be happy rather than stressed and recognize that if they work hard, good things happen.

The Tao of Kawhi also involves capitalizing on opportunities to do amazing things. Leonard joined the Raptors last summer in a controversial trade. Toronto was not his desired location. But Leonard was savvy enough to realize the Raptors had enough talent to make an impact.

Rather than sulk, he went to work without complaint. Over time, he gelled with teammates and emerged as the undisputed leader, who will always be revered in Toronto even if he decides to leave via free agency this summer.

The Tao of Kawhi is about being a leader who plays well with others by recognizing and accepting their skills and needs. It’s about allowing others to enjoy the spotlight and how everyone has a role to play at different times.

If you’re a marketer, the Tao of Kawhi is a different way to approach what you do and how you do it.

If you’re looking for user-friendly content about to jump-start your marketing and brand storytelling, check out my book, Marketing Spark. It features lots of worksheets, templates, and tools to turn marketing ideas into tactical execution.

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