Far from being ungrateful for the many great and unmerited privileges that marked my week, I want to assert, without any reservation that last week, went down as one of the disappointing weeks in this year. Without doubt, the week brought me to the crossroads, where my world view on many issues, spanning religious, political and social scopes, was questioned. Perhaps, prompting me to , at least, keep broadening my and horizon. Of the numerous incidence that will occasion this piece, Donald Trump’s emphatic trouncing of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and the black stars loss to the Pharoah’s, over the weekend, are highly remarkable.
Having, without restraints, taken time to share my opinion on the former, I will, in this piece and in keeping with the cannon of recency theory, pay particular attention to the black stars’ defeat to the Egyptian side. At the risk of digressing, I will want to once again congratulate the good people of the United States for exhibiting great maturity and asserting their ideological independence in electing a man, whose outbursts and pronouncements pitted him against many people across the world. In fact, the stock market was not even receptive to the news of his winning. I have no doubt that once elected, the friskiness of ideological positions, which won him the presidency, will give way for calm , conciliatory and collaborative posture. Being one of the greatest economies, I have always taken a view that, whatever happens in the United States, should be of great concern to growing democracies and economies such as that of Ghana’s and from the acceptance speech, I have no shred of doubt that the fear and surprise that gripped many on hearing of Donald Trump presidency, will , in no time, be assuaged.
As I rail back to the purpose for this piece, I issue, characteristic of my writings, the caveat that, I am not a football pundit neither do I have the unalienable passion that most of my friends and family have. My only motivation for picking on this issue is my passion for brands. To this extent, I will want to apologise to my readers as they will be disappointed if they were reading this piece with the view to learning any new gist, history and tactics in football. Any time, I comment on the issue of the black stars, I have always approached it from the point view or context of branding and not the content of football and this will not be any different.
FOLLOWERSHIP WORTHINESS OF THE BRAND BLACK STARS.
Just as a country’s credit worthiness is a key indicator of the extent to which a country can access credit for its economic developments efforts, followership worthiness, I , submit, is the extent to which a brand, in this case the black stars, can position itself to merit the emotional, financial and physical support or involvement of its patronisers (Ghanaians).
If you are a keen follower of sport shows in Ghana’s media landscape, you will agree with me that the black stars’ approval rate, in recent years, following the Brazil debacle has not been very palatable. Indeed, the good will and emotional significance of black star matches, that will keep some Ghanaians in the stadium, even if that meant sacrificing a church service or cutting it midway, in order to witness a football match, has long gone. Today, many Ghanaians have become very cold and only speak of the blacks stars, perfunctorily without any positive emotional attachments.
Without doubt, the black star brand has lost its followership worthiness and lustre. The good will has given way to callused ‘they should do it themselves if they can attitude, a posture that has denied the stars the needed spiritual and emotional support football at every level needs to develop and thrive. Worst still, some segment of the media, have also adopted this posture. Doesn’t it come as a surprise that none of the many thriving and mushrooming Television stations, the 75 of them in Ghana, will follow up and give Ghanaians live telecast of the proceedings?
If the team is that followership worthy, why can’t a media outlet interrupt its own programme, seek for sponsorship in order to feed Ghanaians with the privilege of live coverage? But can one blame the media? Certainly no!!!. The poor attendance that has characterised the black stars home matches, in recent years, does not provide any incentive for them to want to commit their time and energies to it. This notwithstanding, I want to congratulate the few radio stations, who gave Ghanaians the opportunity, to keep tabs with what was happening in Egypt.
What is happening to the brand black stars can be fit the parable of the salt which losses its, taste, as it is said in the bible. Like the salt, any brand that loses its followership or utility worthiness is treated with contempt and the Black Stars, in recent years, I have no shred of doubt, is equally being dealt the same fate.
Be as its may, this current status as I describe is a direct result of the blatant disregard and the taken took for granted the opportunity, privilege and honor of donning the national jerseys to represent that country on the highest stage , the world cup. How money or financial consideration will have some Black Stars player hold the country’s emotional pulse to ransom cannot be easily distinguished from the team’s their current poor outings. In the past, management and some players had thought that because the black stars is a state assets, citizens will have no option than to support or follow it, however their state of performance or behaviour. This approach to managing the team’s relationship with the Ghanaian customer has unfortunately proven unsuccessful as Ghanaians have proven, in words and action, that they can neither be taken for granted nor be treated with the
THE PARADOX OF CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
As a brand enthusiast, I can only bank my hopes on a concept on customer relations management discipline. It is called the Paradox of Customer Relations. Among other assumptions that undergird it, the concept principally assumes that a dissatisfied customer, whose problem is subsequently and satisfyingly resolved, is more likely to be loyal to a brand than a customer who has never had any issue.
Yes, to plain thinking minds, this may not make sense but beyond the fact that it is only a paradox, I have grown to understand how difficulties and crises helps people to understand themselves better and move to prevent further crisis. Indeed, this concept is logically akin to the story of how a shepherd can leave his 99 sheep in search for one missing one. Indeed, that is why I believe that brands who experience crisis and challenges are better placed to come out stronger and better than their contemporaries who are yet to taste the sour wine of crisis.
By referencing this concept, I am not assuming for once that the Black Stars should qualify if they do not merit a place in the world cup. As a progressive person, i will be the last to root for the black stars to qualify, when it is obvious that they do not merit a place in the world’s football stage. That will mean an endorsement of mediocrity and superficiality. My allusion to this theory is underpinned by my view that in this gloomy and doomy stage in the life cycle of the black star brands, management, the players and any other stakeholders, must be mindful of working to earn the trust and followership worthiness that is so required for successful campaigns.
Like how a country, seeking to boost its credit worthiness works on its macro-economic fundamentals, stakeholders of the Black Stars team must be alive to their own responsibility and role in helping to win back the followership worthiness of team as doing otherwise will relapsed Ghana in the abyss of oblivion, eroding the many gains and enviable reputation that country has built in the game, continentally and globally. They must realise that as a brand in its own right, followership worthiness must be earned and cannot be conferred on the team, just because they represent the country.
History is replete with examples of how many brands and companies, have recovered and gained the trust and followership worthiness of many of their customers, even when circumstances appeared to have deemed such a turn around, utopian. An entitlement mentality that will place much responsibility on the Ghanaian to accept the Black Stars, regardless of their conduct and performance, will be a bane to any hopes of winning the needed followership worthiness for the team. A clearly defined, differentiated, collaborative effort by all stakeholders, aimed at winning back this brand collateral of followership worthiness is what the Black Stars need now. With this mentality, they will be mindful of the kind of players they even call into the Black Stars team, how they will treat or respond to rumors and the level of tolerance management they need to adopt, seeking to gain the approval of all and sundry. Players, like management, will also be mindful of their attitudes and outputs levels and will deem their call as a noble opportunity to externalise their patriotism and love for a career that gives them prestige and fame. In all Ghana must win and as fans we need not also take an entrenched position and fail to recognise positive attitudes as and when it surfaces.
Your perspective on this will be much appreciated
Samuel Osarfo Boateng,
Researcher, Content Strategist and Blogger
(Call the team for expert writing services)
This article is very special to me as it is written exactly two years that I was adjudged the best students in Communications and Strategic Communications at the African University College of Communications. It goes to affirm my resolve to justify these awards where ever I am, by working diligently and churning out though-provoking and intellectually stimulating articles.