Would You Brush Off Michael Jordan?

In the land of opportunity entrepreneurs, marketers, and just plain smart people are constantly looking for the thing that can give them an edge, an upper hand to their competition so they can dominate the market. But, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything – would you capture it or just let it slip?

Last night as I was surfing YouTube, I came across an extremely interesting Michael Jordan interview, that I think can serve as a valuable lesson to anyone in marketing, branding, or any related field:

Now it doesn’t take an avid sports fan to realize the GIANT opportunity that Adidas passed up by not giving MJ a contract. I like MJ’s humility in not indulging in “what if’s” – but I would venture to say that if they hadn’t made this mistake, it’s quite possible that Adidas and not Nike would be worlds leading supplier of athletic shoes. Considering that Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time and one of the most iconic and popular athletes ever, I don’t think these “what if’s” are too far out of reach.

This poses the question: would you brush off Michael Jordan just like Adidas did? Surely Adidas had good reasons at the time for the decisions they made, even though it may seem un-fathomable to us today. What opportunities are you missing out on because they aren’t a part of your plan or strategy? Are you afraid to “gamble” on new opportunities or investments for fear of losing? Can you afford to not make any mistakes and potentially pass up something that could transform you or your business in a way that you couldn’t possibly foresee?

Adidas made the mistake of denying MJ a contract even though he wanted to sign with them because they didn’t feel it was right for their brand. Well sounds like it was the perfect time to make it part of their brand. Remember that your brand strategy is a guideline, not a rulebook. If opportunity knocks and you don’t open the door, well there’s not much hope for you then, is there?

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