Monday, August 4, 2008

Re-engineering the brand ‘good man’

Imagine if you could re-write the story of creation? What would you change about the formation of man, our esteemed and beloved soul mate? Close your eyes and imagine we are in the garden, but this time, our creator made you, the woman first and then asked you “so, what kind of companion would you like to have?” How would you fashion him?

A similar question was the subject matter of an email joke doing the rounds recently. However, in that story, God created woman first and (as the joke goes) found a good-for-nothing previously discarded item to make man. Apparently, it sparked much mirth but also left twinges of deep pain.

Why would we laugh at effacing jokes about our significant others? Why would we choose to play an active role in dehumanising and belittling those who we claim to want the best of? Given the current status of man/woman relations, it is far from a laughing matter.

Truth is, we hear it everyday, on both sides of the Atlantic and all the stops in between! Less than loving descriptions of our existing and potential soul mates from light hearted jokes to persistent diatribes between us and our long-suffering sisters. All lamenting about how ‘there are no good black men out there’. I sense an element of a self-fulfilling prophecy at play.

I wonder how our children are processing such negativity heard as a constant background track in our homes. Just what kind of brand called man are we creating in their minds?

In the build up to South African women’s month which kicks off this week, I happened upon a talk radio show and heard a concerned man emotionally describe the state of bewilderment he believes men are in.

He admitted that he and other men he knew were mightily confused about what the notion of a ‘good’ man was. He suggested its time men took the situation in their own hands and began to re-brand themselves as clearly, they are being misrepresented.

Re-engineering a brand called good men, what a thought! Any takers? Successful brands clearly present their core truths exemplified through their attributes (values and virtues). So, brothers, in considering the offer to re-brand yourselves, know we (your consumers) are keen to connect with your core truth – your hearts.

Sisters, maybe we should also consider re-engineering our brand? In the quest for a good man, have you defined your value proposition?

Through out the following weeks as we are mindful celebrating emancipation and Jamaica’s independence and Women’s Month in South Africa, let us free ourselves from the ‘no-good men out there’ mindset and joyfully usher in heart-centered, soul boosting visions of the men we intend for ourselves and the women we intend to be.

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