Archive for February, 2015

Rory Mcilroy. And the Xtra club in his bag.

Posted on: February 23rd, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

Posted 22.february 2015

Despite his ridiculous talent, Rory Mcilroy has never won at The Masters. Is that about to change ?

Over the last ten years The Masters has produced different winners, with only Phil Mickelson winning more than once. It shows that it’s more than just raw talent and current form that carries one to a green jacket .This is a tournament that demands the ‘X’ factor to be in play – during the month of April. Well Rory certainly has plenty ‘X’ factor, and it’s been a while since anyone has lead the world golf rankings by a country mile , but he has never worn the green jacket.

However, this year it’s another ‘X ‘factor , which will come into play and can make all the difference – it’s the ‘X’tra club that Rory has in his bag. It’s called mentorship.

Rory Mcilroy has a fantastic official site : It reads as follows: I am an athlete, I am a golfer, and I am a fan .I am a son, I am Rory. Rory is only 25, but he seems to have all the aces. And he’s intuitively wise for his age, when it comes to choosing his inner circle of confidantes. Mentors such as his dad have certainly helped him reach the top of the world golf rankings, but of more significance is his recent bonding with an icon. Since buying a home in Florida, Rory has formed a close relationship with Mr. & Mrs. Jack Nicklaus. And some type of magical marketing multiplier has kicked in! His personal brand has gone from great to greater. And he’s beginning to win with ease. In Dubai he won without even attacking the flag.

The funny thing about mentorship is that the higher one climbs up the ladder , whether in sport , business or life – the more it begins to impact on human greatness , which can best be described as achieving sustained success and significance . Just ask Tiger who has struggled to bounce back after losing his ‘one and only’ mentor – his dad in 2006. His major wins have dried up, while Rory’s career is igniting ,with two major wins in 2014.There’s some kind of magic, when a great champion is humble enough to ask for help, and teams up with someone who has gone before. And it’s a kind of magic that works both ways, as great is never achieved alone.

For Jack Nicklaus, it’s the opportunity to ‘pass the torch’, the joy of helping, feeling appreciated and needed, and the fun of teaching. It’s a human blessing to know that one’s ideas are being implemented by someone else for greater good. For Rory, it certainly cannot be easy ‘taking a balance’ at the top of the world golfing ladder. Especially when one gets hauled into court battles. Hunted on and off the course . It’s nice to know that someone has got your back. Someone who has been there. Someone who cares more about you, than all the fanfare. Someone who guards and protects the fine lines of the life balance Someone who encourages ‘the swagger’ in Rory’s step, but keeps him grounded as Rory – the fan – the human being. Someone who believes in you. Thanks Jack.  And thanks Mrs Nicklaus.

Thanks to his mentors, Rory seems to have a great insight into his higher purpose in life – to entertain, to educate and to inspire millions through his golfing genius. It seems that winning is just an added bonus for him (his goals and how much winning he will do, are scribbled on the back of his Dublin – Dubai boarding pass). A reward for entertaining, educating and enriching the world!

And it’s often the small defining moments that make all the difference, and prove to be the real life ‘game changers’ in the life of great champions! Having wisely terminated his wedding plans to tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki, and having settled his contractual disputes with his former agent, the exhausting courtroom monkey is finally off his back – and my bet is that he’ll bring on his A-game and romp home in the Masters this April. That’s because he‘s receiving a master class in ‘life balance’ from a supreme mentor, Jack Nicklaus. Unlike Tiger, Rory was fully open to it. Great champions have a way of becoming more humble with more success – they do more listening and having ‘a believer’ makes a world of difference.

I think Rory is an unbelievable talent. I love his swing, his rhythm, his spirit. He has got a little swagger there, it’s a little bit cocky, but it is not offensive. I like that self-confidence in a young man. Jack Nicklaus commenting on the fine lines of great champions

In Jack Nicklaus’s case, the ‘X’tra club in his bag, throughout his career on his way to 18 Major victories, was his wife – a backer and a believer. She understood the ‘loneliness’ of a great champion – and a golfing genius. Now, Jack himself stands as ‘the believer’ behind Rory Mcilroy. At age 25, he is already ahead of Jack’s curve, so surely it’s going to be Rory’s time at the Masters – or it’s going to take some extra special effort from someone else to keep him at bay.

Helping someone else achieve their own success is just about the most rewarding thing one can do.

Mentorship is a wonderful gift. Best of all, it comes free. I’m yet to meet anyone who has gone backwards as a result of finding a great mentor. It’s the hidden ‘extra club’ in anyone’s bag.

Never stop seeking out mentors, especially if you’re the No.1, the boss, the CEO!

*Here’s a  recent video posted by Nike . It  captures Rory’s dream.  Enjoy !

Rob Opie, is a brand strategist, key note speaker, author and ‘game changer’  to organizational teams , sporting teams  and individuals. For more insight and inspiration derived from the great champions of business , sport  and life itself  – please visit

Proteas . Bulls . Take heed. One’s ships come in over a calm sea

Posted on: February 24th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

But, not all is lost, if they can grasp the fine lines between winning and losing. The Bulls started the season with what looked like the best SA Super 15 franchised team on paper. They got off to a cracker at Loftus with a try within minutes versus the Stormers. Then a high ball was dropped, and a front row man was suddenly injured and off .Things just got worse, and an inspired Stormers team, under the leadership of a pumped up Duane Vermeulen, took full advantage .The following week it was a much improved display, but another loss at their Loftus fortress. Instead of just playing rugby, the Bulls were suddenly chasing the outcome. And in sport, as in life – that never works well. Too much fussing and fretting, and not enough flexibility and flow.

The very same seemed to happen at the MCG on Sunday .The Proteas came unstuck as soon as Vernon Philander got injured . Their heads dropped, catches dropped, over rate dropped, as India took full advantage and dominated. And India delivered a master class performance. .Well it’s only a game, a stage game, and all is not lost. It now just remains to be seen if they have’ taken heed’, and realize that that one’s ships come in over a calm sea.

Hopefully, they will go into the knock out phases with a calmer demeanor, because they are likely to play in front of 90 000 ‘ hyped up ‘Aussie supporters – a far bigger challenge than 80 000 ‘cricket loving’ Indian supporters.

Luckily sport always produces great ‘bounce back’ stories. That’s why we love it!

#PROTEAFIRE. It’s times like these that call for calmness, support and an extra dose of what great champions are made of – Faith, Confidence and Belief (F.C.B).

Rob Opie is a brand coach, key note speaker, author and game changer to individuals and organizations. For more insight and inspiration derived from the great champions of business, sport and life – please visit Rob’s recently re-launched website at



From Good to Great to Greater. Here’s how.

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

If you’re reading this article, I guess you definitely somewhere on the road from good too great to greater – a road which demands a balancing act between the science of performance and the art of fulfillment. It’s a road of continuous learning. Some of us succeed in opening the road up into an eight lane German autobahn, but most of us turn it into something that resembles the Paris-Dakar rally. What’s the difference?

Paulo Coelho, the author of the Alchemist, who now has over 25 million social network followers, believes that the secret to life ‘is to fall down seven times and get up eight times’. I think they call this ‘the school of hard knocks’ road, and it’s becoming an ever more popular road. But, do the great champions of life choose this road? No, they do not! Why would World Big Wave Surfing Champion, Grant Twiggy Baker from Durban, buy into Paulo Coelho’s thinking? One more fall for him can be the difference between life and death. The great champions think differently.

It’s often said that wisdom begins at the age of forty – which suggests that the ‘the school of hard knocks’ is where wisdom begins – and nothing substitutes for experience. But, in the world of the great champions of life and health, wisdom begins far earlier. It begins when the reality dawns that in order to move from good too great to greater, one does not have to experience everything first hand .There is a better way to play the game of life. It’s called ‘the school of the great champions’ – ‘taking heed’ of what the great champions know, what they do, and of equal importance what they do not do. Indeed, every single one of us is an unique human being , but definite patterns of human greatness exist .And they become obvious , if and when one ‘takes heed‘.

If you’re looking for a ‘game changer’ to help you to unleash your full potential in 2015, then simply ‘take heed’. Here are three insights from ‘inside the game plans ‘of the great champions of life and health.

Champions believe in ‘stepping inside great’

They know what great feels like and what it looks like. When Richie McCaw was just eighteen years old, his uncle and mentor, John ‘Bigsy’ McLay, asked him what he wanted to be in life. After some discussion, there it was on the back of a McDonald’s napkin. An All Black. Bigsy quickly changed it to G.A.B – ‘a Great All Black’. Richie, you do not want to be just an All Black – you want to be a Great All Black – now sign it! And put it up!

Attaching the prefix ‘GREAT‘ to your passion in life – sets the stretch. It packages your potential and your power as one, and it maps your destiny. Kelly Slater, 11 times world surfing champion, is famous for saying: ‘Average is not where I want to be’. Great means painting epic pictures in your head of what great will look like. Then the journey to greatness begins by taking action steps – a journey to achieve Sustained Success and Significance in life. These 3 S’s define human greatness.

Great Champions believe in ‘living life by design, not default ‘

George Bernard Shaw reflected that life is not about finding oneself, it’s about creating oneself. Creating oneself means living life by design, not default, which demands investing in the most important brand in the world – Brand YOU. Branding is everything. The great champions continually reflect on, and refine their personal brands to ensure sustained success and significance. They invest in the 3 critical P’s of personal branding, namely purpose, priority and performance. It’s unquestionable that these are the three most important things that one can, and must do – to make a difference. They act as one’s compass and one’s scaffolding.

1. Know your PURPOSE.
– What’s your ‘one thing’ in life, which will inspire you to make that difference?

2. Know your top five PRIORITIES.
– What’s really important to you, and what’s not important?

3. Know your top three PERFORMANCE GOALS and action them.
– Are they aligned and are you committed ?

Great Champions believe in ‘the power of mentorship’

The opposite of human greatness is human implosion. And recently we have seen many such examples of ‘hero to zero’. A fine line exits. So, one of the best ways to avoid human implosion, especially when the stakes are high, is to leverage the magical power of mentorship .Get a mentor, and choose wisely.

Andre you have got big dreams. And I have got big shoulders. Stand on my shoulders and reach for those dreams’ Words spoken to Andre Agassi which triggered his climb back to World No.1 from a lowly 141 ranking

A mentor is someone who has gone before. Someone who helps to light up ‘the eight lane German autobahn’, and guards the multitude of fine lines in the game of life. When Tiger Woods stood on top the World Golf rankings for nearly a decade, he had the best possible mentor at his side. Sadly he lost his dad in 2006, and his professional and personal life started to unravel. Suddenly Tiger’s game plan was crammed full of the wrong stuff .His life imploded and it took him a full three years to make it back to No 1. And then he blew again. Tiger is someone who needs a mentor, not a coach. It’s not all about his golf swing. Greatness demands a game plan ‘made of the right stuff ‘, including the right support – especially if you’re as ridiculously talented as Tiger Woods. Even greats, like Tiger, can and do end up on ‘the school of hard knocks’ road. Recently Tiger had another incident, when he lost his front tooth. Interesting story that one. And then this past weekend he shot a disastrous career worst 82 to finish last in Phoenix .Wake up Tiger – get a mentor, not another new coach. Probably the best way to get closer to Jack’s record, is to get closer to Jack himself. It’s working for Rory Mcllroy. Mentorship is the power of the human collective in action, and it’s freely available most times. That’s because mentors love to give back.

Of course, life is all about the choices we ourselves make, but there is certainly a far wiser road than’ the school hard knocks’. Take heed! Greatness is just ahead.

As the Cell C executives, who I met with recently, would put it: BELIEVE.MAKE IT #EPIC

FREE eBook offer: THE GAME PLAN. Explore your Greatness. Email Rob to request your free copy at:

Elon Musk: South Africa’s greatest export

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

Elon Musk is probably South Africa’s greatest ever export, says human brand specialist Rob Opie. He draws inspiration from this technological pioneer, urging others to ‘just musk it’. Ironically technology could become humankind’s biggest enemy, reflects Opie here as he traces back on Musk’s successes and the lessons we can all learn from him. – Jackie Cameron

By Rob Opie

While doing a recent radio interview, I was asked one of life’s most powerful questions, a question which often helps to light up one’s own path to human greatness:

‘Who inspires you most?’

What would your answer be?

As young children most of us had our own chosen comic book ‘superheroes’. Then we moved on to the sporting field, where our ‘superheroes’ entertained and inspired the world.

But, somehow as we grow older, we seem to abandon the use of the word ‘superhero’. In reality the game is just beginning, as we start to acquire greater knowledge and wisdom of how the world works, and how the world does not work sometimes.My answer was an unequivocal one. A man who is fast changing the way of the world. A man who is even making Bill Gates look pedestrian. South African born Elon Musk, who must probably rank right up there as our greatest export.

Schooled in Pretoria, Elon Musk knows that ordinary will never change the world. At age 43, he is already the entrepreneurial and visionary mastermind behind Tesla Motors, PayPal, Space X, Solar City and the envisioned high speed Hyperloop from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The scary thing is that he’s just warming up.

To understand Elon Musk’s contribution to humankind, one needs to look a little deeper at what he is about. What is his ‘one thing’?
It’s certainly not clear from his varied business interests. Yes, to the outside it appears his new focus lies in the field of energy, but what is really turning Musk into the next great saviour of humankind. And, when he talks the world is starting to listen intently.
As recently as last Friday, he warned that probably the biggest threat to humankind is the latest trending towards ‘artificial intelligence’, where man is looking at computers to do tasks that normally require human thinking.

Musk’s strategic outlook on life is pure potential power, ready to be unleashed. It reflects a man who is constantly looking to find out what is, and what is going to affect mankind the most, to then find out what is not working, and to then go and fix it.

He is certainly not one who avoids life’s big challenges. So far, he has done some pretty amazing things and is warming up ‘to musk the world’! Mr Fixer par excellence in his chosen fields of greatness – space, internet and green technology.

Now, imagine if more and more South Africans could think like Elon Musk? To apply his philosophy of finding out what is not working and fixing it for the good of mankind.

If everybody had that mindset in their sphere of excellence, we would surely move a little faster from good to great to greater. Everyone making a collective contribution.

That’s how a nation becomes inspired, but sadly we are not quite there! It reminds me of the classic crayfish joke where Gatiep arrives back with a full bucket of crayfish and his mate says: Pasop Gatiep, that one crayfish is going to escape. Gatiep replies : ‘Nooit, these are South African crayfish – as soon as one makes a move, the other will pull him back down again ‘.

Recently we have seen a few cases in South Africa. Professor Tim Noakes stood up to do nothing more than ‘to help people do life better’, only to be pulled down by his own establishment, who have vested interests elsewhere.

Then just last week we saw Marcel Golding being pulled down by his own establishment, for trying to ‘do what is right ”. So, yes we should all be taking heed of Elon Musk’s approach to building a better world together for the good of mankind. For instance, Musk does not believe in patents.
Now going back to the interview question, where I replied that Elon Musk’s ‘fix what is not working approach’ was the primary inspiration behind my passion to ‘to help people to do life better’.

Musk has now recently also spoken out about artificial intelligence becoming a heightened risk for mankind. I agree, as today we all live in the most technologically advanced society that mankind has ever known, but sadly we mostly remain ignorant of the most powerful universal laws that govern our daily lives. We are at risk of outsourcing our lives to technology, and medicine for that matter – when things go wrong in our lives. Samsung even went as far as running a campaign recently entitled: ‘My life, powered by Samsung S5”.

Inspired by Musk, our research at The Game Plan has been focused on fixing what is not working, and hence the opening of our global online cancer research centre to help more people prevent and conquer cancer. It’s early days for our proudly SA initiative, inspired to change the world – one life at a time, but the results to date have been extra ordinary.

My suggestion is to keep an eye on this man on a mission! We can still claim him as one of our superheroes! Amazingly, he’s just warming up! And if more and more South Africans can ‘just musk it’, then we will surely have less ‘potholes of life’, and will all be on the road to greatness together

Ask Rory McIlroy: Brand You is most valuable brand in world

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

My 10-year-old son is desperate to follow in the footsteps of South Africa’s Big Easy, Ernie Els, as no doubt many other youngsters are. So he pays close attention to tips from golfing stars like Rory McIlroy. For the past two weeks, Nick’s mantra on the golf course has been “process” and “spot” after McIlroy revealed in a televised news conference that this was his secret for a recent win. He concentrates on the “process” when he drives and focuses on the “spot” when he putts. That’s catchy advice any golfer can remember to avoid being distracted by bad shots, and it seems to work. McIlroy isn’t just a genius with a golf club, though. Brand McIlroy is becoming very valuable, as South African human brand specialist Rob Opie explains here. Rob reminds us that, even if we don’t have dreams of winning the Masters, we can draw inspiration from McIlroy in our career and life planning. – JC

By Rob Opie*


What is the most valuable brand in the world? If you answered Apple, you would be wrong. That’s because every Apple device is easily replaceable. However you are not! You are irreplaceable. And sometimes we tend to forget this. And even the best of the best can get it all right, all wrong, and all right again.

Let’s take a recent example that is trending, namely Rory McIlroy. World Number One to personal slump to World Number One.

To his credit he did it all in one year. Tiger Woods took 6 years – three to unravel his personal brand from 2006 to 2009, and then three more to  rebuild and refine his personal brand  from 2009 to 2013, regaining the Number One ranking in 2013.

Even  more spectacular was the rise and fall of a man who deservedly earned the nick name of ‘the comeback kid’, Andre Agassi. His slump from Number One to number 143, and then  his climb back, was a lesson in ‘Brand You’ – personal branding. Luckily for him he had a chance meeting with Nelson Mandela in 2007, who shared with him the following wise words that he accredits for what helped him to bounce back from adversity: 

‘Andre, be careful with your decisions, Andre, be careful with your words, Andre, be careful with your relationships. Andre, we must all live our lives carefully.’

– Inspiring words of mentorship spoken to André Agassi by Nelson Mandela in 1997

So, what can we learn from these great champions who get it humanly right and humanly wrong?

Well, first and foremost: self-branding is vital in life, as it serves as one’s internal compass for life. ‘Brand you’ has two components: namely one’s outer branding component, which can be called one’s image, and one’s inner branding component, which can be referred to as one’s happiness. Guess which one is more important, if one takes into consideration the Champion’s equation of life?

Hard work + Happiness = Human Great

Rory took a year off to focus on his outer image. Caroline Wozniacki helped him. Andre Agassi followed the same route with Brooke Shields. Tiger did it his own way. But, an over-emphasis on one’s outer image can come with dire consequences. It takes one’s eye off the ball. It takes one’s focus off one’s ‘ONE THING’ in life. In Rory’s case, his golfing genius.

So, if inner branding is all important, what does it look like? What should we all know? Why is Rory suddenly back at Number One? Why is he now striding out to win more and more, and by big margins.  Just, as is the case in marketing, inner branding has its own four Ps (4Ps).

At the very top sits Prosperity, which is what we all seek, namely health and happiness. Sadly Tiger has still not found it, but Rory’s has certainly done it. He just looks happy in his own skin. One can see it in his stride and in his swing.

Prosperity has three components that make up one’s inner branded happiness, namelyPurpose, Priority and Productivity. You find these three Ps inside the game plans of all the great champions.

Take some time out to view Rory’s updated official website. It sums it all up:

‘I am a son, I am an athlete, I am a fan, I am a golfer, I am Rory’

Rory McIlroy at 25, is suddenly clear about his ‘one thing’ in life, and how he purposefully impacts on this universe  –  with an understanding of how he serves to inspire, educate and entertain the world with his golfing genius.

His priorities are back. And the hard work he puts in is driving up his productivity to the next level. Other golfers are playing catch up again, like in the Tiger era.

Summed up: his focus is back and it’s giving him supreme faith, confidence and belief to take out  ‘his Number One Driver’ where ever he now wishes. And on American courses it certainly makes all the difference. One year on and Rory McIlroy has learnt that a ‘to stop list ‘is far more valuable than a ‘to do’ list.

As soon as he came to this realisation himself, not much could stop his stride and his swing! With a game plan now made of the right stuff, many more major victories are in his sights.


Rob Opie. Struggling to shed that festive bulge .Here’s why.

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

If you one of those people who’s still struggling to shed those extra kilograms that you found over the festive season, here is some food for thought. And it comes from those in the know.

More than 2500 years ago, the Greek physician Hippocrates, said that food should be our first and most important ‘medicine’. Fast forward to 2014, which when it comes to food, must surely be described as the year of ‘the banting diet’. Professor Tim Noakes is no doubt a big fan of the importance of food when it comes to wellness and /or illness. While his new book certainly ruffled a few feathers, it also helped many people to get their lives back on track. But, is it clear where the main benefits of following ’low carb diet ‘are coming from? This is especially pertinent now, as most of us simply find in near impossible to maintain a low carb diet over the festive cheer. And we are left wondering how to get back into shape?

Behind the success of Prof Tim’s ‘low carb diet’ diet lies one of the most powerful universal laws of life and health, which reads

Now why is this important? We as South Africans just love carbs. We cram out daily lives full of carbs. But, what we need to realize is that carbs are all acid producing food substances. So, ‘too many carbs’ over the festive season, and add to that ‘too much alcohol’, which is also a highly acid producing substance, we simply create very fertile ground for all sorts of problems to develop. Let’s take an acute example, which most of us experience over the festive season – a hangover. It’s merely the body communicating to you that you have created an ‘acute acid overload’ – an imbalance is in play .Too much acidity therefore impairs the functioning of the human body , specially the metabolic process . It slows it down radically, and it’s little wonder that those extra kilos find their way to that place on your body that least requires them.

So, how does one counter this scenario? After all everyone enjoys some party time .Firstly with the right knowledge, and an understanding that there’s more to maintaining one’s optimal body mass , than just ‘the right eating plan’ and ‘the right exercise plan’. It’s crucial to grasp the concept of maintaining the right acid / alkaline balance in the body, so that the metabolic process can operate optimally. Only then, can one hope to avoid those extra kilos. And it’s not easy as carbs are often far more indulgent, convenient and cost effective.

So, here’s the trick to get those kilos to disappear before February arrives .Carry on with all the normal actions like ramping up the exercise plan again, and seeking to eat a balanced diet – which means an equal intake of acidic and alkaline producing foods. But, take heed of what others ‘in the know’ are doing – those with the esoteric knowledge. Check out the new role of alkaline supplements. (And this is not a promotion for any product or brand ).People are now finally starting to grasp how important the role of maintaining one’s acid /alkaline balance is – with maintaining one’s overall vitality If you not sure , just pop into any of the pharmacy chains like Dischem , and see how must shelf space is now being allocated to alkaline powders Alkaline supplements help with our fast paced ‘acid overload ‘modern lifestyles. They help restore the optimal acid /alkaline balance so that metabolic process can operate optimally. This means getting the Ph levels right. The human metabolic process works like your swimming pool. Get the Ph levels wrong and see what happens to your pool.

Alkaline supplements can certainly help, if they bring on a new way of thinking about health. But, beware, as it’s still up to you to seek and maintain that overall optimal life balance .After all life balance will always remain the most powerful drug on the market by far.

Special note to readers: One of the main drivers of the surge in obesity levels in modern society is chronic acidosis. It’s responsible for significantly impairing the optimal functioning of the human metabolic process. Failure to maintain an optimal acid /alkaline balance therefore renders the human body ‘out of kilter’, and fertile ground is created for many states of dis/ease, as opposed to ease.


*Robert Opie is a human brand coach, brand consultant, key note speaker and author. He also runs a fast expanding GLOBAL ON LINE WELLNESS RESOURCE CENTRE, ex Durban, which specializes in helping people to conquer cancer worldwide. His passion and purpose is to help people ‘to do life better’ .Visit .za   and Rob can be personally contacted at robopie


Colours of success: What SA soccer clubs can teach rugby, cricket about branding

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

Rob Opie, a branding specialist, looks at why it is we see pink shirts on a field when we are expecting blue. Or multi-coloured shirts when they should be one tone. Don’t underestimate the power of a brand’s colour, he says. Think of the world’s biggest brands and you immediately know which colours they have claimed as their own. Starbucks green, BP green-and-yellow, HSBC red – these companies stick rigorously to their corporate colours as do all organisations that have bought into the value of developing and sticking to branding guidelines. Rob asks: why aren’t South Africa’s sporting brands getting this right? – JC

By Rob Opie*

As a sponsor, I was privileged to spend time inside the camps of all three of South Africa’s great soccer clubs, none more impressive than the Kaizer Chiefs branding machine. At the marketing helm at the time was brand strategy guru Emy Casaletti. She was simply superb in creating and building connections, which after all, is what marketing is all about.

Sponsors flocked to be part of the Amakhosi family. And the other two clubs, Pirates and Sundowns were also on the up. One thing they all understood clearly was what can be termed their ‘one thing’. They never stopped building and adding to their brand identity.

No one was allowed to tamper with brand identity. And a huge component of that brand identity was the power of colour. They took ownership of colour.

For cricket, it was no different when Benson & Hedges first introduced colour to cricket. They were superb marketers and many of us will never forget the power behind Clive Rice’s golden yellow Transvaal ‘mean machine’ at the time. Stadiums were filled to capacity.

Granted it was something new, but no one can deny that colour identity played a massive role in establishing brand identity. Players and supporters alike felt they belonged to something.

Fast forward to today and it’s become a bit of a circus for some of our cricket and rugby teams who do not take heed of what their soccer counterparts have built and achieved on the brand identity front. Of course, there are also many great success stories, but lessons are often not learnt, and brand identities are often steadfastly undermined.

On the other hand, brand opportunities also often go sadly missing, when one fails to understand when to hold on, and when to let go. Brand marketing requires a disciplined, but open minded approach. Let’s take a look at a few examples of late.

Last night I watched the Chevrolet Knights playing in navy attire, which I have no clue as to how it became their color of identity.  Even their Free State rugby colleagues seem to run on the field in a different jersey every time.

Have they not witnessed the immense power which the Dutch soccer supporters wield wherever they go? If one inherits colour ownership, one must surely exploit it, and orange has always been the colour associated with the Free State.

Why throw it all away? And why split your supporters’ club up in to fractions, all wearing different colours at the game?

Many years back Bobby Skinstad, who always has a few marketing tricks up his sleeve, led his Stormers team out in black. Yes, it indeed created a fantastic new hype in Cape Town, but he soon realised that black was an identity already owned by the Sharks, not the Stormers.

It was an exciting move, but it undermined brand identity. Up north the Blue Bulls, just like the All Blacks, have always been consistent and built a great brand identity – until recently, when they have chosen to play in pink, and even sometimes in camouflage attire.

No wonder, they are struggling to even make the semi finals these days. Imagine the All Blacks running out in cammo outfits? Brand identity must be guarded and kept succinct at all times.

Of course, colour also opens up potent branding opportunities, when one knows when to hold on, and when to let go! For some reason, the Highveld Lions cricket team has moved away from the golden /yellow colour identity, and have selected the color red.

Not sure why? But, herein likes the paradox of colour marketing.

The Golden Lions rugby team is a team that has only tasted success on a few occasions, and possibly again this weekend in the Currie Cup final. But, is their recent success sustainable?

They have never managed to get their fan base back to where it was in the Francois Pienaar golden years. And, when something is not working, it’s imperative to implement a radical tactical shift.

It’s time to move on and make changes, and the opportunity is now staring them in the face. They even call themselves the Golden Lions, but choose to hold onto the old Transvaal red.

Just the other day they made a call to play in ‘Diggers heritage’ jerseys, which the players surely understood, but must have meant little or nothing to their future breed of new, younger supporters? Why do it?

They need to look no further than the success of Kaizer Chiefs who embrace the colours of the golden city – JOZI. The colour gold is an immensely powerful marketing tool, so the Golden Lions must surely look to partner up with the Chiefs marketing platform , to build the “Pride of Jozi” – a city with all the financial backing to support a new direction.

It’s a kind of ‘regional royalty’ staring one in the face, much like the highly successful Indian IPL. The Golden Lions need to bring the City of Jozi on board  much like current Sharks CEO John Smit is doing by forging new partnerships with the City of eThekwini marketeers.

Yes, brand identity through colour ownership is a critical component of sustained success. Add to that, the power of partnership, and one has the building blocks of significance.

After all that is where Emy Casaletti has stood out above the crowd as a sports marketing guru for Kaizer Chiefs and many other sporting brands.

Finally, a success story worth watching as it unfolds is the building of brand identity for the Proteas nrand. Check it out, as they are certainly on the right path to sustained success and significance with their campaign entitled: #proteasfire.

It has immense potential for players and supporters alike. I just hope they do not start playing in cammo too soon! Sometimes, we all need to take heed of what our successful counterparts do, and do not do, and understand that orange may indeed be the new black.



Captain in a cauldron again .

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

Hats off to Jean de Villiers coming up trumps again on Saturday at Newlands. A great captain and a great leader under pressure. The result was a hard earned Bok victory against Australia, and add two more superb tries to his own personal tally. But, behind it lies a Bok captain in a cauldron again, and a Bok Brand being significantly undermined and devalued.

In 2008, John Smit found himself in a similar position and was forced to address his team on the matter. On Saturday Jean de Villiers would have had to do the same. John Smit referred to it in his book entitled ‘Captain in a Cauldron ‘ as ‘killing the cancer ‘,when a player finds himself selected under duress – or let’s call it what it really is – political interference . In 2008, the said player was a certain Luke Watson, and Smit could see his team was decidedly off color – on and off the field. Add to that most of the players did not enjoy Luke Watson as a person. He simply did not fit into the squad! Now, that was not the case on Saturday when Oupa Moheje took the field – obviously well liked by all the players, but with one problem. Every player in the team knew he had been given his starting cap due to political quota interference. The result was a Bok team hopelessly out of sync in the first half on Saturday. They found themselves 10-5 down at half time. Add to this a fumbling captain who normally has the best set of hands in the game .The Boks knew they had to dig deep again, but did they know how?

The issue? With 20 years of democracy under our belts, when will we ever learn? When will we simply stop looking at color – when will we just say no to political  quota interference in top level sport. A Bok jersey is one that is earned through blood, sweats and tears, but above all , being the very best in your position

 to rightfully earn that STARTING CAP in green and gold.

That is what drives the Bok Brand, makes the team gel and drives up performance to the next level of growth and contribution .

With full respect to Oupa as a person, on Saturday we saw a test starting cap handed out to an inexperienced player who was far from the best option at No 7, and that said it all to the other players in the squad .Certainly no fault to Oupa, who has done superbly well to get into the squad, but was now put in position he should not have had to answer too. He still needed to be tested off the bench, against lesser opposition –when the right opportunity presented itself. Saturday was not the right time – and the players all knew that! And they also now knew for certain, that not one of them in the team could secure their position purely on merit of performance. Now that is the real game changer in sport ,as it destroys the key ingredient that drives all sporting champions to the next level – Faith , Confidence and Belief – called FCB .

The interference undermined the team dynamics , and they simply failed to gel in the first half – near everything going wrong ! And it was  certainly not Oupa’s fault !

Luckily Saturday turned out to be a tale of two halves, and I am sure Jean de Villiers had some very wise words to say before coming out the tunnel at half time. Yes Oupa ,did his best , but sometimes one’s best is just not good enough at the top level .His substitution early in the second half rekindled the Bok team dynamics  , called ‘ gees ‘– and they surged to a 28-10 victory . Suddenly the team was able to gel.  No, not because Schalk Burger  took over at  No 7  , but because the team pulled it all together again .The players gave it their all in those last thirty odd minutes, and Australia added zero points to their half time tally !

Well done to captain courageous Jean de Villiers, but next week it starts all over again ,but this time it will be the far tougher All Black team. Let’s hope the ‘political cancer’ has been ‘ killed off’ for the good of all  the players ,  so that the team can have a fair crack at the best team in the world on Saturday. The lesson has once again been heard loud and clear. Select ‘rugby players as rugby players ‘! Twenty years down the line – who actually cares anymore about color! I am sure Oupa will agree, and he himself will know, if and when he is ready to start in a Bok jersey. Till then, he must go through the ranks to earn his stripes like anybody else. That’s the magic of the Bok jersey .

Bok team dynamics depend on how that ‘Bok jersey’ is awarded and presented. And that is how pride and hope is built for a nation .It’s time our politicians focused on building brand value , not destroying it !

Our nation and Oupa deserve more ! C’mon South Africa, we’re  not second best .

Bring  it home  in 2015.


Rob Opie on cancer: It’s not your fault if you get it, and here’s why

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

One of the most common questions I get asked by cancer patients through my global online Cancer Resource Centre is: Did I bring this on myself?
Well, nobody ever wishes oneself to be ill, so the answer is a resounding NO. So, why then is the incidence of cancer growing at such an alarming rate? And why are more and more lives being devastated by a dis-ease, that is not as complicated as most people in the cancer community make it out to be?

Where does the primary challenge lie?

In 1971, US President Richard Nixon signed the US National Cancer Act into force, and America was to commit billions to fighting the war against cancer. Most Americans, and the world, believed that if they could put a man on the moon, the war against cancer would soon be over.
More than 40 years on and still no cure for cancer has been found. And near zero consensus on the cause of cancer. Modern conventional medicine is therefore failing the cancer test.

Now that may sound a little harsh, as the genius of modern medicine saves millions of lives every day, but the reality is that when it comes to cancer, the progress is limited. Success has been confined to early detection programmes and symptomatic treatment processes only, but no definitive answers as to what causes cancer.

This has created fertile ground for a minefield of misinformation and myths. It’s little wonder that the man in the street is perplexed, and often falls victim to what can now be termed a “cancer juggernaut”.

Health paradox

The word “carcinogenic” is overly used and strikes fear in most people’s lives. It’s a word ascribed to “any substance that may be cancer producing”. But, herein lies the paradox. Conventional medicine does not know what causes cancer and therefore the cancer juggernaut gathers further momentum.
Let’s take a look at a few examples. Most people believe that smoking causes cancer. But, in reality no one has ever proven this to be true. The thinking is wrong.

And here’s another example that happened this past week while I was writing this article. A cancer patient comes out of ICU. She requests a coke. Doctors refused, pointing out that their latest thinking is to starve the cancer cells of sugar. The thinking is wrong again. Modern conventional medicine is reading it wrong.

The world needs to acknowledge that if the extensive research to find a cure, has not produced positive results after more than 40 years, then a fundamental shift in approach is required, in order to bring about a different result. And to put an urgent stop to the misleading and destructive myths and mis- information surrounding cancer.

What’s required is a “think different” approach.

We can choose to put the blame on all types of carcinogens that we are led to believe is the cause of cancer – hence we can unwittingly play “victim” to all the misinformation. Or we can say: “No!” Those who do go on to conquer cancer choose not to play the “victim” role. That’s because they now know that cancer can be conquered with “the right knowledge”.

So how does one conquer cancer?

Questions and answers

A good place to start is to ask the right questions: How do those who have gone before and conquered cancer do it? Great cancer champions like Lance Armstrong, Nelson Mandela, Kylie Minogue and many more.

It’s wise to take heed of what the great cancer champions know, what they do and what they don’t do to conquer one of life’s greatest challenges. What’s more is to take heed of those that have failed, for instance Steve Jobs.

Yes, many have indeed benefitted from powerful symptomatic processes such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, but those who go on to conquer cancer “do more”. They do not solely rely on symptomatic treatment.

They take heed of “the cancer message”.

It’s import to grasp that any state of dis-ease originates in one of the three realms of life and health, namely the physical, chemical or emotional realms. The genius of modern conventional medicine can never be doubted in the physical or chemical realms, but herein lies “the game changer”. Contrary to what most people like to believe, cancer does not originate in either of these two realms. Cancer originates and triggers in the emotional realm. Cancer is a human emotion dis-ease.

This is where modern conventional medicine is reading it wrong. And, if one limits one’s research to the physical and chemical realms – there will never be a cancer cure forth coming from conventional medical science.

Finding balance

Taking heed of what the great cancer champions do, is the key to cracking the cancer code. Anyone who successfully undergoes symptomatic treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, also does something else. They put themselves through a period of self-introspection, which means they take action to “restore life balance” in their lives.

It’s a process that requires equal measures or self-honesty and self-love.

Unlike most people believe, cancer is not the enemy. Cancer is one’s wake-up call. It’s the universe sending one a message to restore life balance. Life balance is what drives wellness, and life imbalance is what drives illness. Most people have little or no clue that emotion is the Number 1 life force, and is responsible for many states of dis-ease. Negative emotion held for too longer period of time, creates imbalance, and turns toxic in the human body – triggering dis-ease.

Cancer is such an example. With every single cancer patient I have ever worked with or studied, I always find one thing in common – one thing that causes and triggers cancer. It’s consciously and/or sub-consciously long-term resentment. Most cancer patients simply do not know that they are unwittingly harboring a highly toxic emotion.

And with all the misinformation and myths being punted about cancer, it’s extremely difficult for them to grasp that cancer is a universal message –the universe trying its level best to tell one “to restore life balance” – to uncover and remove this toxic and life destructive emotion called long-term resentment.

The universe has thrown out a lifeline to restart the journey of life, and it’s imperative that one acts fast to cut off this “one and only” cancer fuel. Enjoy that coke, as all cancer patients need more happiness and love in their lives, not less.


Rob Opie on Wellness. Cracking the Cancer Code: just like Everest, cancer can be conquered

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

They don’t always make the headlines, and among the great champions are not just those who have conquered Everest or won Olympic gold, but also the many who have beaten cancer. It takes guts,

perseverance and determination to face a life-threatening disease head on. Most of all, it takes a new ‘collaborative’ approach to conquering disease that is offering hope where there was little before. Here, human brand specialist Rob Opie outlines the collaborative and collective wisdom of champions – what they do and don’t do to face major obstacles. He argues that cancer can be conquered by opening up to a ‘rational alternative’ to conventional medical wisdom. MS

 By Robert Opie*


When US President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act into force in 1971, most Americans – and the rest of the world – believed  that if  America  could put a man on the moon, the war against cancer would soon be over.

More than 40 years on and rogue cancer cells continue to cause death, destroy lives and devastate more families than ever before. Every day in the US alone, more than 1500 people succumb to the disease. In South Africa that number is estimated to be 150. Despite advances of modern medicine in cancer treatments and early detection programmes, there still exists a perceived lack of progress.

Recent talk has revolved around cancer “dream teams” in the US who are collaborating to find the cure. However, the cold reality, as reported by Time magazine in April 2013, is that “the probability of developing some type of cancer over one’s  lifetime is for men, one in two, and for women, one in three”.

Cancer has formed an integral part of my more than a decade-long interactive study of the great champions of life, which culminated in the book, The Game Plan, in 2013.

From the outset in 1999, when one of my golfing partners – the legendary West Indian cricketer Malcolm Marshall, succumbed to cancer, I began a mission to find answers to the unanswered questions: what triggers cancer, what causes cancer? And to find a way to help those who have to face the devastating words: “You’ve got cancer.”

Years later, my passion intensified when one of my closet friends was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, and was close to throwing in life’s towel. This ignited a further desire to work interactively with the great champions to find out how they conquer. The result was pure power, combining the collaborative and collective wisdom of these greats.

And it was in the cancer wards of Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital that I met those who I regard as the greatest champions of all: the cancer champions. From the modelling of methodologies of what the great champions know, do and don’t do, I’ve become convinced that cancer can be conquered with a “rational alternative” – the adoption of a new, collaborative approach to “dis-ease”.

Whilst most people lament Lance Armstrong’s lies and cheating, he remains a beacon of hope for cancer sufferers. Armstrong conquered cancer at age 25, with what he described as his “gift” to fellow cancer patients – a four-legged model of “motivation, knowledge, support and hope”. The model he shared went mostly unnoticed; it was his sharing of esoteric knowledge that prompted further interactive study into what other great champions were doing to conquer, whether it be on the slopes of Everest, or in the cancer wards of Albert Luthuli.

Powerful commonalities have been revealed, overlaying Armstrong’s model with that of many other great champions to reveal a model of immense power – in a nut shell, a four-legged model derived from the collective wisdom of the great champions. It comprises “resolve, knowledge, support and game plan”.

Cracking the cancer code requires a paradigm shift in thinking aligning and balancing of all four of these legs of the champion’s table of life and health, and sometimes a radical shift in tactics. Let’s take a look at each of the legs:


It’s a powerful word, more powerful than Armstrong’s motivation, which implies an element of being coaxed to do something one does not really wish to do. Resolve is about “inspired action to do”.  Conquering cancer is a choice. No one conquers cancer without resolve. Cancer champions choose to conquer. They never give up. Without a strong resolve leg, any attempt to conquer cancer will be a futile exercise.

In Armstrong’s words: “Without cancer, I never would have won a single Tour de France. Cancer taught me a plan for more purposeful living, and that in turn taught me how to train and to win more purposefully. It taught me that pain has a reason and that sometimes the experience of losing things – whether health or a car or an old sense of self – has its own value in the scheme of life. Pain and loss are great enhancers.”              


It’s the vital second leg of the table, though knowledge is mere potential power. It only becomes power with the words, “I get it”, when the right strategies and tactics are put in place to conquer.

Modern medicine has done genius work with symptomatic treatment programmes and early detection of cancer, but little, to no progress has been made on cause. Most oncologists openly admit they do not know what causes cancer. This is primarily because their search has been restricted to the physical and chemical realms of “dis-ease” – the primary reason they have failed to “crack the cancer code”.

Modern medicine can knock out a cancerous tumour, but in reality, chemotherapy and radiation are symptomatic treatments. They do not address the cause. It’s important to note that cancer champions who conquer through such treatments, also at the same time go through periods of self introspection. They make radical tactical shifts in their outlook to life – their life design. They make life-design changes consciously or sub-consciously, because cancer has a strategy – sending out a universal message to restore balance in life. This involves acceptance that the cure or answer to cancer does not lie in the physical or the chemical realms of dis-ease alone, but also in the emotional realm.

It’s crucial to understand that emotional balance fuels wellness and imbalance fuels illness. Cell generation returns to normal faster  when the body, mind and spirit are brought back into balance.

Cracking the cancer code is about restoring emotional balance, in particular resolving to get rid of long-term resentment, a powerful, destructive, and unbalancing emotion.


This is the third important leg of the champion’s table. Armstrong had plenty of it, but many people don’t. Lack of support makes conquering cancer even more frightening and near impossible. Human greatness demands the power of the human collective, a collaboration of power.

The great champions of Everest never do it alone. It’s the same with cancer champions. They leverage the power of the human collective, comprising faith, family, friends, doctors and carefully selected opinion mentors. It’s a “sherpa-like approach” which works well on Everest – conquering is made far easier with the right specialist knowledge, backed with maximum support to take on the “bounce back” challenge   that is cancer.

Game Plan

This is the final transformative leg of the table that needs to be firmly in place to achieve the objective of returning to a life of “ease”, rather than “dis-ease”.

Having a high-level game plan is more powerful than Armstrong’s “hope”, that implies outsourcing of life’s key decisions. Armstrong did engineer a very high-level game plan to conquer cancer, and go on to conquer the Tour de France and the Pyrenees seven times. He had it all.

The trick for those facing cancer is to ensure a game plan made of the “right stuff”, and removing life’s constraints. Cancer is one of life’s constraints created by focusing on the wrong stuff, hence the creation of long-term resentment.

In the end, the great champions have three common denominators in their game plans to create balance in all three of the realms of life, namely physical, chemical and emotional: