Even Obama Thinks the Redskins Should Rebrand

In an interview with the Associated Press, Barack Obama revealedhe thinks the Redskins should rebrand. The interview came ahead of an NFL owners meeting here in Washington today. The Oneida Nation is planning a live protest to coincide with the meetings.

One of the big arguments against rebranding is a belief that protestors represent a small, but vocal minority. “I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” said Barack Obama.

My original post against the Redskins name created some interesting reactions, mostly from die-hard football fans against the rebrand. The argument that only a few people care about the name caused me to start a Care2 petition to demand that Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell abandon the racist Redskins name.

Almost 8000 people have signed it to date. More than a few, I’d say.

Should a White Guy Care?

Then there was the whole notion that because some Native Americans aren’t offended (while others like the Oneidas are), then I — a white guy — shouldn’t care.

I am going to have to rely on my ancestors who started the Anti-Defamation League on this one. If it’s demeaning, it shouldn’t be said.

Hey, you know what? I get it. The name was less offensive to the general public just ten years ago. But times change. It doesn’t feel right to say the name anymore. It feels like a slur.

In the past the words negro and colored were commonly accepted names for African Americans during the era of oppression. We thankfully evolved beyond that, too. I am sure some African Americans of past generations weren’t offended by it, but most were. They protested, and things changed.

And you know what? Some white folks joined them because they felt racism was wrong.

Do you think the fact that Pee Wee Reese was a caucasian man stopped him from putting his arm around Jackie Robinson in 1947?

The Cost of Rebranding

Money has been cited as a reason not to rebrand, too. Advertising Age estimates it would cost $15 million to rebrand the Redskins. But that does not include how quickly the team would make up the money lost with sales of new brand gear (assuming they do better than the horrific rebranding of the Washington Bullets to the Wizards).

If a little school in Canada can do it, so can Dan Snyder.

The real cost maybe caused by not acting. As a result, Snyder can expect continued animosity, deteriorated brand value, and eventually a larger brand issue for the NFL.

What do you think?

Please sign the rebranding petition if you care.

Thoughts on Collaborative Social Innovation

This is Pensaola Beach, awash with tar balls from the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.

Recently I ran across a phenomenal crowdsourcing initiative last week, Lego’s NXTLog Senior Solutions Challenge, which leverages robotic designs to create better living for the elderly. It was a brilliant blend of brand, cause and community that empowers customers to make a difference.

I could not help but wonder how can B Corps and nonprofits and general do-gooders leverage the power of new models like the collaborative economy to share and make great things happen?

Social good is no longer the domain of big donors or causes anymore, but we haven’t gotten much further than crowdfunding, social sharing, and participatory access to campaigns. There is a stiff arm between cause and community.

What if mission trips were something that anyone can take, regardless of faith? Or if you couldn’t participate in a full four week mission trip, could you offer a portion of your work to another person?

Can we build stronger volunteering platforms to allow people to intelligently make a difference when a crisis like the Oklahoma tornadoes or the Deep Horizon oil spill happens? In both of those instances individuals were turned away from making a difference because their unorganized presence created more rubbernecking than contribution. Right now it takes an organization like Crisis Commons to try and harness general volunteering and good will.

How about technology? Could people donate minutes or bandwidth to a region on a temporary basis? Or could a company share its Salesforce database with smaller nonprofit partners so they, too, might benefit from a top tier CRM solution?

You can see how collaborative model could offer significant progress to the cause space. Yet, here we are, playing the same game.

Perhaps it is time for more.

What do you think?

A CTRL ALT Delete Interview with Mitch Joel

Canadian blogger and bald brother of another mother Mitch Joel released his new book CTRL ALT Delete today. The book captures the zeitgesit of workplace change caused by a universal shift towards digital media. Mitch discusses embracing digital change to survive and succeed.

To celebrate the arrival of CTRL ALT Delete, I asked Mitch several questions, including his take on Google Glass, the individual’s role in the workforce and more. Check it out, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of CTRL ALT Delete.

GL: CTRL ALT Delete focuses on change, and of course a big change may be coming with Google Glass. How do you see wearable computing hastening the mobile untethered (and somewhat free) work life?

MJ: I had the chance to wear and tinker with Google Project Glass at this past year’s TED conference. My expectations were not high and the product blew me away (big time). There has been a lot of online discussion about what it means to be wearing these pair of Internet-enabled glasses that made me think that this technology was not ready for prime time. That online discussion is wrong.

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Taking on Challenges

5710792192_34d9afdedeImage by Frank et Son

When it comes to seeking clients, I try to find challenging projects and start-ups. Building a brand from the bottom-up and executing marketing turnarounds are some of the best ways to build a reputation as a marketer.

Seeking opportunities with “good” companies — while always nice for your client list and resume — don’t necessarily distinguish you. It’s always easier to guide a boat on course than one in turbulent waters.
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Will We Care About the Earth in May?

This Bactrian camel lives in the Miami zoo. Only 800 live in the wild still.

This Bactrian camel lives in the Miami zoo. Only 800 live in the wild still.

Every spring we go through a litany of environmental cause days. Last Friday was World Water Day, Saturday marked Earth Hour, Monday, April 22 will be the Grand Daddy, Earth Day, and finally Arbor Day is April 26.

All of these days and others are important, educating youth and adults alike about the need to become more environmentally conscious. But one has to wonder, will we care about the Earth in May?
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Google Reader Causes Pivot (and Purge)


Well, the RSS apocolypse is upon us thanks to Google’s planned sunsetting of Reader. Now that my Reader has been scheduled for termination, expect a pivot.

Of course, the sunsetting of Reader disrupts my and many other bloggers’ daily link sharing on Twitter and Google Plus, which causes change. Since xPotomac and SxSW have passed (creating more time), I plan on starting anew, and rebuilding on Feedly and Flipboard with new voices on a wider range of topics.

I go through periods of discontent online. Currently, I’m in one.

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