The AllBlacks – the brand, team and essence !
Wow ! I can’t stop smiling and surely every Kiwi around the world will be so proud of the All Blacks – the only team in the history of the Rugby Union to win the World Cup thrice and twice in a row.
Anyone who’s ever seen them perform the fearsome Haka (the Maori War Dance) before any of their matches, or read about the history of this great team will understand their philosophy of not just playing rugby, but having pride in the jersey they wear, and being role models for kids in New Zealand, and abroad through sport.
No other team comes to my mind in any other sport that can emulate the passion and pride of the All Blacks. Yes there’s Manchester United and Brasil in football, and the Indian Cricket team with billions fans, and Ferrari in Formula 1 but it’s not about the number of fans you have, but how you’re followed, and more importantly how you lead.
Their iconic symbols like the Silver Fern, the Black jersey, their “Impossible is Nothing” attitude and their intimidating Haka is all part of the brand essence which makes this team unique, powerful and extremely profitable.
I will break down my post into the 4 P’s – Passion, Preparation, Performance and Pride. And I would love your input if I’m missed anything.
In New Zealand, rugby union is THE sport. Every boy that grows up there lives with the dream of putting on the All Blacks jersey. This sense of pride is translated by the players into every young and old player who represents the brand. They are mentored, tutored and disciplined to represent the country on and off the field with pride. It’s not about just winning, but with style and class.
You will never hear of an All Blacks being accused of cheating on the field, and they give it their all to win, but not at all expense. Their sense of character makes them arguably, the strongest team in the world as it’s built around history, culture, teamwork, inclusiveness and the ethos of New Zealand as a country and a people.
To keep building champions, there is a lot of support from the ground level within rural and urban New Zealand. Kids as young as three are taught how to handle the ball, run with it, and chase it in the air. These skills are passed on from generation to generation, and is uniquely Kiwi, as there is both tradition and innovation within in.
Whenever I’ve visited a match with kids playing, it is heartening to see the involvement of school coaches, parents and support staff. And the way these kids are encouraged means they learn to win from losing. It’s not even a Maori or Pakeha thing, as there are Indians, Chinese, Islanders, Africans and even South Americans playing the sport together.
This preparation can also be seen on the professional level where the level of fitness, dedication to technique and hours of practice develops the skills of these players above the rest. The sitting bench of the All Blacks can be better than the playing team of many other nations.
The All Blacks are the most successful rugby team in the world, having won more series, matches and world cup. And this can’t be denied by anyone. Every other rugby team in the world sees them as the benchmark, and the team to beat. Their speed, skill and style is unlike other teams, and they play an old school passing game which is very hard to sustain for other teams.
When you read about the players within the team, be it Captain Courageous Richie Mc Caw who does a 12 minute plank after every workout; or Daniel Carter who is said to practice kicking for hours on end; or Sonny Bill Williams who has played both league and union successfully; you get to realise the depth of this team in terms of their players pushing each other to excel, and set new levels of team and individual performance.
It’s one thing to be proud and another thing to have pride. All Blacks are the most humble rugby team in the world, but have a lot of pride when they get on the field to represent their nation. Yes, they represent the tiny nation of mainly two island with a population of 4 million built of every race, including the Maori.
This sense of pride makes them think of their action on the field of playing sincerely, and taking hit after hit, and keep moving forward. They set the bar for kids to follow, who want to put on the jersey or just be good citizens of this world.
Whenever I’ve worn the All Blacks jersey in my travels abroad, people come and greet me with a smile, and say, “Oh Yes ! Kiwi / New Zealand – nice people. Good team”. And you will never find an All Black fan throw his jersey or cap in disgust, and that’s the respect they give back to the team that represents them to the world.
Even the Wallabies (Australians) show respect above rivalry for these players in their speech last night, which is a testament in itself of what they’re valued as players and a team within the sport.
We are proud
New Zealanders should be very proud of the achievements of their team as they have played with dignity, shown courage under pressure, and been humble in how they behave with the competitors, and the respect they have gained from the fans and public alike.
This is the brand, the spirit, the culture and the nation….all in one amazing team!
As a Thank You to the All Blacks and to celebrate with them in my own little way, I am offering a FREE Shirt or Trouser or Vest with every BLACK SUIT ordered through Azrim:Az Designer Az You which is my own brand of custom tailored menswear available in AU & NZ – valid till 7th November 2015 – by appointment only on www.azrim.com.au