Springbok emblem is about values, not value

The Springbok emblem is a highly contentious and emotive debate raging across the South African media at present. Some want to ‘vomit on it', some claim to own it and others place a massive monetary value on it. One cannot help but wonder if, in all the flurry, we are missing the point here! This emblem is about values and not value.
Springbok emblem is about values, not value - Brand UnionThe question I am asking myself is, “How do you put a monetary value on such an emotive symbol?” Let's get real, this emblem isn't (or shouldn't be) about political views and financial gain. It's about the pride of a nation that is reflected in a symbol with massive emotional value.

So what is the difference between value and values? Values are about passion and personal alignment with what not just the logo means, while value in the monetary sense only looks at who owns it - when in truth the public do, anyway!

Get the focus straight

So let's get the focus of the debate straight. It's not about whether changing the emblem is right or wrong. It's about understanding why we may or may not need to change it. Instead of hurling insults at one another and pointing fingers, we need to take the time to understand the value set that this Springbok emblem represents, and take an empirical look at what it means to different audiences (old supporters, new supporters, players, Government, international sporting audience and the like) for that, after all, is where the real value resides.

Once we have a better understanding of the value that this emblem holds, we can act on what to do. If it does come out that there are significant negative connotations to the current emblem, change is not the end of the world. We need to look at a symbol that has universal support and find a way of taking the equity that the original emblem holds into a potentially new version.

Sounds like an impossible task? Not really.

We do have a very successful South African example of translating a highly emotional symbol into an equally successful newer version - the SA flag.

Successful translation

The new flag design was a phenomenal success, because they got it right. Even the staunchest of staunch (with the obvious few exceptions) SA nationals bought into the new flag with not much difficulty. The reason: there was a successful translation of the values that this symbol held to the SA public and the monetary value was not considered as the leading argument.

So where to from here? Stop the arguments and take time to understand the value associations of Springbok supporters, players, administrators and the general public, because without their buy-in, whatever decision the powers that be make, will be a failure.
24 Oct 2008 11:01


About the author

Anthony Swart is the CEO of The Brand Union ( in Africa. A deeply rooted African, with decades of experience in branding and marketing, Anthony has a passion for developing this continent and its brands, and a vision to help grow indigenous African brands to achieve their full potential. He has a BA in Industrial Psychology, and an MBA focusing on truth in brand promise. Anthony is married with three children, two rottweilers, two cats, four fish, a hamster and a Senagalese parrot. Contact him on tel + 27 (0)11 895 9300.

Well said-
Hit the nail on the head there!
Posted on 24 Oct 2008 12:10