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#OrchidsandOnions: Dove ticks all the right boxes

Complete package: Timing is good, message is good, and Siya is a great ambassador; Bidvest gesture an example other companies would do well to emulate.
#OrchidsandOnions: Dove ticks all the right boxes

Cowboys don’t cry, and they don’t use cosmetics either.

I’m not exactly rough, tough and hard to bluff but I still subconsciously think that real men don’t do self-care and skincare in particular.

What next? I can hear my mates in the army asking ... it’s a slippery slope from skin cream to moisturiser to eye makeup. My wife would roll her eyes at that attitude and point out that, at the end of winter, my legs look like flaky pastry. On the occasions she has managed to persuade me to put cream on them, it has made the world of difference.

Beauty product brands don’t have to try that hard these days to convince men to look after themselves – that’s because skincare is not only about looking and feeling good. Properly nourished and protected skin is less likely to succumb to the harsh African sun and to start off down the road to skin cancer.

However, it provides a boost to the brand and to the whole idea of male skincare, when you have a man-mountain like Springbok captain Siya Kolisi to get across the message.

That’s what he does on behalf of Dove skincare products. The message is that your skin takes a pounding (and no one can question that Siya puts his body on the line for the national team) – whether on the rugby field or playing with the kids at home.

The commercial – made originally to flight across a number of countries around the time of the Six Nations tournament earlier this year – is running again ahead of our clash with the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship.

Timing is good. Message is good. And Siya is great as a humble brand ambassador. So Orchids to Dove. And that reminds me…

‘Thank you’ goes a long way

Years ago, as a young journalist, I learned a valuable lesson about leadership and managing people. My then boss, Argus Africa News Service editor John D’Oliveira, had given me just two weeks to get our Windhoek bureau shipshape before he flew in from Johannesburg.

In that time, I had to establish contacts and set up meetings for him with anyone and everyone who was important in the then SA-administered territory.

I was also expected to continue normal, everyday story filing.

Everything worked well and, some weeks later, John sent me a letter – the sort that normally comes around once a year and lets you know about your increase.

His letter thanked me for my contribution but then revealed what my increase would be. It was about what I expected, although John went on to explain that he was prevented by financial restraints from giving me more.

“Please accept that this does not reflect your value,” he added.

Would I have done whatever he asked from then on? Undoubtedly (sadly, he died a few years later).

A simple thank-you is, often, worth more than money. It says: You have been noticed. We value you.

That is why I have made it a policy to thank people for good work or commitment.

I am the opposite of former bosses of mine who ordered managers not to put any words of praise in writing, lest they be used against the company at a later stage by disgruntled employees.

These thoughts surfaced this week when I saw a simple, full-page advert by Bidvest, thanking its staff for their hard work during the tough recent times.

This goes beyond mere financial compensation. It helps build the spirit within an organisation and makes it a happier, and more productive place.

An Orchid for Bidvest. It’s an example others would do well to emulate.

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town.

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