Did you know Nelson Mandela rebranded his image? He did. You’ll hear that story as well as how CTOs can harness the power of branding from our guest today, Timothy Maurice. Timothy is an American living in South Africa, and that is where we begin our conversation on this edition of CTO Studio.
He explains he dated one of Nelson Mandela’s granddaughters for 10 years, and having access to Nelson Mandela and people like him has influenced his time in South Africa and were the reason he ultimately decided to base himself there. It has defined his perspective and purview on the country.
Timothy goes on to tell us why Nelson Mandela would leave celebrities with his grandkids before coming to meet them, what it was like to watch the World Cup with Nelson Mandel and much more. Join us for this fascinating talk on the power of branding, Nelson Mandela and South Africa on today’s CTO Studio.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- How did Timothy meet Beyonce and Jay-Z?
- What is ubuntu?
- What is the fundamental principle of a technology person?
- The powerful World War I origins of branding.
- Why are behavioral scientists being hired by so many companies?
- And so much more!
After our chat about Nelson Mandela, we talk about Timothy’s involvement with CNBC. He explains it like this: under his Brain & Brand Science he spends 30% of his time writing and researching the relationship between what happens in the brain, consumer behavior and stories and branding (including things like gender equality, women’s leadership, etc.).
Then he shares that research via media like his podcast, and written contributions and features for media like Forbes and some South African publications. He also speaks on those same topics at various conferences.
Which prompted me to ask him if he was immersed in the entrepreneurial scene or the political scene in South Africa? He engages with executives and other professionals who have a big stake in their identity and their reputation. He helps them, he’s the guy behind the scenes that no one knows about!
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I asked him what he would suggest to the founder of my brand – what they should fix? Timothy recommends starting with what is working, and what is being done really well. And one of those things, according to Timothy, is the CTO newsletter. He actually reads it because it provides great insight and content to its members. So the first thing that is working is the brand representation: it is authentic because the brand is well represented. So he recommends building on that, and making it fun.
Next I asked him what CTO types need to do to promote their branding? He suggests starting with the question: Where does branding come from? Why is there a need for it?
Branding came out of propaganda so the very idea of branding was about triggering and engineering desire. Woodrow Wilson hired Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, who was a master at propaganda. Wilson told Bernays he wanted him to trick the world into thinking the U.S. was going to war to spread democracy, and not to spread the U.S.’s own self-interests.
Wilson, Bernays and their team were successful in their efforts. In fact, they were so successful that Hitler took notice. He used their strategies to convince his people that Jews were bad. Clearly, these strategies are powerful (scarily so).
To bring this back to the original point, tricking people into wanting something they don’t even know they want is not the makeup of a technology person. The inherent design around the work of a technology person is they are needed, so why should they try to trick anyone into liking or wanting them? They shouldn’t and they don’t need to!
The fundamental idea and the foundational principles of a technology person is you need me.
So there is an inherent reluctance on the part of a CTO or other technology leader to “spin stories”. Timothy goes on to share the evolving role of a technology person before we discuss the impact technology has on our brains as well as the latest trends in that area.
Hear those topics and more on this fascinating and fun episode of CTO Studio!