On October 16, 1968 athletes stood up for what they believed in and lost. 50 Years later those who kneel for their beliefs have personal brands endorsed by Nike...
This week marks the 50th year of my birth and I will be throwing myself out of a perfectly good airplane to celebrate (yes I will have a parachute!).
So I thought I'd take a look at who the stand-out personal brands were in 1968, the year of my birth...
For a start, I share a birth year with a few awesome celebrity brands including Will Smith, Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts, which is pretty cool company.
The late 1960's was also the dawning of the television age, where people were jointly able to hear and see, in full colour, what was happening around the World.
In 1968 the TV enabled us to experience the horror of the Vietnam War and ensuing anti-war protests, the dreadful assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and the stirring black power protests at the Olympics.
To me, this image of athletes standing up for the rights of African Americans stands-out as a signifier of the year, a pure example personal brands standing up for what they believe in.
Personal brands stand up for what they believe in.
It's interesting that similar sentiments are being held even today, 50 years later, with football athlete Colin Kaepernick 'taking the knee' during the National Anthem.
The difference being that where Tommie Smith and John Carlos were thrown off the Olympic team and suffered years of neglect (as did Australian Peter Norman who stood with them wearing the Project For Human Rights badge), Kaepernick who has been attacked by some, has also been endorsed by one of the biggest sporting brands in the World.
The massive Nike advertising campaign entitled "believe" which features the protesting athlete has lead some to burn their Nike products.
Nike has reacted with a clever response regarding the safest way to burn their products, clearly suggesting that Nike also believes in something and is prepared to remain strong in it's support of athletes.
It is hard to believe that even after 50 years athletes are still protesting against racial discrimination, but at least the growth and power of branding and the media has enabled personal brands to be endorsed for their beliefs rather than shunned for standing out.
So make the most of your freedom of speech to stand out for what you believe in.
Make sure your personal brand stands for something you believe in.