Johann Cruyff* is a famous Dutch footballer.
One of the greats.
(In 1999 he was voted European player of the century).
And he was one of the great managers too.
He brought the idea of total football to FC Barcelona.
And when he did they won all round them.
Total football is summed up in one of my favourite Cryuff lines:
"Speed is often confused with insight. When I start running earlier than the others I appear faster".
The philosophy of Total football was about Anticipation.
It wasn't about physical power or supreme fitness. (The German way)
Or samba and dribbling. (The Brazilian way).
It entailed being more switched on than everyone else.
Besides being brilliant, Lionel Messi has inherited this tradition.
Simon Kuper wrote about all of this in the FT earlier this year:
"Key to the Cruyff reinvention of Barcelona was to change player focus from the small amount of time they are on the ball towards thinking about positioning, where is the best place to be and the next pass ... Where is the next player is going to be."
This is about having an idea of the bigger picture.
And a longer term view than the pressures of the immediate moment.
I can't think of a better analogy for managing brands or brand strategy.
Or what Brand Positioning should be.
The clue is in choosing long term insight over speed.
And being in the right place for the next pass.
(* Written in response to the sad news today of Cruyff's serious illness).