Fans around the world mourned the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or RBG as she was commonly known. Recognized chiefly for her tireless work towards gender equality, her life and legacy serve as an inspiration for many. Her work over nearly six decades shows dedication and tenacity, and here are five lessons marketers can learn from her life:
- Size and strength are not the same – Although she had a small stature, RBG had a huge presence, and her strength was in her tenacity and commitment to fighting for issues over time. She was a powerful woman, and she proved to us all that small can be mighty.
A focus on quality and doing the small things well over time are necessary to success. The devil really is in
the details: you might have a good concept, but if the details are overlooked, it will be a weak execution.
- Resilience is key – Although RBG was first in her class at Cornell, and the first female member of the Harvard Law Review, she faced discrimination in the field of law because she was Jewish, a woman, and a mother. She overcame these obstacles and eventually became the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Even after she became a Supreme Court Justice, she battled cancer on several occasions, but was often back on the job shortly after treatment.
Markets and economies change over time, but businesses that are resilient and find ways to respond to
current events are those that last for the long haul. Cultivating resiliency and a long-term strategy that
allows for things to go wrong will serve you well in the end.
- Know your limits but think outside the box – RBG was a master at understanding the ins and outs of law, and over her lifetime, she brought huge changes to the lives of women in America. During the 1970’s, she brought six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court and won five of them. She came with a strategy: she anticipated the conservative leanings of the Court and brought a case that laid the groundwork for the ones to follow.
Without an understanding of the system, a strategy is limited, but vision and creativity are needed to
accomplish change. It’s important to know the limits of your company, your marketing strategy, and
your budget, but don’t forget to think outside the box and be creative with solutions.
- Branding really is everything – RBG’s collars became an instantly recognizable icon, not only setting her apart from her male colleagues, but female as well (who even remembers that Sandra Day O’Connor also wore a lace jabot?). She collected collars and jabots from all over the world and amassed an impressive collection of collars over the years. There was a specific collar for each occasion, one of the most famous being her “dissent” collar.
Know what it is that makes you unique and lean into it, no matter how weird it may seem. Forgettable
marketing makes for a forgettable company.
- Make decisions around strengths – RBG followed her instinct and chose a career that aligned with her strengths. When she struggled to find a job because of gender discrimination, she became a legal professor for a time. Eventually, she became the ACLU’s general counsel, then took a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals, and became a Supreme Court Justice in 1993, where she served until her death.
Know your strengths and build a strategy around those. Growth and expansion are good, but lead with
what you already know and can do well.