Philips logoPhilips (and their PR company) are awesome. The consumer electronics brand has really rallied behind online advocates – fans of the brand – engaging them in innovative and exciting ways to promote positive brand sentiment. I have been invited to events ranging from an ‘iron-off’ (which I was pretty darn good at) to last night’s poker evening at Movida in Sunninghill, all offering me an opportunity to sample Philip’s new products and meet the people behind the brand.

To promote their new range of mens and ladies shavers, Philips linked up with the very impressive and professional teambuilding outfit, The Poker Room, the brainchild of Cape Town entrepreneur Mark Bernberg.

I love poker. I started playing poker late last year, after my brother encouraged me to learn the game with ‘play money’ chips on a poker website. It didn’t take long to get hooked, and to cut a long story short poker is fast becoming my favourite sport (yes, I said sport) – and I’m not the only one. Millions of people the world over are falling in love with the highly strategic, thrilling game that is Texas Hold ‘Em No Limit poker – it is in fact the worlds fastest growing sport. Having graduated from it’s seedy roots and history poker is now ranked closer to it’s strategic equals – chess, backgammon and bridge – rather than slot machines and blackjack.

Recognising this trend and acknowledging the numerous analogies that can be drawn not just between poker and business, but poker and life, Mark’s business seeks to take the game of Texas Hold ‘Em poker to companies and brands in such a way as to help them understand just how critical it is to build relationships, understand people and leverage yourknowledge of those people in today’s economy – skills that are essential in poker too. From their site: “If good business is all about relationships, then let’s stop and think about the relationship. Any relationship is the simple interaction between two people. Therefore before attempting business interaction within any relationship; it’s in your interest to understand what that other person is thinking, and more importantly, how this thinking can affect the relationship. And this understanding is defined through the economic and financial principle of… Game Theory”

I was deeply impressed with The Poker Room’s ability to link their offering with Philip’s message, the professionalism of the staff and just how quickly newcomers to the game picked up on the sheer thrill of poker. Only negative side? I spent all of last night’s drive home thinking “now why didn’t I think of that!!?”