As a brand speaker who goes to corporate and other non-governmental organisations inspiring people on the importance of personal and nation branding, I am always obligated to answer the question about what branding is and what value can one’s brand bring to society. A Ghanaian friend of mine, Bernard Kalvin Clive, defines it as “the combination of one’s skills and potential, which produces value and perception in the minds of others.” I want you to take particular notice of the keywords “SKILLS”, “POTENTIAL”, “VALUE”, “PERCEPTION”, and “MINDS”. In your journey as a young person, what will determine the value that you are supposed to bring to society is solely dependent on your skills and potential, whether obtained from formal education or from birth.
Every one of us is a brand in our society, and we are supposed to model our individual brands in a manner that the people in our community, school and workplace will benefit from the value that comes with your brand promise. If you have a desire to build and become a compelling unique brand in your community and/or workplace but you do not know where to start, here are a few tips to get you started.
Brand life starts with having a clear sense of vision. All the icons such as Nelson Mandela, Michael Jordan and Cassper Nyovest became who they are today because they had a clear sense of vision. What is that one thing that you want to achieve in your society, workplace and organisation? What is it that you will not mind doing whether you get paid for it or not? Lock yourself in your closet and answer these questions because this will determine whether you will be a person of value or not. My personal vision is clear and is to “INSPIRE LIVES AND BUILD BRANDS FOR EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE”. In everything that you do, you need to have a clear sense of vision and this is what the world, employers and potential customers are looking for from you. Localise Your Vision Once you have defined your role in society, you need to implement your vision right away in order to bring value. How do you this? By telling the person next to you what your role is and what you are good at. Often, people think branding is about putting yourself out there to the world, but branding starts with the people within your immediate sphere of influence – in your community, workplace and organisation. Once these people know what your role is and what you can do, they will begin to share your role with others. This is how value is added in society and the most famous icons that we know about today started with playing a role in their immediate surroundings in order to become people of value.
Clearly Communicate Your Brand
The things that you do automatically build a brand whether you’re aware of it or not. Once you have defined your role in society and told people about it, it is important to keep communicating your brand
consistently to grow your sphere of influence and market. There are many platforms available today for building your personal brand, especially social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The important thing to remember when utilising these platforms is to always be consistent in your messaging so that people can start recognising you. The challenge we have with many young people out there is that they want to be all over the show at once. Many want to become the jack of all trades, but in today’s world we are looking for specialists who know what they are doing. Also note that it takes years to build a brand and just a second to destroy it. Always be careful about what you are posting as just one bad picture could destroy all your hard work.
Commit to excellence
Consciously building your brand means being aware of the content and messages that you are putting out to people. When you commit to excellence, you must commit in both word and action. It is not enough to do excellent work but when you advertise it, you make spelling mistakes or your messages are unclear. Big companies such as Adidas and Nivea spend millions of dollars to make sure that the messages they send out to the world are 100% correct. Similarly, you need to treat yourself like a million-dollar product and make sure that your messages are correct and consistent. And if you are unable to do this yourself, then you must find someone to assist you with it.