Branding Is Not A Design - It is Your Value Proposition

Have you ever heard someone say? "Geez, I don't think I can do that because I don't want IT to interfere with my brand...." And then, you wonder...What the heck is this person's brand about anyway?...He he he.

I know we live in a fickle society where many have to FAKE IT - JUST TO MAKE IT. Where we have to show off, just to prove that we too have got it. It is so much easier to FIT IN & join the crowd. Do what everyone else is doing.

But it is also your responsibility to stand in your UNIQUENESS and challenge the myths of social tradition or ruffle the status quo.

Hence my New Signature Class - The (B)(R)(A)(G) VIP Masterclass (available for only 5 VIP's weekly)

In this media master class, I highlight the four major principles of the BRAG Factor™ for reaching your success goals.

So let's talk about the first one - B is for BRANDING. Yes branding is the ways you establish an image of who you are, or what your company is or product does. But it is also the way you communicate what you actually stand for and what differentiates you from others - both in a visual, practical and emotional way.

It is how you distinctively shape people’s perception of who you are and what your deal is.

The weird part of it all is that - With branding, what your tribe, customers, clients, followers, community or fans say about your brand is your market reality (not what you’d like them to think). Mostly because their thoughts about YOU is either based on an emotional feeling that you evoke in them or based on practical experiences they’ve had - coming in contact with you, your work or your product, good or bad.

So what impression pops into people's minds when they hear about you, your work or your business? Do you show up 100% Authentic - the real deal, or do you come off as a fraudster, a groupie or just another impostor trying to hustle them off their hard earned money?

Well...One of the toughest lines to walk - Is the wobbly line where the Brand is also the Individual.

In my own case - Alex Okoroji is a Person, But Alex Okoroji is also the Brand.

In other words, I am not an inanimate product, I am a real human being and in many cases, flawed with some imperfections.

How-ever way - I need to project an image of myself, I must remember to include my flaws in the equation. I am learning that I must create the kind of communication, that gives me the room to still make mistakes that are permissible. For anything that projects me as perfect will in the long run, do me more harm - than good, because I know that I'm not perfect, and I don't try to be.

Sure - I too know how to SLAY... I too have a glam team. I can choose to drive my Range Rover if I want, can create my own instagram picmix from the red carpet and I too can rock borrowed clothes from fashion designers and tag them on social media...

Wait - I too can own a website for every single day...Start a podcast for every topic- In fact host five of them, If I want... I can pretend to be a bestselling author, start my own blog because everyone else has one and produce my own blockbuster films, because I know a few money bags too and I can hang out with the cool kids with deep pockets, in Banana Island - and then chill with my celebrity lover on an Island - sipping "monkey business" in Seychelles and making front page news.

But that's not what real branding is about?

We are made to believe that branding is about the wrappings, the glamorous package. That it is solely about the luxurious PRESENTATION...the external design, the ribbons, the frills, the decoration, the colors, logos and the name tags - so much so, that many people focus all of their energy & resources on that and then forget to do the internal underground work of actually building themselves or scaling their products or service.

People sell that 'marketing' fallacy... And almost anyone seeking success falls for it - That's where I roll on the floor laughing.

Surely if you wrap up a sanitary towel like you will, a freshly baked bread - Yasss...the first set of people will buy it, but will they eat it and convince the rest of the world that your sanitary towel is now delicious wheat bread? C'mon na...Think again!

Do you think Coca-cola became FAMOUS simply because of its logo, colour, bottle, packaging or the advertising dollar?

Yes, Advertising works well, but the success of advertising depends on the message you are trying to send. In fact what advertising does - is try to effectively communicate your VALUE PROPOSITION, that is - if you have one.

Over the weekend, I committed a fashion crime. I re-rocked an outfit that I wore only two weeks ago to receive my Goodwill Award in Abuja - and then wore the same outfit to the African Movie Academy Awards 2017 few days later.

When I initially told my business manager, Victoria what I was going to do - She didn't seem too ecstatic about my decision - she reminded me of how I'm supposed to be one of the most influential women in the world...And how I needed to live up to that tag and the fame. Ha ha ha.

As the natural rebel that I am, I argued and mentioned how my fellow Influential Woman, Hillary Clinton would most probably wear her famous pant suits, I'd imagine that she doesn't have sleepless nights worrying about what new fancy sequined dinner gown, she will wear to an event. That being said, I understand Ms Victoria's intentions - after all, its her job to make sure I put my best foot forward in public, but it is also my responsibility to remember the core element that differentiates my own personal brand - believe me, when I say - It is not what I wear.

I'm not saying, we shouldn't care about how we look, Geez - I'm still a sexy woman who cares about her appearance...I'm just saying that if the investment we make is simply to influence other people's opinions of what we supposedly represent - then it is pointless.

I mean - You could dress to kill and people will still think you are a pretty airhead. Yikes!

And I refuse to be the kind of brand who fusses about such mundane things...(Ha ha ha...You can say I got away because it was a different crowd, or because I got to the event rather late....didn't even take red carpet photos...So some people might miss it. But I'm not ashamed to nail myself to the fashion cross).

In the entertainment industry - What I did is a sin, a crime... But who made it so?

Why should it be a crime for my brand to wear an outfit that I bought with my own hard earned money, more than once? After all, I wear the clothes, the clothes doesn't wear me. And what my brand represents, is certainly deeper than what I wear or do not wear.

Why should it even be a crime if facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg wears the same grey shirt or has 200 pieces of the same shirt? Why should it even matter if a celebrity always wears the same hairstyle or re-rocks their own clothes?

Surely, the average young celebrity or millennial woman would love to attract the "Perceived Lifestyle" of a Beyonce or a Kim Kadarshian... In their minds, looking seemingly successful is what branding is about. But I can bet my left breast, that in the confines of their designer walk-in closets - both "Slay Queens" - Beyonce & Kim deeply respect, admire and innately wish to have the statue and brand longevity of a "Hillary Clinton" or an "Oprah Winfrey" and it has nothing to do with how they look.

Think about this ....Would it matter if Hillary or Oprah put on weight, didn't wear expensive fancy shoes for a week, had a messy hair day doing social work in Uganda or forgot their fake eyelashes, their body shapers or make up contour?

Would they be less of a powerhouse brand?

Err...I doubt it - because what they stand for, represent or try to communicate about their brand value, is certainly not skin deep, surface based or tied to their physical assets, but the impact of the value, they bring to their community and the world at large.

It has me thinking of a woman, I have secretly come to admire - FELICE COHEN & one of my co-authors in the global anthology - I BARED MY CHEST who's famous video has over 17 Million views and hundreds of media interviews & publications about her 90 Square Feet Apartment in New York. To me she is the minimalist queen - The Brand Face for "Tiny House" or Tiny Living... Actually she promotes living LARGE but with little. Of course, she has moved up and bought her own home & doesn't live in that tiny apartment anymore - but her views & lifestyle carries on. And even though I am by no standard, a minimalist...I am learning everyday to merge the minimalist values from her award winning book "90 Lessons" with my bodacious personality.

Let me bring it home a bit and use one of Nigeria's Iconic Actor - RICHARD MOFE DAMIJO (RMD). It is so easy for the modern day actor in Africa or even aspiring artistes to think that RMD's Brand is a combination of how he looks or what he wears, instead of the decades of hard work and discipline he has put in to his craft. Unfortunately the media perpetuates that belief, when they promote more of his looks and fashion attires, instead of all the amazing mentoring he gives young people & peers on a daily basis - or his recent amazing performances in blockbuster films.

But - I honestly think it won't matter if RMD was an Actor, or became a Politician, it won't matter if he was a Lawyer, Writer, a Speaker, Coach, Pastor or just an Entrepreneur. It won't matter if he was wearing an Agbada, a ripped pair of jeans, a designer Tuxedo, Bathroom Slippers or a Pyjamas...Some people will make it look like it matters though - Of course, it is their job to feed off the grave insecurity of others and make money from it.

But in truth, it won't matter. It really won't matter if RMD spoke Queens English or Waffi Pidgin... Or if he was completely NAKED with a toned butt, washboard abs, a six pack or a one pack filled with a sac of potatoes in his mid-section. He he he.

He still will be serving us the RMD effect without even trying - because his brand is so much deeper than what is revealed on the outside. And that's why he remains relevant despite his career transitions.

Want to build your brand?...Don't build a brand on false extensions.

I see too many FAKE BRANDS. Yes. fake people calling themselves "brands" and I chuckle. Strip them NAKED - off all the fancy coverings & layerings, and watch them have nothing and BE absolutely nothing. The worst part is that in their brand elements - you can't even differentiate them from another. They seem to be a copy cat extension of someone else.

The smart people who create BRANDS know that creating differentiation is not about a logo, a website or social media pages. They understand that it is about creating an individual personality, an authentic background story, an effective message, and the right communication strategy or channels to elevate one's value proposition, not just the packaging.... The design is necessary - but it should only enhance the value you have to offer.

So when corporate brands seek ambassadors or celebrities for endorsements, we know its not about the individual but the perceived value they think the individual represents or will bring.

The question - I don't think they remember to ask themselves though, is - What exactly is "this value" this person will bring? How can we identify what they truly stand for, represent and measure the impact of their value, beyond the noise they make? Aha!

So when people ask me - Wow... Alex, how do you strengthen your brand?

I say determine what your brand represents and strive for more - More Impact, More Meaning.

Check what YOU stand for and make sure it resonates deeply and it stays consistent.

Make your brand deeper - than your physical assets...Make it deeper than your looks... Make it deeper than the products, goods or service you provide. Let your brand equate - not the product, but THE VALUE of the product.

Tie your brand to a real vision... To a universal goal, to a PURPOSE bigger than yourself... Tie it to a deeper universal message or to others creating meaning - because "Depth creates meaning". Meaning adds VALUE. And sustainable branding is really about VALUE.

Here's My Question for you -

1) How is your brand creating impact or adding value to the world today? 

2) How well do you communicate what YOU stand for??

LETS TALK: What do You THINK, Truth-Seekers? Feel free to EXPRESS your thoughts in the comment section. Better still, send me a FREE Voice Message and I'll respond.

To Your Success,
Stay Authentic & Keep Winning!


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