Branding is Perception.
It’s what you want people to think of or believe about you. Branding (packaging) is you showing what you want people to believe. Now, as Tolu (a friend I engaged with on an intellectual conversation) and I discussed, there is a thin line between Branding (packaging) and lying. The simple difference is the “work”.
When you continually portray yourself as something, but you are not doing the actual work of what you portray yourself as, behind the scenes, you are lying. People might believe what you are portraying and take you as such, but deep down, you are liar. And it’s only a matter of time before you are found out.
On the other hand, when you do the actual thing you portray yourself as, that’s Branding. Branding is Perception.
You have a Personal brand, either you like it or not. Most of us don’t realise that what we do and post daily is what culminates in our Personal brand. Orifunke once tweeted, asking that “what do you know me for?” (Paraphrased). I replied, “Networking”. Because I have seen her as one who goes out, meet people, connect, be a part of moments. I haven’t met her before, never seen her, in fact, only heard of her some months ago. But, I have a perception of her, through her daily posting.
We don’t realise that the comments we make, the reactions, the posts, the uploads, everything culminates in how people see us in the long run.
For instance, I dated for 7 months last year. But because I kept posting and talking about laptop, Google assistant, God When, etc. Many till now would argue that Oludamola never dated anyone. He’s stuck to computer. Branding is Perception, make-believe.
Branding is what you want people to believe about you. I am always stuck with system, and I post constantly about that. Because it was consistent, many think I never dated. (Fam, there are 24 hours in the day, I still have ample time for loved one, which I may or may not post about). Many didn’t even know Timini has a girlfriend till he finally let the cat outta the bag. Sorry ladies, I feel your pain.
You want people to see you as Professional? Post stuff that tells that story. Note, however, that it will be you lying, if you post about being professional, but don’t act the part behind the scenes. It is Branding when you show it to us, and it is who you actually are. Because if it’s not who you actually are, it’s only a matter of time before you are found out.
An example is Cregital. Top Nigerian brand. Ask any creative that knows the brand, they’d at least tell you that Cregital is a company that focuses on Collaborative work. Which is true. They actually do focus on that.
Branding is make-believe. What you want people to believe about you, consistently talk and post about it. But, make sure you are doing the actual work so that you wouldn’t be a fraud.
Like Seth Godin said, Authenticity is simply Consistency. It’s not just about doing the random things you want, that’s not being authentic (that’s a kid’s lifestyle). It is about consistently being conscious of what you do and post about. Selectively passing a particular message, doing the work, and people see you as such.
Orifunke is known for personal branding because she continuously raves about that, and continuously does her personal branding and development. Wondering how I know? If she wasn’t doing the work, she would have been found out by at least a couple persons.
You cant lie for so long. You can’t. I saw an entrepreneur say, don’t be scared that they copy your creativity. If they do, create something unique again. If they copy again, create again. Keep creating, they can’t copy (live the lie) forever.
That’s why you will never hear of Facebook’s clone of TikTok. Why? TikTok is the original, and while Facebook tried to copy, they couldn’t keep up with the innovations of TikTok.
And just like Seth Godin said in that interview, you can change the story you tell. It’s very easy. You don’t want people to perceive you in a particular light again? Simply switch. Whoever will follow will follow, you’d gain new audience and connect with new people as far as you are Authentic (consistently doing your selected image).
You want people to see you as a creative? Keep creating. You want people to answer their friends who ask about you, and say “oh, I know him, he is a writer”, then keep writing. Many know me as a Storyteller, because I keep telling stories (either in fiction, poems, or WhatsApp status caption).
Branding is Perception. Branding is Storytelling. Branding is Authenticity. Branding is everything.
You own a business, brand it, tell a consistent story. Even you as an individual, you want your potential employer to see you as someone who is employable, takes initiative, supportive, etc. Act the part.
For instance, in BlackPen NG, I know those that can take initiative, I know those that just wanna abide by given tasks, I know those like to explore. So, I relate with them as such. Whichever way you want your boss to see you, decide, switch and act the part. Note, don’t pretend, you will be found out sooner or later.
I wish I could stop here. But, I want to make an analogy of Ronaldo and Messi. Ronaldo constantly posts about being an Hardworker. He wants people to see him as such, and he posts. But, he actually does the work. He doesn’t just take 30 seconds video, and post then go to sleep. No, he actually works the workout. That’s why he has been able to stay on top for 15 years. I respect him, though I’m a Messi Stan. He brands himself as an Hard Core Worker, which many players close has testified to. He does the hard work
Messi on the other hand doesn’t post about such, cos he is not particular about proving that he’s an hard worker. But does this mean he doesn’t work hard? No. Clips you will never find on his page, while he trains free kicks with robots, will tell all you need to know. He wants you to see him as someone who takes life easy, and that’s what he posts on his page.
Remember, there are 24 hours in a day. He works hard for hours, doesn’t post, he has fun with family for hours, he posts. That’s why many think he doesn’t work as hard as Ronaldo does. Whatever you want to believe though.
Fam, it’s all make-believe. Think about yourself. What do you want people to know you as. Even if you don’t have a business. You are a brand yourself. What you post on your status matters. Daily activities leave footprint in the minds of people.
You may say you don’t care what they see you as, but remember, no one is an island. You are going to relate with people to make money. Except if you are planning to carry out your own Money Heist. You will have team of Abuja, Lagos, Ado, Denver (I like him, but sometimes …) Ondo (Amma proud egin).
Bottomline; your brand matters, our perception of you matters, be conscious about it. Do same for your business if you have one. That’s why I’m going back to the drawing board with my team, to revisit our branding for the long term. No longer a student brand, we are a Nigerian Startup in the Creative, Tech and Content Space.
By the way, This “Branding” thought came to my mind as I was mopping the floor of my kitchen. I don’t want people to see me as someone who doesn’t know how to cook anymore. So, I’m doing the work needed to take on the habit of kitchen life. Why? Cos, I will portray myself as that soon. It’s my choice.
Branding for business may be harder, it’s a business. Talk to me, let my team of Creatives help you tell the consistent stories that sell. Like Teniola would say, “Be Much More.”
If you found this post helpful, don’t be selfish, share it with your friends. Which medium you are reading this, click the RT, like, share, forward buttons. Love your neighbor as yourself.
P.S: Forgive me if you find any American word usage style in this writing. It’s my chosen style. Used to it now.