Transcript of my Inspirational session on Branding.
Delivered on Sunday, 23rd April, 2016
Delivered at RCCG, Christ Covenant Parish, Ilasa, Lagos.

INTRODUCTION
What is the biggest problem facing youths in Nigeria?
Since we all agree that unemployment is such a big issue, then we probably agree that if we have more Institutions and organizations to employ all our youths, there will be no unemployment. Right?
To answer, let’s take a closer look at our own habits and see if we can learn 1 or 2 things about branding.

GIFT
If I were to present you a gift, a simple shirt, one with the Nike logo, one without it, which one would you go for? Why? Same color, same size…..
Branding is the reason why you would pay almost any amount for that Nike shirt but not want to pay a penny for that logo-less shirt. Branding is the reason why some people get & switch jobs with ease whereas millions of Nigerians remain unemployed & are desperate for just about any job.

image
With some youths after the service

Starting today you are a brand.
You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Apple, GTB, Soyinka, Ronaldo and Oprah. Now, what went through your mind when I mentioned those names?
I have a question for you: pls write your answer in 20 secs
When your name is mentioned, what comes to mind?

If your answer wouldn’t light up the eyes of a prospective client or command a vote of confidence during your interview, or — worst of all — if it doesn’t grab you, it means you’re no different from the remaining 170 million Nigerians, and then you’ve got a big problem.

What branding is not
Branding is not just about beautiful packaging, it is also about brilliant content. In fact, a brand is not a brand until its content is rock solid and its packaging is wow!
Men, have you ever met a well-dressed lady who really caught your attention, only for you to hear her speak?

WHAT BRANDING IS
A brand is the idea of you that people connect with. By identifying your name, picture, smell or words associated with you.

YOUR BRAND = YOUR PERCEPTION BANK
When people encounter your name, they automatically conjure up impressions & memories that determine what they believe about you.

Their notions may be the result of communications you’ve had with people, or they may be the result of good or bad publicity
People may have a deep well of perceptions about you, or your slate may be free of any impressions whatsoever.

TRUE LOVE + MAGIC WAND
When you fall in love with what you do, people fall in love with you, because it’s easier to fall in love with someone who is already in love. If you’re in love and you’re branded, your partner is happily stuck with you, your customers are happily stuck with you because a great brand is the best magic wand.

THERE ARE ONLY 2 KINDS OF PEOPLE
Commodities: People who are hard to differentiate and easy to substitute.
Brands: People who are easy to differentiate and hard to substitute.

Brands are forged in the fire of purpose and sharpened by the saw of focus.

Don’t be a bench warmer in church, be active in a unit. Be proactive, be productive, be a brand.
You cannot have a regular ticket and be given VVIP treatment.

If you’re in a dirty public toilet, holding your phone in one hand, and some toilet roll in the other, and your toilet roll falls into the WC, will you pick it? Ok, what if it’s your phone?

So, when I hear people say things like ‘they don’t visit me’, they don’t care about me…I ask: who have you visited? What have you done to show you care?
It also applies at your place of work, everywhere. During my service year, I started a Multimedia unit at Royal Grace Chapel immediately I learnt the church had a projector but no expert handler.

Quit blaming your problems on the government or on some witches and wizards. Sometimes, it’s just you. How can you be in a place and not make things happen? How can you have an opportunity to lead a team or speak to your group and say you are shy?

NOTE:
Until somebody decides to brand something, it remains a COMMODITY. Until someone decides to brand himself, he is a NONENTITY. How did we used to buy salt before? How do we buy it now? What is the difference between Pure water and Bottled water?

Do you know that a lot of salt manufacturers went out of business because they failed to brand their salt? That’s what brands do: brands put commodities out of business.

TODAYS LABOUR MARKET
In 2014, 6.5 million youths applied for 4,000 jobs in the National Immigration recruitment scandal. Just recently, over 750,000 people applied for 10,000 jobs in the Police.
The Bible doesn’t say my people  perish for lack of a job, it says my people perish for lack of knowledge.
The competition is INTENSE to say the least.
You either fly or die. So, how do you fly?

BRAND YOURSELF IN 3 STEPS
“EXTRACT”
Get honest feedback about how you are perceived and what your professional reputation is. Define your Values, Passion, and Purpose.
John C. Maxwell once said ‘when purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable’
What would your colleagues say is your greatest strength?
Ask yourself: What do I do that I am most proud of?

HOW?
If you’re going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you’re proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.
Even Jesus extracted.
He asked his disciples ‘who do people say I am?’. Then He went a step further ‘who do you say I am?’

Every single person who left a legacy knew exactly who they were. From Martin Luther King to Obafemi Awolowo.

“EXPRESS”
Communicate your unique qualities to your target audience only. You are not sent to everybody.

Wrong product + Right audience = Rejection
Right product + Wrong audience = Frustration
Right product + Right audience = Right results
What do you think will happen when you have the wrong product in front of the wrong audience?

How to find your target audience:
What problem am I solving? Who has the problem? Where do they play? Are they willing to pay?

“EXUDE”
Reflect your brand in everything you do: your social media activities, office surroundings, your appearance. Before companies hire staff, they check their social media posts.

EXUDE with:
Business cards (digital/physical)
Branded CV
Portfolio

(It’s only God that does not judge our future based on our past/present. People judge our future based on our past/present)

Blog or website
LinkedIn profile
Facebook profile
Twitter profile
Wardrobe
(A well dressed person will always outshine a badly dressed person in the department of 1st impressions.
And you will never get a 2nd chance to make a good first impression)

Email address

2 KEY LAWS OF BRANDING
The law of contraction
A brand becomes stronger when you narrow its focus.
Most brands think the way to get bigger is to do more things: sell more products, offer more services blah blah blah. That’s falsehood at its highest! A brand gets stronger when it focuses on a few key things. Apple is definitely the best example here. Nokia is also a good case study.

If you can tell me all the models of Nokia phones ever made, I’ll give you a gift right now. Its confusing.

Almost 500 models of phones, 2 news phones per month. It’s a mess.
When you put your brand name on everything, that name loses its power. Look at Apple, just a few powerful products and they are the most valuable company on earth.
Anybody who tries to appeal to everybody ends up a nobody. And that’s a mess.

The Law of Publicity
The birth of a brand is achieved with Publicity, not advertising.
The best way to generate publicity is to do something different: something spanking new & remarkably hot!
The news media wants to talk about what’s new, what’s first and what’s hot, not what’s better. When your brand can make news, it has a chance to generate publicity.

What you say about yourself is advertising, what others say about you is publicity. Now, what others say about you is much more powerful than what you say about yourself. That’s why publicity is more effective than advertising.

NO JOBS?
I know you’re used to hearing that there are no jobs. The fact is that 23.9% of Nigeria’s entire population [a staggering 40.6 million Nigerians] are unemployed, but the fact is not necessarily the truth. The truth is there are no branded people to get the branded jobs.

Here is the average Nigerian graduate: He can’t write a simple letter, He can’t use Microsoft word, but He can abuse people on facebook. Now, how do you expect anyone or any organization to take such a person seriously?

The biggest problem facing Nigerian youths is not unemployment, it is unemployability. There are too many commoditized people and very few branded youths.

33 Sixty from Scotland selected me among the top 100 young leaders in the world, over 15,000 people applied. During my service year, 2540 corps members served in Kogi, only 10 won Merit awards. I was among the 10.

Now, if you don’t want your business to be a sorry story, if you don’t want to be rejected by employer after employer like super story, I have good news for you.

You blow away your competition when You’re branded
You wow your interviewers when you’re branded
You get your dream job when you’re branded
Your business booms when you’re branded
You get to the very top when you’re branded
You become a mega-super star when you’re branded

When you’re branded, you can never be stranded because you will be so demanded, companies will fight each other to give you the exact career you needed.

If you are excited about who you are and what you carry, and w

ill deploy the 3 steps and 2 laws of personal branding on your way to super success, get up on your feet right now.
We’ll do this just once. I’ll count 1-4, and at the count of 4, you’ll scream: Branded!
Ready?

Ogunbowale Olugbenga, C.E.O Epower (www.epowerempowers.com), is a vast ICT-trainer, brand strategist & nation builder who helps unemployed youths create high paying jobs.
In July 2015, He won the NYSC merit award in Kogi state. In March, He emerged as the Orator of the year. In November 2014, He won the Paradigm Initiative Nigeria digital-jobs contest. He is a fellow of DESPLAY Africa and a fellow of the League of Extraordinary Young people.

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