branded to be better

Branded to be better

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” [1]

A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. For example, Coca Cola is the name of a brand make by a particular company. [2]The word branding began simply as a way to tell one person‘s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity — it affects the personality of a product, company or service. It is defined by a perception, good or bad, that your customers or prospects have about you.

As the festive season approaches so many devolutions occur. At the end we are left either being better or seeking to make amends of all that did not go well. At the fore front of all the efforts will be a quest to maintain a clean name (is there such a thing??).

As we grew up we associated ourselves with the best perception of things we desired. We read of how Bavaria Motor Works churned out only the best cars and because we believed the perceptions, every one of us desired to own a Bavaria. I have seen the same excited enthrallment in young boys when they talk about their dream cars – all out of perception.

We have grown to associate affluence with certain names to such an extent that no matter the suit might fit the wearer but as long as it does not carry our favourite label we can only round it off as drab.

We have grown to gauge and measure people by the scent of the perfume they are wearing, the badge on their shoes and the maker of their phones. We have become so good at associating symbols with attitude and at most times we miss the value of the people we meet because of the impressions we form about them because of the symbols we see on them or around them.

We have become slaves of artificial branding. We are so scared of delving deeper into each other and we seek to console ourselves by creating perceptions from the trinkets , fabrics , engines , ales and even the food that we see on our friends , family colleagues etc.

We are attracted to brands because of the lure of strength, quality, endurance, immortality etc. in brands we seek to fulfill what our human efforts have failed to achieve. In brands we seek an improvement which our own capacities have failed to avail. Yet again with all those brands we fail!!

The reason is simple. We should engineer a reverse process of branding. Instead of artificial accoutrements, we should thrive to derive inner qualities first.

When we thrive to be better  , more perceptive , more attentive , more understanding , more sensitive etc. we become a different brand , a brand that will outshine all accessories in the market. When we seek to bear the brand of peacemakers no amount of libel, military hardware or malicious intent will put us down.

The inner drive to succeed overpowers the strongest perfume brand and at the end of the day the drive will outlast the musk.

The inner quest to be better beats all the temporary buffets the world might deck in the name of pretences. A person who stands on his feet will outlast the one who rides on the shoulders of others.

The quest for a better brand starts with the inner person and a person who knows who they are and what they want to achieve is on the way to being a great brand.

As the sun rises, will the inner brand of striving to be better be copyrighted to your name and actions??

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the season of plenty

The good book has it that in the land of Egypt there was going to be a long stretch of famine. What intrigues me is that BEFORE that happened, two things happened.

• It was prophesied; and the prophecy never hid the aspect of how dreary the famine was going to be.

• Before the prophesied time came, there was a season of plenty.

Logic has it that in all occasions the scale is always balanced. It is however the skill (or the lack of) with which we handle the scales that determines whether we survive the famines or become statistics.

It is therefore my take that every season of plenty precedes a season of lack. It is also my take that every ounce of good that befalls us must be carefully handled with a view towards a needy day.

I have seen people blow away windfalls (is there such a thing?) only to be reduced to paupers the next morning. Tales are abound of some that met the windfalls in 1997 and sought to buy televisions for their cows and chicken meat for their scrawny dogs. The tales will tell you of people hiring convoys of meter taxis to go home , one ferrying the person , the other his shoes and the other his groceries. That was their season of plenty. Needless to say, the season of need struck and they had not even one cabbage head to fend off the menacing hunger.

Egypt had a season of abnormal plenty and it was not put to waste thanks to vision and shrewd planning. An abnormal bounty of one year went on to sustain a nation and its neighbours through a lame and painful seven years of famine.

It is thus my two pence advice that whatever plenty accrues in our name we must be able to manage it in anticipation of the season of lack. It is those who live with the understanding of both sides of the coin that will manage to survive scourges and have surplus to trade with the complicit who never saw it fit to make hay while the sun shone. Joseph eventually owned the whole of Egypt because he used the season of plenty to anticipate and plan for the season of need.

As the festive season nears, many of us will have ‘windfalls’. These are not lucky dribbles. They are a test of our ability to restrain ourselves, to avoid going on the impulse and to teach us to know how to balance the scales.

One that will find themselves with no fees for their children’s school would not be a victim of poverty, but of poor planning and lack of anticipation.

One that will find themselves without a roof over their head after failing to pay rent shall not be a victim of witchcraft but of indiscipline and rogue impulses.

If tomorrow were to bring you a season of plenty, I urge caution, discernment and discipline because every season of plenty has a season of need lurking.

01 December

The date has become symbolic. Every year the spin doctors coin a heart-rending theme and people march up and down the streets. For the next few days caution is the by word but by the time the loved ones come from long distances , diaspora and when the 13th cheque is cashed, caution goes through the window.

The date is a significant reminder. It is as good as the wake up alarm in the morning. It will ring but not take you off the bed. It will ring but you can punch snooze and go back to sleep. The alarm can ring and one can switch it off and go back to sleep. It would have played its role but one would not have gotten out of bed and gotten ready for the new day.01 December (World Aids Day) is as good as a ringing alarm.

The greater good comes from those who take heed of the wakeup call and do actually harken to its call. 01 December has become synonymous with red ribbons, freebie condoms, sob stories, political lip service and no serious practice. For eleven months we fill our tabloids with conduct contrary to 01 December, come the day, we wear somber faces and weep crocodile tears pledging to walk a straighter path from thereon (why does this remind me of a drunk who swears he will never touch beer only to gulp glasses of alcohol in a bid to quench a hangover headache?).

The date must not be a starting point, it should be a milestone, we should be celebrating the fidelity we have held since January, we should be celebrating the caution we have shown, we should be celebrating the strength and knowledge we have exercised.

Knowledge empowers, and knowing where you stand in this dimension gives the ability to make decisions from an informed point of view. We cannot afford to experiment using our offspring anymore (a colleague of mine used wait till his latest offspring turned 2 to declare that he was still ‘ok’) as guinea pigs to test our amenability to the scourge. Spouses can no longer afford to spread love laced with death. We cannot afford to be slaves to ignorance when knowledge is free.

On this day this blog is dedicated to all the brave and informed characters that have taken time to know their status, this goes to those who have soldiered on even when the worst was declared, this goes to those who have been supportive of such and once again power is derived from knowledge and one cannot govern or administrate in darkness (read ignorance).

01 December, the day of red ribbons, promises, speeches, candles, condoms etc. should be more than that. It should be a day of self-introspection.

As the sun rises tomorrow will you rise to the AIDS Day alarm?