Branding is the ‘it’ thing in today’s fast paced business world. A lot of companies are taking up the branding business.
But individual persons are seriously lagging behind when it comes to branding.
Musicians, actors, sports personalities and publicists alike have taken branding as a marketing tool and maintain a fan base, get more work and even rake in money by the millions through their own personal brands.
It’s all about imaging and marketing.
But very few people, if any, in Botswana consider branding themselves!
While attending an event recently where personal branding was the topic, a respected celebrity told the audience that she would not consider branding. The morning show presenter with a popular youth radio station who also hosts a magazine show on BTV, said she considered branding to be ‘egotistical’!
A few articles ago, I wrote about the state of celebrity culture in Botswana and questioned why Batswana in general fail to celebrate their own prominent, legendary and popular ‘Beyonces’.
I realise it has to do with these same achievers refusing celebrity status!
Why else would a highly regarded achiever not want anything to do with personal branding when, in fact, it could do wonders for their name, personality, profession and, of course, bank balance?
Celebrated Botswana poet and artiste, Andreatta Drea Chuma, on her Facebook status update wrote, “The kid asks ‘How do you maintain the Drea brand?’ I don’t. I am not a brand. Have a problem commodifying myself. That’s just me. Masks off, they’ll love or hate you anyway.”
Whether she was implying that by being a brand she would actually be a commodity or that branding makes you someone you are actually not, I don’t understand. “Masks off they’ll love or hate you anyway”?
However, it is not surprising the way Chuma is quick to declare that she is not a brand but “just me”.
When you talk personal branding, a lot of people are bound to get icky about it.
The baggage attached to it just overwhelms it, when you refer to yourself as a ‘brand’ people think you are bigheaded “o rata dilo” or even letting fame get to your head!
A lot of the ‘who is who’ of the world have websites, publicists to manage them, and a Facebook fan page, the likes of Trevor Noah, South African comedian and branded CEO of Cell C and Afro pop sensation Ntando Bangani have their own pages.
Connie Ferguson has her own fragrance range and Nhlanhla Nciza of Mafikizolo fame has her own clothing range.
Tema Tema a Business graduate and consultant believes that riding on the wave of branding can do wonders for one’s career and image alike; he regrets Botswana celebrities not taking it seriously.
“In other countries, celebrities have personal trainers and agents who help them on how to endorse their brands. People here do not understand the significance of personal branding,” he said “Here if someone puts a brand to their name, people quickly say o a claima; they don’t even want to understand first what your brand is.
He says artiste JujuBoy is doing well where branding is concerned.
“We never knew of artists putting up billboards to promote themselves here but he went that far, he advertises and his posters are very good,” adding that for one’s personal brand to have impact, it has to be matched with personality, image and standard.
“Don’t claim to be a superstar or business man and wear clothes that say nothing about who you are. Torn pants and sneakers won’t do much for a businessman,” he said.
However, other local celebs are slowly carving a niche for themselves in the business – the likes of Thato, Scar, Matlhabaphiri and Odirile Vee Sento have their own cellphone ranges.
Striking too is Mapetla with his dance show ‘shaya ma get down’.
Maybe Botswana celebrities won’t lag behind for long; we anticipate seeing Ms. Ramsden with a lip gloss range (she has the lips after all) or maybe fragrances by Charma girl!