The big branding question is, who has it and who doesn’t?

Updated on 5 June 2014

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The big branding question is, who has it and who doesn't? After a number of years as a serial marketing entrepreneur and working with many brands from start-ups to multinationals, I’ve often asked myself the question: why do others get ahead and others don’t? After very little deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that some people are naturals or professionals at personal branding within a market place whether it’s a local township, a neighbourhood, a town or a city, even on a national or international scale.

It is essential for a business to solve a specific problem and have a unique selling point, this together with a creating a product and corporate branding.

One of the most overlooked areas in business is the personal branding of internal stakeholders including owners, directors, employees etc, within a specific market place, and the key value that they add to the business’s reputation in its service offering.

The credibility of the people working on the business is key to the overall reputation of the company and I would recommend the following as key areas of personal branding:

  • Industry association and involvement: Major players in any industry continually drive the policies and agendas for development and innovation within the sector. It is important for a company to contribute to the development of skills in order to sustain the viability of the industry even in small ways.

    “As the business owner – you are the brand that propels your business”

  • Public Relations: Many entrepreneurs are shy about telling their success stories and this limits their possibilities. The best person to tell your story is you, so engage platforms or people about your course and actively search for the many opportunities out there targeting SMEs for exposure.
  • Location. Location. Location: There are many trends emerging in various industries with regards to where your business should operate, however its important that one achieve the tone, facilities, company culture, area and freshness which are in line with the  image portrayed by the business in all areas including your profile, business cards etc. Consistency in all forms builds trust within many relationships.
  • Thought Leadership:  There are many opportunities in all industries for you to be a major champion on a particular subject matter in your field. Many industries either don’t have a champion or the major players are just too busy to pay attention.
  • The promotion of other people and assisting people and organisations to be great: Many people need assistance. People like people that help others. The bigger the platform, the better, this creates change and adds value at the same time.

In conclusion, I have simply learnt that as the business owner – you are the brand that propels your business and corporate brand and it’s a disadvantage if one is under performing. So next time you refuse a major or small opportunity to sell your business, ask yourself what is the true cost of that opportunity to you.

Let’s do great things!

About the author: Karabo Songo is the Group founder and MD of Olive Communications, a full-service strategic communications agency. He is passionate about building innovative marketing businesses and brands within Africa with a difference and grow entities into profitable assets for shareholders.  Follow him at  on Twitter @ mr_k_s.

This is Karabo Songo’s first column, in what will be a series of monthly contributions. He will be writing on branding, marketing and advertising. 

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