• Sunday, May 26, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

From Nigeria to the world: The exportation of personal brands

Personal Brands, Track Records, and Heels

When Chinua Achebe wrote, “Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter,” we were not living in a time where information was a few button taps away, the world was a global village trading on solutions, there was an app for pretty much anything, and exports from Nigeria were no longer limited to mineral and agricultural products.

Today, the landscape is vastly different, yet that saying is as true now as it was then. Since technology came onboard and changed the business world, ideas and solutions are now precious, as are the talents that can bring them to life. Nigerian entrepreneurs that understand this have taken the pen to tell their own stories and, in the process, tell the Nigerian story.

First came the written stories. Articles, blogs, and books were the main ways these stories were told. The handful of people that had access to the radio and television used them, but the programmes hardly left Nigeria anyway.

Then the internet wave came, and with it came a myriad of channels through which our stories could be told. Where TV was limited to Nigrians who could afford it, Youtube could reach the world. Where radio had limited reach, podcasts could be heard on every continent. Where books were slow in reaching other countries, self published e-books were downloadable everywhere. Now that we had the means, we could show the world what we had to offer.

Personal branding, the process of sharing your authentic story and solutions in a way that adds value to the audience and builds trust in you, has come to stay. From creatives to entrepreneurs, professionals to social activists, young beginners to seasoned experts, Nigerians are changing the narrative one post at a time.

Nigerian entrepreneurs are ambassadors of Nigeria as much as any official diplomat. As they share the stories of building their companies, careers, and individual selves, they inevitably share Nigeria. They share what we eat, our school systems, our financial system, our politics, ideals, and traditions.

The world gets to see the spirit of Nigeria in the way you never give up, the intelligence in the way you educate yourself, the creativity, the ingenuity, and the grit. As a result, collaborations with other countries are becoming commonplace. Across industries, the Nigerian spirit is becoming a major player. By taking control of your narrative, you are weaving Nigerian culture into the global conversation.

Furthermore, the storytelling landscape has expanded exponentially. Partnerships with international platforms like Netflix and Prime have exported our stories. Nigerian entrepreneurs like Hilda Baci and Tunde Onakoya have created international buzz by sharing their journeys. Leaders like Tony Elumelu use their brands to build trust. Through captivating content and engaging videos, creators like Taaoma invite the world to witness the Nigerian experience firsthand.

The sooner we understand that our stories carry weight, not just as individual narratives but as reflections of a collective identity, the sooner we can take our places on the international scene. We must be conscious of the responsibility that comes with wielding the pen, knowing that each word penned or typed has the potential to shape perceptions, break down barriers, and pave the way for future generations to play on the global stage.

We all have pens. We should all write. Which brings us to the question: Where to begin? There’s a process.

-Know thyself:

Before you can share your story with the world, you must first understand it yourself. Take the time to reflect on your journey, your purpose, and what sets you apart. What experiences have shaped you? What challenges have you overcome? What are your passions and aspirations? By gaining clarity on your personal narrative, you lay the foundation for an authentic brand.

-Define your brand:

What do you want to be known for? What unique value do you bring to the table? Define your brand identity, from your mission statement to your visual aesthetics, and ensure that every aspect of your online presence reflects this narrative. Should any other team member be charged with creating it on your behalf, there will be no disparity.

-Choose your medium:

With a plethora of digital platforms at your disposal, it’s essential to choose the ones that best align with your brand and target audience. Whether it’s Instagram for visual storytelling, LinkedIn for professional networking, or YouTube for video content, select the platforms that allow you to showcase your strengths and reach your desired audience.

-Craft compelling content:

Content is king in personal branding, so invest time and effort into creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your audience. Share your expertise, share your insights, and share your story in a way that adds value.

-Build community:

Personal branding is also about building meaningful relationships. Engage with your audience and participate in conversations within your niche. By nurturing a loyal following, you can create a supportive network of like-minded individuals who will pass your message along.

-Stay consistent:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a personal brand. Stay consistent in your storytelling efforts, but also be willing to evolve and adapt as your journey unfolds. Don’t be afraid to pivot if necessary.

Getting intentional about owning your narrative and building digital real estate will exponentially increase your sphere of influence.

Paula Pwul is a Personal Branding Consultant and Founder, Afrocreate Digital, a personal branding agency.