The Big Idea.

A brand is an idea.

Ideas rule the world. This must be the biggest cliché. Everyone agrees that ideas rule the world but what do we really mean when we say ideas rule the world? The objective of this post is to unpack the concept of branding as well as demystify this highly nebulous concept (branding). Before that though, let us deal with the question of ideas. What is an idea? I will save the reader all the details relating to the etymology (origin) of the word. If you are interested in that, I recommend you go here. The human mind is like a production unit. Neurologically, the human brain is responsible for many-A-life processes in the body including thinking, learning, cognition, speech, movement/coordination as well as others. The human brain produces ideas. This process is called ideation. For the purpose of this presentation, let us think of an idea as a brain-child.

When we say that ideas rule the world, we are indeed saying a lot of things. We are not only alluding to the fact that every thing that we have become today as humans began with ideas. It is indeed true that everything ever made by man was first an idea. Today we ride in cars as against when we walked on bare foot and rode on beast of burdens. The transition between when we walked on bare foot and now that we ride in super intelligent cars is beautiful to consider. More beautiful still is the future which is nothing like the past nor the present. Cars are already flying. I recently heard of a scientist in my country (Nigeria) who is working on the idea for an amphibian car. Talk of James Bond. The founder of SpaceX who is also the co-founder of PayPal as well as the Chairman of Tesla Motors is Elon Musk. He (Elon) recently released a conceptual design for what would be the fifth mode of transportation. He calls it Hyperloop. With it, passengers will be able to journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco in record 35 minutes!. Today, that journey takes 6h, 45mins by car. Our world is a result of implemented ideas. The future of the world is equidistant to the ideas that will get implemented. Peter Thiel in his best selling book, Zero to One alludes to the power of idea to change the world as we know it to be. We literally move from Zero to One when a new viable idea is born.

Where do great ideas come from? If we agree that ideas rule the world and we have established howbeit simply that the human mind is an ideas machine, the question of where great ideas come from seem to be a rhetoric but it really isn’t. The human brain is not exclusive of the human reality. The Human brain is like any other computer that depends on the principle of Gabbage In, Gabbage Out (GIGO). The quality of ideas that is produced is determined in part by the processing capacity of the machine (the brain) and the quality of data received. In any case, there is often work to be done. The application of effort to produce results in essential. Genius as they say is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Branding stripped to bare. The word brand is from the Old Norse word (Brandr) which means “to burn”- recalling the practice of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products. The concept of branding is nebulous but fundamentally the idea (no pun intended) isn’t. I believe that a brand is principally a functional, sensorial, emotional and culturally relevant idea. The antidote to commoditisation is branding. It is what takes place when sellers seek to distinguish their product and that requires the creation and execution of ideas that help to set the product apart from others. It is what Seth Godin, the marketing guru refers to as Purple Cow typology. Stripping it to bare therefore, it is instructive to note and unequivocally so that the concept of branding is essentially one that conveys the aspiration of an entity to create something different. It is about creating things that resonate with people whatever that may be. A brand is not a product. A brand is not a company. It is not a logo and certainly not just an icon. A brand is an idea.

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Femi Oni A.K.A “Producer” is a Kingdom Diplomat, Strategist, Productivity Champion, Designer, Social Evangelist and Catalyst. Multi-industry experience and demonstrable skills spanning Financial Services (Investment Banking, Retail / Corporate Banking, Micro-finance and Insurance), Consumer Business, Supply Chain Management, Management Consulting and Social Enterprise; leading and participating in dozens of projects and initiatives for leading institutions. Femi's overarching vision is to build iconic brands out of Africa with a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) to mentor 1000 brands in Africa by 2025