Zihuatanejo.

Flashback to my favourite lesson in Secondary school – English. My teacher assigned us to watch The Shawshank Redemption, then write a coursework based on our interpretation of its meaning. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s about a man who was put in prison for a crime he did not commit. After being given a life sentence, he plans his escape. He hoped, he truly believed that he will escape. There is a scene in particular that strikes my heart. Andy explains to Red that hope is a good thing, and no good thing ever dies. Yet Red disagrees, and tells Andy that hope is a dangerous thing. Andy responds with, “get busy living, or get busy dying” and tells Red of his dream – Zihuatanejo. After Red is released, he goes on a treasure hunt to find hope. Finally they reconnect at the very city in Mexico.

All my life, I’ve been searching for Zihuatanejo, and having settled in Switzerland, I finally found it. It has views, it has happiness, it has it all. Zurich is my Zihuatanejo. From the lake, to smiles and positive energy floating everywhere. I left London for Switzerland, do I regret it … absolutely not. I needed a change, I needed a new challenge. I conquered London, from education to work. To conclude, never be institutionalised … adapt to change, with that being said, I am now content!

BRANDING – Part 5 – Swiss Made

Watches, they amaze me … and so does Switzerland. As a teen, I would visit my auntie with my brother every other year. Being a Londoner, I found the country strange. So many rules, from recycling to not being able to make noise after off-peak evening hours, or else face eviction from fellow Swiss neighbours. But all these rules is what makes the country boast an economy amongst the best in the World.

As a young university graduate, I wanted to know the secret to the “Swiss Made” formula. When you think of products from Switzerland, you think of luxury, advanced, tailored with precision – bold products with a high emphasis on quality, or QUALI+Y as I like to call it.

Let’s take watches as an example – there is three ingredients to a luxury Swiss watch: Design, Quality, and Typography. Design of course is critical, once your design is noticed by the masses and becomes in sync with the latest fashion trends, you’re onto a winner. Quality is obvious, but I bet typography raised your eyebrows. Yes, typography is the icing on the cake. If you look at all the biggest and most expensive brands, they all have unique typography, and they always mix it with another different font underneath. In graphic design this is called font pairing, or, fonts that marry with each other.

There you go people – the secret to a luxury brand is Design + Quality + Typography … thank me later!

HERO

My ethos on living life is as follows: Live life like your painting the most beautiful picture with every person that has helped you along the way, each one being a different colour – paint happiness!

If you can live life like a painting, then boy are you in for a surprise. Suddenly you enjoy everything around you, you radiate positive energy and trust me, it comes back to you – sometimes in ten folds. Learn to love, not just the one in your life but, love family, friends, music, food, dance, art … love everything.

I applaud happiness, I applaud a smile, I applaud generosity, I applaud my health, I applaud everything. Remember when you’re feeling down, think of those that don’t have food and water. Gratitude heals unhappiness, and the pilgrimage to true happiness begins with gratitude.

You see, you’re the hero of your story, so make it amazing! Polish life with positivity, condition life with hope, and create ripples of happiness. A pious man once said, smile – it’s charity … so the next random person you see, just smile.

 

BRANDING – Part 2

The first step to branding is engraving belief. If you don’t believe the potential your brand has, then who will? You see, the destiny of a brand should be affection and that begins with you. You have to be the first person who will love your brand, as love is a brands best friend. The quest of a brand is love, whilst destiny – affection, I said it once and I’ll say it again. However, an idea is simply just an idea, but then you must garden your brand until it blossoms. 

For a brand to flourish, it must indulge and act upon customer feedback. On another note, a brand that is nostalgic will always thrive. Remember, persistence is instrumental to a great vision and it’s down to you to carry your vision forward. The road to a successful brand is differentiation. To enjoy the cream, you must satisfy your customer, it’s that simple. Things will get tough, however a brand must find its silver lining. The most successful brands are fluent in loyalty, as the bounty of your brand is customer loyalty. To enhance your brand, you must protect customer loyalty, it’s the core of your brand value. The ultimate fortune for a brand is brand loyalty. Your brand should be centred with love and coated with loyalty. 

A brand will only blossom when its purpose is sincere, so you cannot make things up. You must be original and genuine. A vital part of branding is emotional branding, how consumers become emotionally attached to products or services – such as apple. Your brand must have the ability of changing peoples’ lives. Story, purpose and love are the perfect ingredients to stir an affectionate brand. Note, brands have feelings too – they need love just like flowers need the sun. 

To conclude, your brand should be modest in expectation and honest in strategy. Whereas employees must harvest your secrets for brand longevity. Every brand must carry a scent of creativity. Ideas ignite brands, but only critical action makes dreams come true. Words can be just words but they can also be a melody to your brand, so take the above advice however you want it, but just remember emotional branding, google it at least … it certainly changed my life.

PERSISTENCE

There is a recipe to success and it’s called persistence. However you must take calculated risks, don’t risk everything because you will actually loose everything. Everybody craves success, money or fame, but what they don’t understand is the struggle. The struggle is an ingredient to success, as success is not a straight road, there are many bumps, many holes and hurdles you must overcome.

One must first plant a seed with an idea, then harvest and water that idea until suddenly it slowly blossoms. And when it grows, it grows into a delicious product, whereby your customers can indulge, allowing you to relax and applaud your success. But to get to this stage, persistence must be your appetite. Plants wont grow unless you water them.

Persistence is truly the fuel to success, so don’t give up! You must be the action to pollinate dreams, bee, see what I did there. To conclude, dreams are just dreams without action. 

WORK

They say good things come to those who wait, I say “Good things come to those who Work.” Yes, we should hope and dream, but we must not sit and wait. If you have a dream, an ambition, a business plan – that’s just step 1 my friend. You see, everything creative starts with an idea, then come all the critical steps in achieving them.

Success is not a straight line, along the way there will be sacrifices. There will be many hurdles you must jump, but the finish line can only be reached if you carry on running – so don’t give up. Even if you have to work a boring 9 to 5, by all means do so. It would be great to have a mentor, but if you cannot find one, read books – autobiographies specifically. 

Carry on the good fight by continuously reminding yourself of where you want to be, be positive, and paint happiness. Paint happiness is a term I’ve coined, it simply means creating a picture in your everyday life, with each person you encounter daily being a unique colour. By using people as positive colours, you create this aura of optimism and thus your day will blossom. 

To conclude, I leave you with a short story from a man who managed the Spice Girls, David Beckham, Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray and many more. I was working in Harrods and this man casually dressed walked up to me and asked where the Paul Smith section was? I replied and said, “are you Simon Fuller” amazed he said, “how did you know.” I told him that I had seen only one picture on the internet and had read his autobiography. Anyway he purchased the shoes, and eager to get advice, I asked – What’s the key to success. He said, “don’t talk about, don’t even think about it – just do it!” 

GIVING BACK

I was always a quiet child, but a very emotional one. They say the most emotional people are the most creative & that is what I’m doing … giving back. 

My mother is a special woman and the majority will say the same about theirs alive (or sadly not at present) but remember, one day you will have kids of your own. 

Coming from a humble beginning to becoming a masters graduate is not my accomplishment, but Hers. To conclude, this website is a gift to her … for all the care, struggle & endless Love. 

This is 4umum.com

POSITIVE

A close friend of mine once told me to not over think, as according to her, “thinking can also be a disease.” Who was I to argue, since she along with her family had been coping with the death of their mother for several years.

There have been many occasions where I drift away and think, think even more, and think again. This affects the actual doing, you know the process that produces results … yeah that thing. There is a voice in all of us that says,  “no you’re no good, no you can’t do this, what will people say,” the list goes on. But ultimately, to achieve results one must ignore this type of thinking and actually do what is in sync with your destiny.

One day, my mum told me to do the dishes. She walked out the house and I went to look at the kitchen sink. It was full of plates, immediately I thought to myself that I’ll do it later. Hours went by and I would think, “mum will be back soon, I must wash those dishes.” But it was until I went spontaneously to the kitchen for a drink that I just did, without the lazy thinking, started to wash them one by one. 

In short, negative thinking will waste your energy, you must focus on your inner stillness that directs you to results. If you have trouble in finding your inner stillness, firstly ignore the negative voice and focus on sound much like transcendental meditation. If there happens to be no sound, listen to the sound of you breathing.

+hinking copy

EGO

We all have an ego, but Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now changed my life and I believe it can change yours. Our ego always wants to be associated with the past and the future whereas its ultimate enemy is the present. It is always trying to want more with future ambitions or think of the past. The ego is never happy, and our first step is to be aware of the ego, acknowledge that you are not the voice/the thinker but the one who is aware of it. Simply put, Tolle says, “knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom.”

The second step is to feel 100% in the present moment starting with the air you breathe, your physical form, and give everything to creating the best possible moment. Our mind is always trying to conclude and interpret, so when one becomes at ease with not knowing, you are going beyond the mind – says the acclaimed author.

The third step is surrender to the now, if you have trouble doing so just look at nature – how a flower or a tree adapts to the changing climate via the seasons. Surrender only arrives when you no longer ask “Why is this happening to me?”

To conclude, our ego is hungry for the past and eager for the future so the only way we can defeat it is by living in the present. 

STORIES

An irresistible brand contains a variety of ingredients, the main being its story. Some stories are timeless, others are nostalgic, whilst few are exceptional. In the very first page I wrote the following, “we believe that each brand has a story, if it doesn’t then this is a marketing crime,” so yes, I am very serious! One could say, a brands story is the melody to growth – a bold reminder of the past, influencing the present and its hope of the future.

We all know that without words there is no story, however without creativity there is no interest. Stories must also be simple to understand, so that they can be remembered and retold. In relation to branding, the message must be fundamental to the brands roots, defining its purpose and appeal to the masses. The challenge as a marketer arises when there is no story, much is the case with clients that have start ups. This is when creativity is tested, but there is always a seed to be found if you truly question the dots, then connect them to create a picture – mindfully.

To conclude, the human mind loves stories – from books, films, music, or real life experiences, everything has a story. Ever since we were old enough, stories have had an impact on us because we all have our own. That is the special thing and this also true with branding.

CREATIVITY

From my academic experience (amounting to 6 years) I have learned that being critical is not bad, unless when one is too critical then you ultimately doubt yourself. I am naturally creative and played the piano from an early age, so academic life taught me the other side, both of these were a blessing.

I came across Edward de Bono (considered by most a pioneer in creative thinking) and I learned through his lateral way that you can actually be creative in step by – critical-creative steps. I strongly believe this is a method for employees or entrepreneurs to live by, that is why … I always say,

be creativeact critical