From mundane to magical with soulful branding


I recently received an unexpected invitation: to share the concept of soulful branding at a Kenya Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife conference! The title of my panel: “From mundane to magical.”

The first African Safari Summit brought together different stakeholders from the sector,to reimagine the African Safari. Players included government, hotel and lodge owners, tour operators and more. The ultimate goal? Over 4 million annual foreign tourist arrivals; over KES 1.14 trillion earned from tourism in 2030; and jobs provided for 3 million Kenyans.

I thought to myself – how progressive of the organisers to consider the power of soulful branding in this context!

To give you an example of how soulful branding can be applied in real life, I’m sharing what I prepared. 

From mundane to magical

I want to start with a personal story.

When I started out in business, I would take on all kinds of projects, regardless of whether or not I felt I resonated with them. I was trying to be all things to all people, mostly out of fear.

As a result, I was often not inspired by the work and this was reflected in the outcomes: me not producing as well as I knew I could.

When I started being more specific, discriminating and intentional, everything began to change for me. I attracted my dream clients. I also attracted amazing opportunities to grow my business, my personal brand and myself as a person.

I learned some very important things that I feel are relevant for this context of reimagining the African safari.

One of those things is the importance of finding your voice

It involves the following 4 things:

  1. Connecting with who you are – as people and as a brand

  2. Defining what you want to be known for and being as specific as possible about what that is. So, for example, wanting to be known for safaris is no longer enough. With so many countries in the region and beyond, offering safari experiences, what is Kenya’s distinguishing factor?

  3. Being clear about who you want to serve – who are your audiences? What are they like? What are their frustrations, aspirations and dreams?

  4. How can you serve them best? How can you alleviate those frustrations and fulfil those dreams?

In doing these 4 things, you naturally begin to set yourself apart from other countries.

This is the cornerstone of the theory behind what I refer to as soulful branding.

A big component of which is:

Embracing the power and place of emotion…

… when it comes to branding, marketing and business in general.

More than ever in today’s world, people connect with brands on an emotional level.

So that’s one of the questions I want to pose here today: how can we get people to connect with Brand Kenya – and the Kenyan safari – on an emotional level?

How can we use diversity as an opportunity?

The following are a few ideas:

Think about the diverse interest groups out there

What does the Kenyan safari have to offer the foodie? What does the Kenyan safari have to offer the environmentalist? What does the Kenyan safari have to offer the fashionista? What does the Kenyan safari have to offer the extreme sports lover? What does the Kenyan safari have to offer the astronomy enthusiast [one of my fellow panel members was Susan Murabana of The Travelling Telescopea social outreach enterprise dedicated to promoting social change using astronomy in Africa. Check out the exciting work they’re doing]?

It’s no longer just about bird-watchers and animal-lovers. Audiences are much more complex and they respond to people and brands who understand them. Identify people who represent and influence these niches. Talk to them and get to know them and their desires. See things through their eyes.

Discover how you can go from mundane to magical by appealing to their unique dreams.

Explore the diversity of experiences we have to offer

Take the time to explore and discover what these are.There are so many interesting things happening but many exist in silos.

You’ll be surprised how going from mundane to magical can be achieved in the simplest of ways. It’s often in the details! 

Match these experiences with the relevant niches

Invest in marketing and create rich content. Tell stories and inspire people’s imagination. Be relatable, authentic and facilitate connections.

Tell new stories AND old stories from new perspectives.

Use creativity to transform the mundane to the magical.

Leverage the power of digital technology, without neglecting the power of real-life experiences to “touch” audiences. Across Kenya, across our continent and across the world.

So how does this apply to you?

I know this is a very specific example. I share it with you to inspire you to think about how you can apply some of these ideas to your particular situation and brand.

Ultimately it’s about self-discovery, strong brand positioning, good customer profiling and authentic, creative content creation.

If you want to explore some of these tools further, in a process that is fun, enlightening and that you can come back to again and again, check out the Soulful Branding online course I run.

If you’re interested in hearing me share these concepts with your audience or your teams, I’m available for speaking engagements and workshops. Get in touch via [email protected]

Thanks to Levanter Africa for making this Africa Safari Summit opportunity possible!

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