Who is Ariho Kamara?
Ariho Kamara is a son, a brother, father to two amazing girls and husband to the most beautiful woman. I am also a Brand Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Author, Blogger and a Leader in Business, Church and the Community.
Can you talk about your book ‘Mind Your Brand’?
My book is a 100-day personal ‘brand devotional’ that seeks to intrigue the reader to become more deliberate about their thoughts since they are the foundation of any one’s personal brand. As you know that Thoughts becomeWords which trigger Actions that over time become Habits and these are the bedrock of Character and ultimately Destiny. In one sentence it is a book written to help you shift your mindset in 100 Days.
Why would anyone be interested in a book on branding now?
Oh well, my books are not written for – this is not for – anyone. I would say this book will interest only the people who think that Now is the time to start building their brand equity.
How important is branding to a business especially in Uganda?
Everything starts with a brand. Any business, individual or even government that doesn’t value branding is headed for oblivion. This is how important branding is: Take the telecoms, for example. Because of the power of branding, their entry into the financial sector was disruptive, to say the least. Because banking is trust driven, the low uptake of formal banking services can be attributed to a lack of trust in part. Convenience notwithstanding the reason people have run to the mobile banking services is largely because they trust the telecom companies more than they trust the formal banking sector. The rise of cryptocurrencies is because companies are trusted more than governments and this trust has been built by branding.
What are your thoughts about Ugandans, brands and branding in general?
At a national level, it goes without saying that the late Idi Amin is still possibly Uganda’s ‘struggling–brand’ export. Whenever Ugandans travel globally, they are often asked about Idi Amin by the ill-informed friends who have not heard much about Uganda. Because Ugandans have not been deliberately fed a new ‘national brand narrative’ they are sucked into the negative conversations about Uganda. Recently, while in Brussels, it took a spirited rebuke from a friend to realise I was really spewing unpatriotic verbiage discussing some of Uganda’s pet peeves.
Why have super brands failed to find a home in Uganda and are fast spreading their wings in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania?
As a friend of mine observed, we are a ‘Kadogo Economy!’
According to my friend, the 1986 liberation war was largely fought by ‘Kadogos’ (child soldiers) and the same approach has been brought to business. Everyone is looking to start their own ka-small ka-something for them. In the words of John Maxwell, one is too small a number to attain significance. We need to a paradigm shift in business in order to build ‘Super Brands’ like our neighbours in the East African Community.
What three things would you tell someone contemplating to start a company or organisations?
The three things would be simple:
- Focus on solving a problem the money will follow
- Start small, think big and commit to growth
- Partner and build a team.
Are brands about companies only?
A brand is not a product, not a person, not a corporation, a brand is simply an Idea. I deal with this more in the book, get a copy!
How can one make a living off their brand?
A brand is as strong as its values. The values anyone espouses as a brand are what will either attract or repel money. Today, with the help of social media, we have now have people that have huge demographic followings making a fortune as influencers. They wield such influence because of their brand affiliation.
Where can one find your book and what price?
My books are in all the major bookstores in Uganda at Shs30,000 per book. I am currently running a promotion where for Shs55,000 one can get both my books – ‘Live your Brand’ and ‘Grow Your Brand’. They are also on Amazon Kindle at $6.99.
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