Lifestyle | October 10th, 2018

FAMU Grads Share How to Brand Yourself

By: A'nire Glenn
FAMU Grads Share How to Brand Yourself

Florida A&M students in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication met inside the SJGC lecture hall to hear branding points from a panel of FAMU grads who live as entrepreneurs.

“Your brand is a walking billboard of who you are. Nothing happens overnight. Your brand starts now,” Julie Griffith said, graduate of 1996.

As a child, Melissa Mitchell, CEO of Abeille Creations was told by her father, “He always told me, you are a brand. You are a walking billboard for your brand,” Mitchell said.

The founder and CEO of her public relations firm, j. griffith PR, Griffith included the importance of tenacity and consistency in branding.

“Content is queen. If you’re going to get into the social media game from a personal brand perspective, you have to be consistent. Either you’re going to do it all of the way, or, you’re not going to do it at all. One sure way to lose followers and lose credibility of your brand, your launch, your product, your service, whatever you’re doing is to be inconsistent,” Griffith said.

Another grad talked about incorporating social media, using it as leverage for branding.

“Use social media as your commercial,” Keisha Walker said. “Another cool thing about social media is that you can reach out to people and you don’t have to spend money to do it.”

Walker has her Master’s in Business Administration, nine years experience in corporate America and is the president and founder of Insights Marketing. A few of her clients include Verizon Wireless, Covergirl and Coca-Cola.

Before promoting a brand via social media or otherwise, Joey Womack finds brainstorming the solution to a problem essential.

“Nobody will care about your idea until it solves their problem,” Womack said. “As a people, we don’t do a good job on focusing on the right problems that make ourselves unique so that we stand out on social media.

Womack, a spring 2003 MBA graduate, is the CEO and founder of Goodie Nation, a company that focuses on reducing economic imbalance, poverty and misuse of reusable resources.

When branding, the panel all agreed that being an entrepreneur stems from realizing a niche, but also includes having a heartfelt passion. The grads emphasized being genuine and authentic with personal branding.

“My definition of a brand is of course being colorful, but, it is being fearless. It’s stepping outside of the lines. It’s being different. It’s being ok with my story and I’m always excited to share my perspective,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s fearlessness has landed her an opportunity with The Ford Motor Company as a finalist in the Ford & Essence Driving Her Dreams contest.

“I said I’m going to find something new. I’m going to find a way to wear my art. I’m going to find a way to sell my art. I’m going to find a way to have a platform for purpose,” Mitchell said. “Because I mixed motivation, art and fashion, I created a lane that wasn’t really normal for others. I said, I’m going to stop doing all of this research and become the research.”

Leading by passion is key, but branding requires planning as well.

“Have yourself mentally, spiritually and most important, financially ready to step out and be an entrepreneur,” Walker advised.

As the panel consistently spoke about preparation, dedication, fearlessness, resourcefulness and passion as the key elements the building blocks for branding.

“This was a great and inspirational panel. I really enjoyed their enthusiasm and insight,” Dominique Ross, a senior broadcast journalism student said.