Cocktails With — Kubi SpringerSaturday, June 20, 2015
We've become very familiar with the pixie-cut and go-getter attitude of the London, UK-born (of Guyanese-Jamaican parentage) international brand specialist Kubi Springer, through the various moving parts of the annual Caribbean Fashion Week (CFW) vehicle.
The broadcaster and SheBuildsBrands.com founder is back, for the 15th anniversary staging -- this time around, her expert gaze funnelled through a digital cam's viewfinder as she captured the runway, backstage, and front-row happenings inside the National Indoor Sports Centre as well as continuing to advise and inspire those sensible enough to recognise her genius at CFW off-shoot events such as its business forum.
We finally cut to the chase with the fearless Springer, under the multi-hued haze of production spotlights as rounds of virgin fruit cocktails became the mainstay of our VIP bar tab...
What are you sipping?
Cranberry juice; I'm non-alcoholic.
What are your beauty essentials?
L'Oreal Flush Lash Flutter Mascara and Mac Powder Press; team those with some lip gloss, and you are ready for any business meeting or television appearance.
Describe your personal style.
I would say it is corporate chic. As a brand specialist I like to be professional, but on-trend with my style. Nothing beats a Zara pencil dress and some four-inch Kurt Gieger heels!
What perfume are you spritzing?
Flower Bomb by Viktor & Rolf.
What's in rotation on your iPod?
Gospel artiste Marli Music, and the Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake song Love Never Felt So Good -- plus, Happy by Pharrell is my theme song for my radio show Business & Breakfast with Kubi Springer.
When a brand's reputation becomes tarnished for whatever reason, what factors determine whether a damage control fixer-upper will do or if it's time to abandon ship completely and start anew?
If the brand has strong history and equity in the market, then one shouldn't be so quick to jump ship. The focus should be on going back to what made that brand great, what the consumer base loved about that brand, then working out how to translate that in this digital global era where information is instantaneous, and social media dictates what happens. Brand equity takes years to build, so if you've been able to do that, then go back to the roots; go back to those intial core values; then use the communication tools at your disposal to be honest with your customers. Say 'hands up, we didn't do it right but now, we're gonna do it'.
In a business's infancy, should a brand be all things to all people when it comes to securing the bottomline, or should a niche focus be established from the get-go. Does this focus develop over time?
Start as you mean to go on. If out the gate, you become an all-things-to-all-people entity, then all you will do is confuse 'all the people'. You need to be very clear on who your target demographic is, which shouldn't fall outside an age span of 10 to 15 years. This demographic represents the people who actually purchase your product, and those are the people you should spend your advertising dollar on, in order to 'speak' to. If you are struggling with your direction, you have to have faith in your product and your propositions. You have to stick to your guns -- of course, backed up with quantitative and qualitative market research, which will include the stats around market trends. This information will reveal who your core demographic will be.
What are some of the common misconceptions about branding that you've come across?
That branding is a logo (laughs), or that branding is something that can be achieved overnight. I always remind my clients that brand-building is a process. Customers are not going to buy into you on Day One.
How does an individual reconcile their personal and business brands without a major conflict of interest?
The business persona of an entrepreneur and the person are two separate concepts, but they need to sit in harmony with one another. There needs to be cohesion between the two brand types because if a lie exists somewhere within that union it can only be buried for so long. Be honest; be real!
One of Oscar Wilde's many timeless adages is, 'Be yourself because everyone else is already taken.' What does that mean to you?
Amen, first of all! I think it means you need to be true to who you are. Every single one of us has a completely different thumbprint. Why would you want to be somebody else when God moulded you; perfected you in the womb. In my interpretation, the saying encourages us to play up our strengths and work on our weaknesses; to embrace and love who we are, and then to scream about it globally (laughs)!
Where do you go to unwind?
I love the beach. Whenever I can, I like to get away to somewhere warm (like, Jamaica) and chill by the sea. The ocean calms me, it settles my mind from the busyness of being an international brand consultant, mother and domestic partner. The endlessness of the ocean puts who I am into perspective -- it allows me to reflect and think.
Who or what inspires you?
God. As a Christian I am inspired every day by knowing that what I do is not my job, or my career, but my purpose. God's purpose for my life excites me and wakes me up every day with a love for life.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I will still be an international brand consultant assisting companies to turn their brands into a commercial success, I am currently working in Asia, North America and the Caribbean. I see myself expanding my international résumé with projects in Latin America, India and Africa -- making me truly global. I also see SheBuildsBrands.com gaining momentum as an online media hub that provides inspirational tools for professionals and entrepreneurs, helping them to take their dreams to the next level. My television programme The Kubi Springer Show will be syndicated across international television networks and my radio show podcasts will be available in multiple languages.
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