The New Age of Branding


Your average guru whether it’s your orthodontist, astrophysicist or entrepreneur are now the face of their company or services. Because of social media, consumers want to see whom they are connecting with, whom they will pay their hard earn money to.  Corporations want to know if you bring value to their company, other than talent or smarts of course, because the harsh reality is, popularity contest doesn’t require either or.  We can blame rappers and their CEOs for being marketing darlings in the 90’s onward. One that sold nothing that had to do with what they were originally known for. If you haven’t been living under the rock, you’d know that it’s all about the lifestyle baby. 

I’ve learned from the best: Cornerstone Promotions in New York City. They were responsible for the Obey Your Thirst Sprite campaign in the late 90’s which paired soft drinks to hip-hop. I watched the inception of Fader Magazine, the way DJs were bridging with labels with a monthly promotional “mixtape”. It was the maven of what we see everyday on Instagram, with randoms selling Tummy Teas or Fashion Novas.  I thought to myself, there’s no stopping. This is the now and the future.  Will.I.Am isn’t worried about a new Black Eyed Peas record and Pharrell has gone to curate collaborations with AdidasRihanna is chilling with her Fenty anything.  Despite having little talent, Melanie Brown of the Spice Girls can now bank a huge check by judging actual real talents. Shaquille O’neal and Snoop can be DJ’s even though, nobody cares about their amateurish DJ skills.  Even non-celebrities like you and me were able to turn their life around, using the internet as a platform,  became an influencer like Desi Perkins to Zach King to Lele Pons to Matthew A Cherry whom parlayed their way into lucrative deals.  Keyword: visibility.  They took control of their own destiny, did not wait for anybody’s permission, and just like that: built their own leverage. So I asked myself….Why not me? 

This is the reason why, I finally decided to put in an effort into my own branding. From fashion to my behind-the-scenes as a creative to sharing my thoughts and know-how.  For a long time, I shied away from being the narcissistic type, believing that my talent alone would suffice in this world, but realized this was the only way to be relevant in this age.  I was 95 lbs at 18, I am now 147 lbs which wasn’t making me feel attractive.  But I shook that off because so what if my body evolved?  Marilyn Monroe went from 118 lbs to 140 lbs but is still the most iconic figure in Hollywood.  I am back in the gym and will be 20-30 lbs lighter soon enough and I am okay with the way I look now.  If Chris Pratt can lose 60 lbs in 6 months, I can lose a fraction of that in no time.  Off I went to a Pat McGrath x Laura Mercier’s demo at Sephora today in which I ended up serving as their face model, picked up some clothing from Forever 21, then proceeded with my selfie rooftop photoshoot using my iPhone. Et Voilå! 

AND. Just like that. Two brands, which I’m pretty sure are connected somehow based on the similar styling of the comments, were interested in collaborating.  Just to show you the power of social media where you’ll be able to push your career to the next level via branding. Who knows what’s next? Maybe I’ll garner national campaigns, future branding collaborations, which may build a following to get them interested in….. my filmmaking, music, and photography. Funny how things are backwards. To answer to why I’ve decided to self-time my selfies? Because just like a compliment, it looks better when somebody else does it.  Although, when you DIY, you can rely on your plans to happen and take as much time to get the best shot to your likings.  It may at times be challenging but the rewards are satisfying.  

At this point….Why Not? What are your thoughts on this?

Make-up by Kate Williams of Pat McGrath Cosmetics and Laura Mercier.

Clothing by Forever 21.