Don’t take shortcuts, follow the process

Personal branding maestro, Timothy Maurice Webster, continues to ascend with his latest book Brand Intelligence and his show on CNBC Africa, Inside Her C-Suite.

Main Photo: Victor Dlamini
By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti

Timothy is no doubt a very influential personal branding expert. With three best selling books under his sleeve, successful columns on The Star and Destiny , his shows on Cliff central and CNBC Africa, his work continues to be in rotation across all media platforms.

“The main intention of my work is still to get people to see that there is an internal force that sustains any external appearance,” he explains.

“I want to show that there are many dimensions of our identity and it’s important to explore the fundamentals which are our values, spirituality and mind-set as well as how we translate, appear and behave in public.

People’s ideas inspire me a lot and I can only learn about them through dialoguing.

I meet the busy branding maverick at Xclusive books in Hyde Park and he easily sticks out in his immaculately cut suit and button up white shirt. As we sit in deep dialogue a few book shoppers greet him and are always met with a hospitable smile and nod.  Even as one of the most recognisable faces in media he admits that he finds most of his inspiration in dialoguing.

“People’s ideas inspire me a lot and I can only learn about them through dialoguing,” he adds.

The american born author released his fourth book titled Brand Intelligence last year continuing his successful trail as an author on personal branding. His other books include Thinking About You (2003), Personovation (2006) and Soul to Sole (2013). He cites the ever evolving world as the biggest influence on all his works which enables his books to always have a deep resonance with the public.

“I wrote my first book Thinking about You after looking at how the world looks at our image and how our image can be a tool to influence our place in society. By 2010 I had outgrown the person who focused solely on the outside and I was now the guy who focuses more on the mind-set.

Then came  the book Personovation which was about what does one do when they have outgrown their old self. How do they reposition their newly found new value or narrative? My third was looking at authenticity. That was in 2013 when the world was still grappling with authenticity with social media becoming a huge part of our lives. And my recent book focuses on intelligence and personal brand intelligence,” he explains.

We are in a very agitated space and our nature of consuming more is restricted.

He links the four to his observations on social, political, individual and critical thinking which heralds him to spark conversations with his readers about their experiences globally.

While he is famous as a speaker on branding, Timothy reveals that his work is more about the human mind. This is evident in his passion when he speaks about the psychological issues that are currently facing the world due to the current economical and political strife. He shares that our current state of collective consciousness is driven by fear and uncertainty.

“We are in a very agitated space and our nature of consuming more is restricted,” he elaborates.

“We are living as though we still in the 90s, where there was a boom period but now we are restricted. So there is hyper aggression, hyper sensitivity, anxiety that produces all sorts’ mental turmoil.”

Some people are very content with not being known and being known only by their family, friends, community and colleagues. And that is also great as long as the storyline of your brand has impact and value.

But coming back to branding, Timothy is also outspoken about the influence of the global phenomenal,which is social media, and how its impacting on personal branding for young people. Timothy states that one of the misconceptions that comes with  the platform is that one needs to have millions of followers to have a successful brand.

“It’s important to know that it depends on us how many stakeholders we want to reach with our brands. Some people are very content with not being known and being known only by their family, friends, community and colleagues. And that is also great as long as the storyline of your brand has impact and value.”

He also adds that with the rise of Reality TV shows and social media the fundamental process seems to be undervalued. This has seen many young people chasing instant success and fame. Timothy advises young people to follow the proper process while taking chances on the platform so as to ensure longevity.

“By following process I mean creating a proper plan, being clear about your long-term goals and adopting a system that can help you sustain what you are doing,” he says.

By taking shortcuts you make yourself vulnerable and you are going to be highly susceptible to a lot of mental challenges.

One of the concerns for Timothy is that this urge for instant success can be quite an unnecessary health hazard. “By taking shortcuts you make yourself vulnerable and you are going to be highly susceptible to a lot of mental challenges. You are going to expose yourself to pain and heartache that was completely unnecessary.” he adds.

With many years of success as a brand specialist and easily moving across all media platforms, Timothy insists that his work still inspires him. He names his TV show, which profiles successful women in Africa, Inside Her C-Suite, as being a great tool for sharing more inspiring ideas with the world.

“On the show I get the chance to listen and it’s so rewarding. I am always thinking of how to have conversations that can offer insights and new tools to help knock down some of the barriers and the walls that people have to confront,” he says.

And to leave a piece of advice to young people still climbing trying to mold their brands, he insists on them following the process. “We need to seriously reduce the dreaming and hoping mentality.

We need to create a plan, follow it through and then hope,” he laughs.

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