Growing up, I used to marvel at Richard Branson. He was the ultimate personality brand. He rose high above and carried his corporate brands with his devil may care, outback man image.
It was beautiful and the personality brand rubbed off his corporate brands and they interchangeably fed off each other.
Yesterday, I sent out a psuedo questionnaire to about 200 people and i asked a simple question.
Is Tony Elumelu’s growing agressive Brand swallowing brand UBA.
I got varied responses and if I am to take the responses from experts alone, I would say it evened out.
Some said his personal Brand was very positive to UBA others said it was choking the life out of UBA
A is a 30 year branding veteran who has worked on major brands in the country and who retired from one of the major telcos. Her position
I don’t think so, the Duke.
In actual fact, Tony has stepped aside from UBA for almost a decade.
Some millennials may not even associate him with the UBA brand.
He also straddles Transcorp and Heirs holdings.
UBA should step up its game.
T is a visual branding expert with more than a fair share of the market. This is what he has to say
I believe so. He seems to be aggressively trying to outdo, outshine and out maneuver himself (UBA). I agree completely. However, his style of branding is different from maybe AIG who although still works within the ACCESS framework, he subtly maneuvers so that what ever he does as an individual may not hurt the larger stake.
TEO and AIG are DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES. While Tony may covet the limelight and may actually be courting it, AIG lines the cerebral conversation and does his things in a very covert way but achieving great milestones. Different stories… Different folks. everybori dey dere own.
T pulls in AIg into the conversation. For me that is a different conversation all together.
Aig is positioned under thought leadership which sits very well with his personal imaging which is non threatening, demure and engaging.
His calm physical outlook perfectly aligns with his push for intellectual leadership in rebuilding the economy and society.
T seems to take an extreme view to the right on the matter as against A who is more positively inclined to the Tony Brand.
For T, the Tony brand seems to be sucking life away from the UBA brand, giving it no room to breathe and exhale. Further conversations with T strengthen s this his position and he remained unequivocal to the position.
Let me bring in N. N worked in UBA for years in branding and is presently working in the same position in one of the Elumelu’s businesses.
Let me quote him.
UBA has leveraged his personal brand for years. Of course, a time comes when everyone takes a step back to see whether it’s time to let that strategy rest. It has worked effectively this far, but I think UBA has come of age and other brands related to TOE should take over from UBA.
I agree UBA was big but the brand was dying at some point. GTBANK, Zenith, Intercontinental, Oceanic and co took over. I think he grew the brand significantly. I stand to be corrected. It will be interesting to know what would have become of UBA if STB didn’t acquire it. Would it have survived and grown as big as it currently is?
For N this is very positive as brand Tony for him is what is giving life to not only UBA but all the brands associated with him
TF former staff of STB and may be UBA joins the debate in a jocular fashion.
True ooo somehow. But me I don Taya for the man just posing upandan lol 😂 na my Oga before o no tell am
Ok so Tony has gone full circle in the last few years. Its very obvious that his imaging, branding and public demeanour are under very strict and deliberate guidance.
For me this removes the sophistication and the care free approach which should make it playfully sexy.
He comes accross like a pre Ukrainian Putin who used to send us images of him on horse back, with no shirt on or firing at shooting ranges or hiking or doing some suoer man type physical things.
That branding comes from a point of inate insecurity. So a deliberate attempt to mute the deficiencies and throw up aquired strengths must be thrown into the equation.
Tony has changed his wardrobe consultants. Now more trendy in his attires. His casuals are top notch but his suits and formal shoes still need some work.
His penchant for red socks on black suits with red ties seem tired to me but he can still push it for another may be one year anything outside of that he may start looking like a retired Nollywood star.
He has built a refreshing image on social media. His almost ‘fly on the wall’ engagement with the public is brilliant.
It shows a very successful Nigerian business man with very strong family ties enjoying the good life from all the hard work. Brilliant and engaging
However his push at the TOE Foundation looks very reluctant and self serving. Its almost like he cant wait to get back to the Idris Elba mode- jumping in and out of private planes and popping chest in the Gym.
His association with celebrities is shaky as he comes across as being effusive and glory seeking.
U see him wobble in their presence. Images of him and wizkid and Don Jazzy perfectly explains this.
He has the star struck look and allows them electrify his space which should be the other way round.
Now, how has UBA fared on all of this in my estimation?
Ill say very badly. I no longer feel the brand the way you feel the strength of an Access or GTB.
When you see Access, its a stand alone brand. It lives and breathes its imagery. It is beginning to emerge as a leading global brand as it is allowed the freedom to evolve and decide what it wants to be
UBA on the other side seems brittle. It has been watered down from that huge financial behemoth that screamed ‘wise men….. to an artery tied to the Tony mystique.
It is no longer in your face and most pple do not even remember it as a leading player in the space.
Its Leo has not caught fire. Tony has more IG followers than Leo.
I think the major problem is the Human Capital involved. If you interact with those managing the Tony Brand and with those managing the UBA brand you will see the problem.
The Tony Brand attracts and keeps very brilliant minds who have the freedom and respect of the principal to work.
On the otherside, the UBA people are constricted and limited in their engagment and this shows in the public positioning of the brand.
Tony has emerged a strong positive force. His branding is brilliant and he has suceeded in rebuilding the personal brand to International proportions especially with his well curated meetings with global leaders.
From findings, the two brands are supposed to be separate and disticnt. Moving towards different goals but feeding off each other in a beautiful marriage.
Is this the situation? The jury is out on this but for me, I simply think that the growing Tony personality brand is brilliant but it should be repositioned such that it will not look like it is sucking the life out of the UBA brand.
I think if you ask me, Nigeria needs the UBA brand much more cos of its contribution to the economy.
Duke of Shomolu