I had this great opportunity to have a phone interview with the Brand Manager of Canada’s CandyBox Marketing, Mahfuz Chowdhury. We talked a lot about the importance of branding and how important it is to build your personal brand now even no one’s paying you to do it. It will be significant in your personal growth and it can also help you have a portfolio item when you want to jumpstart a career.
He’s the author of the bestselling book Project Reinvention: The Social Timeline of a Millennial. A self-motivated marketer who also spends some of his time doing this podcast Ride with Me which talks a lot about personal branding and motivation.
He graduated from Sheridan College 2 years ago, and I first met him at a Digital Marketing Conference held at Sheridan College.
He’s the man who stepped out his comfort zone and didn’t let his difficult circumstance in life define what’s his life’s going to be. May his story and advice inspire the one reading this to start building their personal brand NOW.
I tried to transcribe my Q & A phone interview with him in the best way I can so I hope you guys enjoy it.
Thank you so much for this opportunity you’ve given me to ask you few questions which aim to motivate people, especially students, to jumpstart on the career of their choice.
You work as a Brand Manager for Candybox Marketing, and branding identity is one of the most important aspects in this business. Why is branding significant and how do you find a brand’s voice?
“Ask yourself, WHO DO YOU WANT THE WORLD TO SEE US AS when they think about Candybox Marketing. For other companies, WHO DO THEY WANT PEOPLE TO SEE THEM AS when they think about the company name. And it actually become what their brand identity is.”
I think what’s important to identify is, if a company doesn’t have a brand identity, then everybody is kind of speaking a different language to their customers.
And you could imagine if someone has multiple personalities and you’re interacting with them, you don’t quite know who they really are because every single time you talk to them, they give you something new, they give you something different. Sometimes they’re energetic, loud, and rebellious. Sometimes they’re quiet, calm, and serious, and based on those, you don’t actually know how to define it.
Think of companies like apple, they have positioned themselves to be very innovative, always challenging the status quo, always something different, but they’ve consistently done that, everything from their advertising, to their branding, to their speaking events, to the products they released, everything always reiterates to being innovative and challenging the status quo. If someone that they hired all of a sudden started putting products that are old fashioned, not good quality, and cheap, all of a sudden it would ruin their image.
Since we talked a lot about brand identity, what’s your take on the people who still don’t know what to do, what business they want to start with, what path they want to take? Do you think personal branding is part of brand identity?
“100 %, I think that even if you don’t know what you want to do right now, if you spend your time building your personal brand right now, even if you don’t know what your job’s going to be, I think it’s going to help you with more options down the road.
“There are so many things that you can do if you just spend time on your personal brand now… It helps that you build your branding now, even it’s just for yourself, because then you can apply it to other businesses. “
Can you tell me about the unique challenges you’ve encountered as a Brand Manager recently. What is the most rewarding thing about it?
…”When I first fell in love with Marketing, it’s mainly about the creativity of it, so a big part of my transition is to be able to be more creative.
The biggest challenge I see a lot with companies on branding is the ability to make sure that the people who joined in later, are still aware of who you are as a brand…
So my biggest challenge right now is how do we create a system internally that allows anyone that signed up for the company today, within a week, to automatically know what all culture and brand is all about. I think there’s need to be a lot of time spent in making sure that the brand is not only focusing on facing externally, the public, but also internally so your team truly believes in it…”
He then continued talking about branding by mentioning Toronto Raptors “We The North Brand”
We both agreed that’s it’s a huge step for Toronto Raptors to do a rebranding in the past which Mahfuz applaud for being not a swift rebrand, but rather a smooth transition into what we know today.
The overarching objective was to create a brand story that all Canadians would respond to.
And for the team who created that brand, it’s so rewarding to see how it’s being embraced by the whole of Canada. Being an outsider in NBA, and being as the only Canadian team, fans could bond together with a strong and bold brand personality that would ultimately unite Canadian fans around the Raptors.
“Everyone is screaming “WE THE NORTH.” I see people with flags, with stickers, and tattoos of the We The North brand. I saw what the Toronto Raptors were able to do with the We The North brand. Almost everyone is it in, it’s like a battle cry, the country is screaming it.
And it got me thinking, why people couldn’t feel the same way about a company? Why don’t they feel the same energy and support that the Toronto Raptors get? So it’s important for companies to think about, how could they make a brand create a mass appeal and create a successful way to execute it the way the Toronto Raptors did it, I hope it wouldn’t involve winning NBA finals because that’s going to be difficult.”
He shared about his story when he first started the initiative Project Reinvention. He talked about how he went out there and marketed it by himself by going to events, speaking on events which eventually helped him build a brand around it.
“So everything I did on that, no one paid me to do it. Nobody hired me to do it. I didn’t even do it because I wanted experience. I did it because I was passionate about it. And ironically as I was building that, that ended up being my portfolio item, and when I go to interviews, and they ask what is it that I’ve done with Marketing, and I’m like I’ve started my own website, and I’ve got tons of traffic, and I know how to do this, and that landed me my job at Candybox. “
I agreed with what he said that we do not need permission to get experience, just go out there and start today. And there is nothing stopping us more than ever especially in the presence of social media.
In terms of having a leverage and credibility to do something, Mahfuz talked about how being a student or a fresh graduate shouldn’t stop you from sharing your ideas. We talked about self confidence and I agreed with what he said that we should all once in our life have that realization of how much of an expert we are in what we do.
“Just speak up. It doesn’t hurt to have a bad idea, it’s not the end of the world. The goal is to find one great idea, if you have to throw away 20 bad ideas to get one good idea, it’s worth it.”
In conclusion, the value we can get from Mahfuz is that;
HEAR MORE from Mahfuz Chowdhury at:
Building your personal brand can even start in your own backyard, at your own leisure time.
Discussions: WHAT IS THAT ONE THING YOU’VE BEEN MEANING TO DO BUT HAVE BEEN PUTTING IT FOR LATER?