Here’s to all my snowflakes.

Commencement speech for the Brand The Change Trainers Class of 2020

This course is not meant as a mental health support group, but it sure serves as one sometimes. I can imagine no better job in the world than that of a brand developer, and few that are worse.

It’s amazing because you are allowed to look into the soul of the people and organizations that hire you.

It’s hell because you are expected to understand all the little crevices of that soul and get it all nice and presentable to the world in a matter of hours.

Its grateful because you can add so much value to worthy causes, and it’s ungrateful because no one ever remembers the name of the brand developer — which is as it should be.

It’s energizing because collaborations generate so many amazing new ideas, and it is agonizing when they aren’t executed.

It’s exciting because the field of branding moves as fast as a high-speed train, and terrifying because you might fall off.

Add to that the joys and perils of solo entrepreneurship, keeping your own boat afloat, and it’s a miracle any of us get up in the morning.

And I have not even started on what it takes to use your profession to make a difference in the world.

I’m grateful to have spent eight months with people who, despite all of the above, get up in the morning and give it their all.

I call all my ‘students’ snowflakes, a bit of a derogatory term in the US these days for liberals who feel like they are so *** special, but to me, there is nothing wrong with telling people they are special.

You all brought your unique combination of talent, experiences, passions and skills, aspects of your national cultures and family cultures.

When brought together in a group, we all get to witness a unique snowstorm.

In the past 8 months, you’ve practiced using our tools and method in your own practices. You’ve designed your own brand co-creation process.

But more importantly, you have each crafted your own unique vision of success: who you want to work with, what type of work you want to do with them, and how this will give you a sense of achievement and purpose in the world.

If your experience is anything like mine, you will wake up one morning, thinking you will never succeed and wake up feeling on top of the world the next day, while none of the actual facts of work or life have changed.

There is a lot of celebration of success and vanity out there, and all that smoke and mirrors hides the actual painstaking hard work, and ‘keeping at it’ that lies underneath.

It covers up the often tedious tasks and incremental improvements that you have to be willing to put in, in order to make it happen, year after year.

Whether you reach your goals or not, you will have succeeded in my eyes for testing your limits, and trying things out.

There is only one thing that I will see as a failure: Don’t ever sell yourself for less than you are worth. I wish you all the brand you deserve.

Check out the profiles of the Brand The Change Trainer Certification Class
Our next
trainers’ certification course will be on location in Nairobi, this September.

Working to see the day when organisations with positive social and environmental impact outperform traditional ventures. Weapon of choice: branding.

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