Branding 101 tells us that a brand is not a logo, a set of colors, or an advertising campaign — it’s the whole feeling that exists in the mind of the customer/audience in relation to the branded entity.
That’s why I was excited to see an article by NYT on Rebranding Africa. At one time, I spent 40 hours a week researching & writing a (never-published) book about Africa. It is my firmly-held belief that when Africa is able to shake off its image as impoverished, victimized, and hopeless, it will emerge as an absolute heart of culture and industry for our world.
I wait and dream of the day when, upon seeing a t-shirt with the African continent on it, people will think not of need, warfare, Kony, aid camps, disease — but of art, fashion, industry, limitless natural resources, and strong people proudly working in a culture that is neither imitating nor reacting against the western world.
Rebranding Africa through fashion might seem like a small act, and possibly could appear meaningless in the face of the physical needs of many people on the continent. But maybe it’s exactly things like this — moments of dignity, elevation, and respect for humanity — that Africa needs most of all in order to begin to see itself as having dignity, being elevated, and deserving of respect.