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Interview: Anaezi Modu, ReBrand

Anaezi Modu

ReBrand™ is the global resource for visual examples and case studies on effective brand transformations: the repositioning, revitalizing and redesign of existing brand assets to meet strategic marketing objectives. As a Fast Company blogger, Anaezi explores the integration of seemingly disparate ideas and industries to achieve strategy-driven transformation. Through the lens of a designer, she shares learning from pragmatic ingenuity, one of the terms she prefers over innovation. She is inspired by those rarely credited for brilliant ideas: the worlds poor that face dire challenges daily. Anaezi received her training in architecture and design at Princeton and Harvard.

CB: What fascinates you about the web?
AM: So many things! One I marvel at the most is the ability to run a global enterprise from a remote dashboard. All that’s required is a great idea, planning, perseverance, marketing strategy, and incredible hard work to make things happen. While some of these elements aren’t new, what the web provides that has appeared over the last decade is the ability to accomplish much with a fraction of funds investment the “off-line” world required in the past.

CB: What would you change about it?
AM: With the good often comes challenges. The low barriers to entry mean that there’s much erroneous or even harmful information that can just as quickly or easily get air time as does helpful information. From a technical perspective, I can’t wait for the day when putting up a site and maneuvering CSS would be as simple as using Microsoft Word for us technically-challenged creatives.

CB: Do you have a blog? If so, what makes your blog unique?

AM: I recently accepted an invitation to be an expert blogger with Fast Company magazine. My blog is called Cross Thinkers. Just in case anyone reading this might have some thoughts that I should consider for it, please feel free to share if you think it makes sense. Just visit the blog and leave a comment. I’ll be starting one for ReBrand, hopefully soon. What am I waiting for? Great question. No more excuses! You great folks at Newfangled have been incredibly helpful and supportive about getting one started.

CB: What technology has had the greatest impact on how you do your job?
AM: Easy answer: The web! Being able to have some semblance of autonomy in running an organization and using a content management system like Newfangleds to update our site has been incredible.

CB: Who has influenced or helped you the most in your career?
AM: A foundation of faith in God and practice of prayers and meditation have been key in guidance when things have been overwhelming. Love and support from my family has also been essential. There are countless others from friends to colleagues, past managers, teachers, consultants, and strangers along the way.

CB: What makes you uniquely suited to your role with ReBrand?
AM: I embody many aspects of my mission for ReBrand. I am a result of a multidisciplinary collection of professional interests and background, and I have first-hand experience in solutions that result from integrating seemingly disparate ideas from so many sources. I believe this is what makes the world go ‘round and how great ideas, products, services, and systems evolve. With our marquis program at ReBrand, the annual ReBrand 100 Global Awards, I insisted that no one discipline “owns” the effective “branded experience.” With that in mind, I stipulate that each year’s jury panel must consist of people from various professional, experiential, national, and ethnic backgrounds in assessing these effective transformations. I’m especially passionate in broadening the conversation on strong brands to include and respect perspectives from far and wide. I am also trained in and have worked professionally in architecture, interior design, urban design and planning for some years. In running ReBrand and through an executive education program I initiated at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, our teaching team is able to share how devising optimal experiences is key in every industry. In this case, the principles apply to all, even though this particular certificate program titled Revealing the Brand Story: How to Create Meaning, Value, and ROI, is targeted to built environment professionals. It is also rare to have the combination of these two backgrounds – all that helps inform my approach to ReBrand. The passion is in helping guide and showcase ways to transform experiences for some strategic purpose. That purpose may or not be for direct financial benefits, but can certainly be in reach, influence, or to some other qualitative end. I’m stumbling over the words, so the actual description of the two-day program may be clearer. All are welcome to register and earn a certificate while learning from respected, renowned brand strategists and principles of the nation’s most prominent architectural firms.

CB: What makes ReBrand worth paying attention to?
AM: There is only one No other! ReBrand is the expert-led resource at which “before” and “after” case examples of brand transformations exist. These examples are from around the world and span over 40 industries. The range is from one-person entities to companies like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Virgin Airlines, Cisco Systems, and so much more. It’s all there for anyone to learn from, at no charge. We get great focused attention from channels many dream of reaching, and we’ve become a respected, go-to source for corporations and agencies alike. We are often approached for references and advice on branding consultants from small, non-profit, regional and global organizations. Fortunately, because the URL is the term used for brand transformations, we’re often interviewed by business publications such as the Wall Street Journals, Fast Company, CNN Money, and others, that find and approach us. I see all of these as opportunities to help further our collective goals as strategic, creative folks- that of getting across the fact that effective crafting of experiential branding is essential for the bottom line. I even recently learned that we are one of four sites noted in the book Branding for Dummies as a go-to resource. It’s worth discovering us and re-visiting as we continue to expand on a number of initiatives and as we showcase more work from the past 2008 winners showcase.

CB: If you had one sentence to pitch your latest and greatest idea, what would it be?
AM: Visit, enter the annual ReBrand 100 Global Awards, learn, be recognized for, and share in how so many “Transform to Thrive.” That’s our latest tagline, by the way. Business, as in life is an ever-evolving process. See how other organizations are doing it, and model those ideas when it makes sense. You’ll be in great company; you’ll have your firms capabilities showcased, celebrated, and given prominent, potentially client-generating press, if you’re a winner. You can’t beat that!

CB: I believe that everyone has a specific and unique talent that comes in handy at just the right time. It might be something most people know about you or something very few know. What is your super-power?
AM: I’m a connector who’s pretty good at inspiring others to work together towards a common goal. This has been key to building ReBrand and getting it to the point where over 20 countries now participate, and prominent folks come to us requesting to serve on the jury panel.

CB: If the worlds technological and economic systems were to collapse and revert society to locally-focused, agrarian communities, what role would you assume?
AM: After years spent living in a remote West-African village, this one is a no brainer. I would work with folks to design and make useful and creative items with natural materials so readily available in their environment. I would also help local builders in designing and building homes with local materials. This ties in a bit with my Fast Company blog. I believe, and have seen evidence of this, that ultimate geniuses, are those that must survive and thrive when much is stripped away and the “primitive way of life” is the given. Design ability is a great tool for solving a number of social, economic, and business challenges. The ways in which we can use our skills to help, with or without technology, are countless.

> View Anaezis LinkedIn profile.

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