“A brand is not what we tell the customer it is – it is what the customers tell each other it is.”
It’s been 26 years of doing life. Writing has always fascinated. Back in the day at school I would win in essay writing competitions with the key highlight being the National Kenya Human Rights Essay Competition on governance as I wrapped up my O-Levels where I ranked third nationally. That kind of gave me an appetite that gravitated me towards liking writing with passion unaware of what the future held. At this point in time I reached a strong resolve to do things differently. Like how about I don’t go for career but instead test waters with both feet in the murky business world after school? I went through high school toying with that idea in mind. The writing art still fascinated. Fast forward I settled for a PROJECT MANAGEMENT course graduating at the close of 2013. In between in 2012 and as I did my course work attachment at an Old Mutual Kenya affiliated_Hechs Insurance Agency as a Liason Officer for a mass market targeted last respect cover; Heshima Mpango Poa, I had the abundance of free time and the blessing of overflowing Internet. I would browse the web endlessly reading stuff far and wide. It’s how I stumbled on WordPress (the free and open source publishing software that powers more than 25% of the internet) and set up a personal blog primarily as a hobby and secondarily to send out to the world the dozens of trial write ups I hoarded in my space.
The Business Idea
Over time I thought around how I could use my blog differently. With the guide of a couple of mentors, I did a personal SWOT analysis and wrote down my key top 5 skills curved out of what i consider hobbies which included; Writing, Blogging, Speaking, Training and BRAND Consultancy guided by PMP: (Project Management Planning) This formed the basis of my Brand Building Concept and as thus I transformed the blog towards BRANDING with key attention to Personal_Development_Branding and matters Career_Work_Talent Monetization. Primarily I used the blog to expand the conversation on topical matters, enrich my research skills market my key services as I explored countless opportunities within the vast online jungle. The blog is sloganed #ADifferentNarrative which is basically an inspiration and call to action to write and follow our own different paths in life.
When dealing with clients most of them advocated for a corporate look thus there came the need to get structured. It’s how the TWIC BRANDs idea was born and registered in 2014 as the parent company for the different projects I run and plan to run in future. Winstontony is owned under TWIC BRANDs. Later in 2016 I stumbled upon an Agakhan University report on research findings on Youth unemployment in Kenya standing at an exasperating 45%. Open to the fact that I am a youth and would be part of the statistics if not thinking out of the box, I challenged myself to do something with what I have where I am. Picking from the conversations I had from my blog readers, I researched on different concepts globally and ended up with the BizHUB idea as a mitigation measure being the newest addition to TWIC BRANDs at the dawn of 2017.
Personally I get to believe that humans are made up of three Parts; The Body, The Mind and The Soul. How I put out my BRAND is I sell off as WINSTONTONY (The Body_Personality) The business I created TWIC BRANDs (is The Mind-Operations/ thinking processes) and BizHUB ( is The Soul_Outreach /how to help others) Through which I embrace my little way of giving back to the Society by contributing a step towards the fight against Youth Unemployment by Inspiring BRANDS; helping out chaps write and follow their own different narratives) The brands enjoy a coherent symbiotic relationship I borrow a leaf (my Motivation for my business Model from Richard Branson’s idea of how he has intertwined his personality and Social Outreach in running VIRGIN COMPANY.
TWIC BRANDs is a capacity Building outfit that thrives in its slogan’s promise ‘Power To Build’ We thus endeavor to Build all rounded Brands wholesomely. With key attention to Sales, Marketing, Advertising and the overall logistics there in, we have favorably tailored solution packages for individuals, groups, SMEs and Corporates with key objective of unleashing the BRAND POWER!
As a brand building business, we endeavor to foresee the success of your brand through our tailored services that suit your need. Our competitive advantage thus is anchored on the aspect of professionally merging the “P” of Place and the “P” of Promotion to favorably enhance your brand visibility. Our Services thus include: Top notch-Merchandising Solutions, Media (SEO and Adverts), Training, Social Enterprises/CSR and Business Branding.
Winstontony is a Branding Blog covering the spectrum of Personal_Development_Branding and matters Career_Work_Talent Monetization. We give key attention to Creative, education (Management) and Business (Brands)
As part of extending the branding Galore, Winstontony also offers company’s and or brands a platform to market their products and services by reaching out to the decisive readers in our target markets across the scope. Winstontony is making it possible for Brands to tap on the expansive online market characterized by Tech savvy and highly informed consumers by embracing the Experience Economy’s Influencer Model.
BIZHUB is a TWIC BRANDS initiative that seeks to create a common pull of business inspired youth with talent as the key pull factor. The main objective is to scale down the wide spread Youth unemployment by inspiring beneficiaries to embrace talent monetization as alternative career option. Youth unemployment is part of the discussion under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Millennium development goals MDGs) in line with the Vision 2030
“I was not keen on being formally employed after my graduation because the narrative that I subscribe to is about developing a personalised path and finding ways to monetise these passions,” he says.
BizHUB which opened shop in Jan 2017 was primarily inspired by the conversations and engagements that people sent him through his blog.
“People wanted more information about what I wrote about specific subject areas and instead of responding to just one person at a time, I looked for a way to respond on a larger scale and inclusive platform that was how the idea of BizHUB came up,” he says.
TWIC BRANDs is a branding company which he started so as to structure his skills and earn money from them.
Apart from his Education, Tony says that he invests a lot of time in research about the areas that he is passionate about – personal development and branding. And as he says, he borrows a lot from his Quality Management Class of college years on Kaizen’s Concept of Continuous improvement. Every day is an opportunity to learn relearn and experiment. By extension, Winstontony blog is like a virtual school. He describes himself as a brand enthusiast and aims to help brands solve the problem of Sales, Marketing_Advertising and logistics.
“One of the most successful projects is our magazine distribution channel where we target repeat customers. We work with practically all the local magazine brands that you can think about – Salon magazine, Parents, True Love and many others,” he says. The magazine concept was inspired by my love to read widely, in high school I once distributed the famous teen targeted Insider Magazine within the student fraternity. After high school I tested the concept in the market and gradually we built a readership base and boom we had a magazine distribution channel to our belt.
Other companies that his company has worked with include: KCB Bank, Safaricom, Blaze, Cooperative bank, Samsung and BIDCO.
TWIC BRANDs provides merchandising solutions (ensuring that the product is in the right hands at the right time), advertising (they create effective content marketing materials for businesses including articles, E-books and courses, blog posts, brand stories, online content, social media and so on), training and tutorials (internal generated and external training and tutorials tailored around helping brands achieve goals of either sales or marketing), social enterprises (partner with and or help corporates and or businesses reach favourable Corporate Social Responsibility decisions) and business branding (seek to build brands through a fair package of the listed services)
“Although I am solely behind the company, I improve my skills through research and anchoring which means that I involve people that have more experience in the areas that my brand specialises in to share skills with me as well as the corporates that I work with and that is how I have been able to build my skill-base over the years,” he says.
As research shows, freelancing is the future of employment with concepts such as virtual working owing to deeper internet penetration. Twic is fast testing such concepts and as part of their commitment to nurture and grow talents they work with freelancers who are assigned on various projects at hand on short and medium term windable contracts.
TWIC BRANDs also holds regular monthly speaking sessions at Kaimosi Friends University College (KAFUCO) where they engage the students about the available freelancing options for the student demographics borrowing on the BizHUB model.
In January 2017, TWIC BRANDs opened doors to a subsidiary, Biz HUB which basically seeks to assemble opportunities that exist within the creative industries.
“Through Biz HUB, we hold fortnight Themed business conversations at Highland Platinum, Galaxy Lounge along Moi Avenue in Nairobi that happen on Friday evenings from 5.30 to 8.30 pm. The sessions facilitate Conversations between professionals in various fields who interact with young people who are interested in getting into these fields,” At the session, the speakers get to take the attendess through the story of their success in and out with eyes on PROCESSES and RESULTS. We dissect the themed Industries in and out looking at the backgrounds, Trends, SWOT Concepts, Business Models, Revenue Models and Opportunities therein for new entrants and existing players complete with partnerships options. In the ongoing first quarter 2018 (Jan to March), our theme is ART, CULTURE and CREATIVE that will culminate in a mega event at the Safaricom’s Micheal Joseph Centre on Friday 30th March 2018 from 2pm to 8.30pm.
In the Short Term, Tony and his partners at BizHUB – as the Programs Co-odinator, he currently works with three other people (Harris Amwai: Logistics& Mobilsation, Brian Kimotho; Digital Creative and Linton Chege; PR& Marketing)and is hoping to increase the number to eight in the near future—are planning to replicate the model of BizHUB to schools, universities and colleges. And they hope to replicate this further to other counties in the long run.
Other initiatives he runs include: Merchandisers Galore, a pool of youths interested and talented in sales and marketing and the Magazine Club Kenya, the initiative under which they operate the magazine distribution around Nairobi and its environs.
“I started with what I had with eyes on growth and scaling, by setting up the blog and using my skills to build what I envisioned and then continued to expand as the resources became available,” he says.
Tony urges young people who wish to start businesses to not be held back by finances – just begin with whatever resources that you have available to you. And by word of advice as starters, its commendable to start off your idea as a project/program other than going straight ahead to a company before being fully structured. It gives you a wider scope of operations.
“One of the greatest challenges that I had when I brought in partners to BizHUB was getting them to understand the bigger goal that I had for the concept and this led to a lot of strategy conflict at the start. But once that was out of the way, the initiatives has been working out great,” he says.
Getting companies to understand the value that TWIC adds to their brands has also been a challenge because they are using newerl modes of branding and the gate-keepers seem to favour and cling to the old school tried and tested concepts thus breaking the negotiation barrier calls for tons of demonstrable patience.
“Story telling is the future of marketing. Brand stories – giving information that will make a consumer favourably understand the product and the modern-day influencer based, experiential marketing, where we make the consumer believe that they are the only problem that the company is dealing with is how we do marketing,” he explains.
How do you get clients?
I have four ways of doing this, one is through “cold pitching” which means that I look at what companies are already doing – at their brands, work on an offer for the company and then look for an email or go to the company and request for a meeting where I pitch in the strongest terms possible, the better branding ideas that I have for the company.
The second method is referrals. And trust me word of mouth sells!
Thirdly, as much as I host many events through Biz HUB, I also make a point of attending many events to network and bring more business to the company.
Last but not least, we are the techy age; the digital space is blossoming with opportunities to tap. Alongside the websites I use social media to push everything that I am doing at the business. And I also use the blog to enhance the visibility of the company. Perhaps a note; a website is like a physical shop because it has static information whereas a blog would compare to a road show truck because its updated regularly such that a visitor gets newer information at every visit.
Was registration of the company a complex process?
Registration of companies is a much easier process now because of the introduction of the e-citizen platform so anyone who wishes to start a company should not be worried about that. This was a bit harder in the past because one needed to be there physically and the back and forth and extreme bulk paper work, but it is easier now.
What is your vision for TWIC BRANDs?
Our Vision is to continuously and consistently build and grow formidable brands to enhance performance and growth. As we scale, we are looking at having a state of the art global TWIC incubation centre that will empower the clientele with the skills to do what they can wherever they are without the limitation of boundaries.
What would you name as your greatest achievement thus far?
The late Wangari Maathai quoted her little this as planting trees. My little this is BRANDING. TWIC BRANDs is a success story, which in my small world is the greatest thing that happened after sliced bread and being able to help other young people turn their talent into alternative career options through the BizHUB model gives me this unmeasured satisfaction.
I can’t restrict from mentioning the highlight of speaking to the thousands of WordPress Community Enthusiasts two years in a row now in the prestigious WordPress WordCamp Nairobi sessions on various subject areas guided by and borrowing from the concepts we are trying out at TWIC BRANDs as a key milestone.
“*The Right angle is; I want to start a business, sell something, invent, create, dream and Grow…”
“Think of yourself as a brand. You need to be remembered. What will they remember you for? What defines you? If you have it in you, do something that defines you. Invent something, develop a unique skill, get noticed for something — it creates a talking point.”
― Chris Arnold
- Sample of Brand Stories
- About the WordPress Sessions
- YOU TUBE Link to the most recent WordPress Speaking engagement
- Link to a glimpse of the BizHUB sessions