YOU ARE YOUR BRAND
Kubi Springer is the CEO and founder of the Kubi Springer Company – a brand management agency, and the producer and host of The Kubi Springer Show. Bernardo Moya discovers what makes the Kubi Springer brand.
In conversation with Kubi Springer, you get the feeling she’d have made a success of whatever she did. “I had a dream at the age of four of being a dancer,” she tells me. “So I found myself when I was eight at the Royal Academy of Classical Ballet.” By the age of 14 she had an agent and by 17 had danced on tour with The Spice Girls.
After getting a knee injury at 17, she couldn’t dance any more. Young and disillusioned she went to the USA to “go and visit family and see what happens”, much to her parents’ dismay.
It was a great decision. Through chance meetings she found herself doing an internship at Essence Magazine.
At their annual music festival she met Puff Daddy, Jay-Z and a whole host of upcoming stars, as well as seeing what a big festival was like. She was bitten, went back to the UK to study the business side of the music industry . When she finished her studies, she went straight back out to the USA to work “from the bottom up” at a marketing agency.
Then, at a party in LA she saw Justin Timberlake sitting with his two choreographers. She recalls: “I had a bigger mouth than I do now, and even more confidence… so I kind of walked up to Justin and I said, ‘You don’t know me, but I love your work’ and turned to Eddie and Marty and said, ‘You know, I used to be a dancer and I think you guys are great.’”
From the back of that conversation, she was offered the branding for the UK leg of Timberlake’s tour. She was just 23.
It was a success. She continued handling the branding for Timberlake’s whole Justified European tour, as well as that of Mariah Carey, Eminem and others. She freely admits that running a major PR company at the tender age of 23 was something she wasn’t yet ready for, so when Kanya King rang her and asked her to work in-house and do the marketing for MOBO, Kubi asked herself some hard questions. She decided to close the company at the age of 26 go over to MOBO.
Here her branding skills found a new outlet. She handled sponsorship deals with L’Oreal, HMV and ATARI. She says: “I was 26, female, black and The Guardian had written quite a bit about me… all of a sudden I was a role model and found myself going out to universities, schools and colleges giving talks to young people.”
At one talk a young man told her: “Oh, you need to meet my boss.” The boss turned out to be Rio Ferdinand, who wanted her to work on a TV show. “It was a phenomenal experience,” she smiles. “I met Beckham. Gorgeous! It’s the highlight of my whole career.”
Now Springer was branding with footballers. “One of the footballers would have a diamond encrusted Tiret’s watch. Quarter of a million pound deal.” She did that deal. “Blackberry was new to the market at the time, so we managed to get that in the hands of another footballer… I did that!”
Her passion for branding is clear, and she hammers home the necessity for people to be clear about what they project about themselves.
“You need to understand that you’re a brand, just like a Coca-Cola or a Nike, or Rio, or a David Beckham. And you need to start to say, ‘What does my brand stand for, what are my brand values? And what’s my Unique Selling Point? How do I go into this interview where they’ve already seen 100 people?’”
“What makes a good brand is first and foremost, having an emotional connection with your desired audience,” she adds. “Only when you touch them at the core of them will you be able to trigger their psychology.”
The Kubi Springer Brand
Vision and Determination – Kubi pursues her goal with all her heart
Flexibility – like changing direction after injuring her knee
Novelty – she’s willing to try new things
Courage – she “feels the fear and does it anyway”
Networking skills – she can “talk for England”
Confidence – she gets herself noticed