Today, we’re going to be talking about branding. Among other things we’re going to learn how to brand ourselves to achieve leverage. That’s actually the easy part. What is more important, is that you become acquainted with the fundamentals of branding itself. It’s at the heart of your relationship with God and it controls your wants, your passions and taste. At some point in history it will determine destiny.
I’m going to share some very profound stuff with you today. I’ll cross-breed knowledge from the Bible with the world’s economic system to produce a hybridized fuel for your propulsion and attainment.
Now, I don’t know how much of the history of Foursquare you’ve studied. You will learn a great deal about branding just by studying the history of Foursquare Gospel Church. Now I’ve studied that history in some detail. My personal conclusion is that the founder of this church, Aimee Semple McPherson has to be one of the most remarkable people that ever lived. She stretched the dimensions of Christianity into the cultural space, made people see God in a way they had never imagined. And she did all these as a woman in the early to mid 1900s. Now, I know some of you can’t appreciate that but when this church was founded, there was hardly universal suffrage. Women could not vote in France until 1945, Italy 1946, Belgium 1948. The role of the average woman was limited to two functions – breeding and cooking. As for professional aspiration if you became a secretary you had reached your zenith. Watch the Mad Men series. And that series was set in the 1960s. You can therefore imagine this woman, Aimee Semple McPherson setting up the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in the early 1900s.
And so she came, shattered both glass and concrete ceilings, liberated the gospel. She was at the cutting edge of evangelism. She reached out to Hollywood, got the stars born again… got them involved in church productions… people like Charley Chaplin, Jack Hayford, Pat Boone, Anthony Quinn, Agatha Christie, Rolf McPherson, John Ensign. She would go to boxing tournaments and carry placards in the ring inviting people to church… If you were religious you couldn’t deal with her. She was a century ahead of everybody.
The cathedral she built, Angelus Temple was an architectural landmark. In fact, the 5,000-seater church has been designated a national historic landmark by the US government. People rushed into Angelus Temple to attend services, like people rushing into an American department store on a Christmas sale. You can’t do half of what she did unless you have a profound relationship with God – a relationship beyond religious ablutions.
She understood God in a certain way. She understood the signs of the times, knew what God was trying to do. And here we are 87 years after and the church she founded has become a global phenomenon – a very powerful global brand.
Now, I know you’ve invited me here to teach you branding but the tutorial is right under your nose… you’re sitting in it. You have your church history as a powerful case study on corporate branding. It’s a phenomenal brand franchise, one of the biggest in the world. No corporate brand rivals it. How many corporate brands have 66,000 branches? McDonalds has 33,000 outlets, Starbucks has 23,187 locations, State Bank of India (SBI) has 17,000 branches, Walmart has 11,088 locations, HSBC has 7,200 offices, Barclays has 4,750 branches, Best Western has 4,000 hotels, Marriott International has 3,700 hotels, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group (owners of Radisson Blu) has 1,300 hotels and 900 restaurants. It’s one of the best case studies on branding. And you have one of the best personal brand case studies in the person of Aimee McPherson.
You want to understand branding? Take time to study the history of your Church. It’s a successful brand that’s been around for 87 years! Again very few corporate brands can beat that. It’s in the league of First Bank of Nigeria (120 years old), The Coca-Cola Company (94 years old), The Walt Disney Company (91 years), Raymond Group (89 years), The Chrysler Corporation (89 years), Mercedes-Benz (88 years), JVC (87 years), Volvo (87 years), Ford (87 years), Panasonic (87 years), Unilever (84 years). Its contemporaries are thus JVC, Volvo, Ford, Panasonic and Unilever.
Even the brand name of the church was most unique – still unusual. This was an era when churches bore names like The Zion Christian Church. The name stood out.
Aimee Semple McPherson was very clear about her purpose and mission. She had a cognitive understanding of the capacities resident in her, the gifts bestowed upon her. Her values were defined, shaped as it were by her faith. And she had style. The Press loved her. She didn’t lose her personality. She understood that God has no issues with personality types; in fact he uses them for his purposes. Peter was brash, Paul was cerebral, James was a no-nonsense person. Aimee was flamboyant, spunky and spirited. Taken together, these elements – her purpose and mission, her values, her capacities and personality – they created a brand distinction for her.
In other words, if you want to build a personal brand:
- You must understand your capacities and your giftings. That’s what you’re selling. They’re primary assets.
You must be clear about what it is you’re selling. You can’t have a personal brand without a competence or endowment. What’s your competence? What are you good at? What has God endowed you with?
- You must define a purpose for that endowment. What can you do with your endowment? What can you do with your capacities?
Endowment includes the ability to cook, the ability to care for people…Beauty is an endowment by the way. What’s your message? What are you really selling? And to whom? That will be your market.
- You must determine what you want to become. That’s your vision. Then determine what you want to accomplish in the market. That’s your mission.
- Then you go on to spell out your operational anchors. These are your values and philosophy. Your values will protect the brand. Values are not always moral. Excellence is a value.
- Then you have to use your personality to create and define your style. This will give you distinction. Your style also includes your dressing, and your diction. These are brand expressions.
- You also have to think about propagation and distribution. Where should you be seen? Where should you NOT be seen? Who should you be associating with? Who should you NOT be associating with?
Well, there it is! That’s the primer on how to brand yourself. Ten elements:
Now let’s go deeper. Much deeper. Please follow me. Let’s go to Genesis.
Genesis is the book of beginnings – all beginnings. If we want to understand branding we must go to the very beginning, the Book of Genesis. The word “Genesis” is the Hebrew word bereisheet. It means “In the beginning…”
The economic history of the world is hidden inside the history of creation. I know you’ve heard of dispensations. Theologians tell us the first dispensation was the Dispensation of Innocence. Then came the Dispensation of Conscience, then the Dispensation of Human Government, the Dispensation of Promise, the Dispensation of Law, the Dispensation of Grace, and the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
These dispensations are spiritual calendars. A dispensation is an epochal calendar. But there are other types of calendar in the Bible. There are economic calendars for example. I’m going to use the history of creation to teach you about economic dispensations.
There are four phases of creation, there are four economic dispensations.
The first phase of creation is the creation of the natural world and natural phenomena – planets, plants, sea creatures, animals… We find the narration in Gen.1: 3-25:
Let there be light…
Let the waters be gathered in one place…
Let the earth sprout forth vegetation…plant yielding seed…
And God made the two great lights…
Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures…
Let the earth bring forth creatures according to their kinds…
And God made the beasts…
These are the highlights of the creation of the natural world and natural phenomena…the first phase of creation.
The second phase of creation is the creation of the being called Man. We find this information in Gen.1: 26-30:
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
This was a game changer. It was the introduction of an intermediary species between angels and animals. In Psalm 8:5, David wrote that God made man a little lower than the angels, and in Psalm 49:12, he wrote that a man who was held in honour but without understanding is like the beasts that perish. And so you have angels high up there on the scale – so intelligent, so powerful, so capacitated they can even fly, like Superman… And then you have animals down there at the other end, lacking in intellect or consciousness. In between the classes of angels and animals you have the class of men. The mystery of the love of God is that God by governmental fiat made the higher order of creation, the angels, messengers and ministers to the heirs of salvation – us! Amen!
The genetic difference between man and angels is not that much actually. Some angels mated with the daughters of men, remember? They produced giants. Just as the genetic difference between man and animals is not that much. This is what is causing so much confusion in the field of evolutionary biology – what we call Darwinism. The genetic differential between monkeys and man is less than 2%. But as you very well know a few genes can make a whole lot of difference. Just like the small difference between angels and man amounts to much, so the small difference between animals and man amounts to so much. Man is a free moral agent for example. He has freewill and will be held accountable for his decisions. Animals are not free moral agents. God is not going to judge animals. And animals lack consciousness. They can’t understand the concept of “I am”. Only an Adamic being or higher being can. A man can say of himself “I am”, for the simple reason that he was made in the image of the “I am that I am”. When God says he is the “I am that I am”, it is an expression of his self-consciousness, of his personage, his might, his power and glory. It’s existentialism.
And so animals could never be soul mates to Adam. Only the I am that I am could be his soul mate, until another I am was created.
It would take another 4,000 years to improve on the man created in Genesis. Man Version 2.0 was introduced at Pentecost 4,014 years ago. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17 he is a NEW CREATURE – a new species that never existed before. The Bible says we were RE-CREATED in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10).
Let me give you the technical specs of Man Version 2.0; let me explain you to you. Sometimes religion obfuscates our comprehension. If you understand the technical specs of Man Version 2.0, you will know at what level and capacity you’re supposed to function. Most of us are still functioning as Man Version 1.0. Paul says you’re “mere men” if you do.
To understand Man Version 2.0, you have to know what’s going on in the field of evolutionary science.
There’s an evolutionary concept in science called Transhumanism. A transhuman is a being that resembles a human in most respects but who has powers and abilities beyond those of standard humans. He has improved intelligence, awareness, strength and durability. If you see a cyborg in a movie, or genetically-enhanced humans, that’s the vision of transhumanism. Scientists want to alter man’s genetic make-up, merge our minds with machines, implant microchips. The phrase ‘transhuman’ actually means transitional human. In other words transhumanism is not man’s destination point. The next phase after the transhuman phase is the posthuman phase. The things I’m telling you are real, not science fiction even if they sound like science fiction. This is the realm of futurology.
One of the first professors of futurology was a man who called himself FM 2030. Changed his name. He taught “new concepts of the Human” at The New School of New York City in the 1960s. He called transhumans “the earliest manifestation of new evolutionary beings”. He argued that signs of transhumanism include prostheses, intensive use of telecommunications, androgyny (i.e. no gender), mediated reproduction (e.g. cloning or IVF), absence of religious beliefs, and a rejection of traditional family values. In other words, we are already moving very fast towards the goal of transhumanists.
It may surprise you to learn however that the idea of transhumanism was stolen from God. Adam was the prototype of Man Version 1.0. The Last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ is the prototype of Man Version 2.0. Since we were recreated in Christ Jesus i.e. made from his mold or image, all born-again Christians are Man Version 2.0. They’re transhumans. And a resurrected born-again Christian is posthuman. A posthuman Christian will display the kind of capacities Jesus displayed after resurrection. He’ll be able to walk through walls, disappear at will… He won’t have blood but he’ll be able to eat food, socialize and converse. His molecular structure is intelligent. It can configure itself to sit on a solid or pass through solid walls.
And so the ideas the scientists are touting were actually plagiarized from God, only bastardized. Look at one of the specs – androgyny. They say posthumans will be sexless but the Bible already told us we’ll be like angels; that there’ll be no marrying or giving in marriage in Heaven. The main point of divergence between God and the evolutionary transhumanists is the approach. The transhumanists believe that man will evolve into a transhuman. God on the other hand says it’s revolutionary. Will happen in an instant. Behold, all things will become new!
Whereas the scientists want to breed creatures without religious belief, God’s vision is the exact opposite. He wants to breed those who will worship him. They want to breed beings who’ll reject traditional notions of family – reject family values. God is the exact opposite since the union between the man and the woman signifies the union between Christ and the Church. And you can see the plan of the evolutionary transhumanists is already gradually being realized. We now have “modern families”.
The objective of these transhumanists is very clear. They want to breed rebels against God’s authority and order. There are thus two competing visions of transhumanism – God’s vision and Satan’s vision.
The truth though is that what the scientists are laboring to do has already been done. If only they’d read the Bible. Everything they’re trying to create has been re-created in Christ Jesus. They want to extend human life but Jesus said I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly. They want to capacitate man, but man is already capacitated in Christ Jesus. Jesus promised certain signs will follow Version 2.0 humans. If they drink any deadly thing it shall not harm them. And they shall pick up serpents. They’re also disease resistant. And if perchance a disease gets through and wrecks havoc there is provision for regeneration. By his stripes they are healed. Their intellectual capacity is incredibly boosted. They have the mind of Christ. That’s incredible capacity. Their intellectual and cognitive capacity is humongous. They can even exercise the gift of clairvoyance – through the operation of the word of knowledge and demonstrate curious intelligence with the word of wisdom. They have unimaginable re-collective capability. The Spirit – the capacitator of Man Version 2.0, brings things to their remembrance. We’re the one limiting ourselves. We’re the ones limiting the gifts of the Spirit to church services. That is not the intendment of God. These gifts are supposed to function in and out of church. Stop limiting your capacity. You’re a scientific wonderment. When David was boasting that he was fearfully and wonderfully made, he had no idea! What would a Version 2.0 human say?!
As a Version 2.0 human you have the kind of capacities you see in X-Men the movie. Philip translated from one location to another. The shadow of Peter healed the sick. John G. Lake’s body was resistant to bubonic plague. Catherine Kuhlman could point at people and they fell down. We call it falling under the anointing. Oral Roberts could lay hands on paraplegics and the lame walked. Aimee Semple McPherson laid hands on people on stretchers and they got up and walked. William Branham laid his hands on the dead and the dead rose. All these people functioned in Version 2.0 capacities. And how do I know these things? I am functioning in my capacity as a Version 2.0 human!
But we’re getting carried away! We’re supposed to be talking about branding. We got into all that to explain the second phase of creation, the creation of Man. The first phase of creation is the creation of natural world. And now, the third phase.
Every time God created something in Genesis, he ran a quality check. After he separated photons -what we call light for example, the Bible says, “And God saw that it was good.” Same thing when he created the seas. Same thing happened when he created vegetation. Same thing happened when he created the stars. Same thing happened when he created the sea monsters, and winged birds. He did quality assessment.
When you study your Bible, you’ll discover it wasn’t so much the creation of the elements and creatures he was concerned about. It was the issue of autonomous replication – multiplication: how to get nature to multiply itself without everyday direct instruction. He needed to code into the algorithm of nature a multiplication protocol. That was his main concern. Read the scriptures.
Therefore the concept of multiplication, whether of stars, or plants, or animals, or men, or economic resources is of importance to God; it was a major scientific challenge. We take it for granted today but God did the original thinking. It wasn’t easy, even for God. If the algorithm was poorly coded, there would have been huge problems down the line. For example the ecosystem will become unbalanced and unstable. Some animals will multiply faster than required and overwhelm the system. Think of frogs over-multiplying. If in doubt ask Pharaoh. Without a multiplication protocol the world economy cannot grow. It would decline as human population explosion overtakes production.
Now I want you to see something… (You’ll have to listen to this lecture over and over again. There’s too much information). In the last verse of Gen.1…towards the end of the 6th day of creation God did something. The Bible says he assessed ALL his creation and he declared everything “very good”:
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
And so the third phase of creation was the overall quality assessment of creation by the Creator. He made sure everything functioned and that the aesthetics met his vision. Evaluation is therefore the third phase of creation. We’ll talk about this some more. Let’s see the fourth and last phase of creation.
The fourth phase of creation is of course the rest of God. God rested from all his work on the 7th day. This rest is not a physical rest. It’s a symbolism. God cannot tire. He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. Even ordinary ants are never tired. They don’t sleep how much more God. The “rest” of God was not occasioned by physical, mental or emotional tiredness. Cannot be. God simply sat back to enjoy his creation, to see the multiplication protocol in perfect synthesis… to see the ecosystem working… the harmony of creation.
And so we see the four phases of creation:
- Creation of Nature
- Creation of Man
- The Evaluation of Creation
- The Rest of God.
The world economy has progressed according to these phases of creation. I’ll break it down for you.
God created the natural world first and so the first economy known to Earth is the Economy of Nature. It is dominated by agriculture. Agriculture is the dominant economic activity in this economy; land is the chief factor of production. The natural world economy is still running. (The four economies are layered on top of each other). Underdeveloped economies – third world economies – are predominantly natural world economies.
After the natural world economy came the inauguration of the Economy of Man. It’s the second economic phase. Man was created in the second phase of creation. This economy is driven by man’s intellectual capacity. It’s the core of the economy. The industrial revolution is a product of this economy. The creation of the steam engine, electrical systems, information technology system, distributed intelligence network, telecommunications… These are the byproducts of this economy. It was in this economic dispensation that man became an official factor of production. Men became “human resources”. Intellect became wealth. This economy was layered unto the natural world economy. It gave birth to the modern world and the modern corporation. To become a developing economy a nation must operate the Economy of Man.
The third economy is the subject of our discussion today. It is the Economy of Evaluation. Remember that evaluation was the third phase of creation. The first world economies operate this economy. Wealth from stock market was developed on it. The brand economy is a product of it.
In the economy of evaluation value is not in the intrinsic property of a product or resource, value is determined by the evaluation of a third party. The implication is that your worth or the value of your contribution is not determined by your capacities above, but what others think of your abilities.
In this economy ideas are powerful. Powerful ideas receive high valuation. Apple has no manufacturing plant yet its valuation is 9 times the value of a corporation like Porsche. Facebook is valued at 4 times Glaxosmithklime yet its major asset is algorithms. Twitter IPO puts its valuation at $9 billion, how come? The opinion of third parties as to worth! In this economy, ideas and intellectual property receive very high valuations. So strong is the dynamics of this economy that the market valuation of corporations now rivals the GDP of nations.
The brand is now a factor of production, just like land, labour, capital and enterprise.
The last economy predicted in the Book of Genesis is the Millennial Economy. The rest of God was the last phase of creation. This economy will usher in unprecedented prosperity. There will be global peace. Swords will be turned into ploughshares.
In accordance with Daniel’s prophecy the chief political actor in this era will be the Lord Jesus Christ. His government will operate an economic system unrivalled in the annals of human history.
These are the four economic dispensations revealed in the Book of Genesis. We are in the third economic dispensation. It’s why branding is taking ascendance. This is the economy of evaluation.
You have to master the dynamics of the third economic dispensation if you want to succeed. If you’re in business for example, you have to transit to your company to become a brand if you want to make more money. A brand never sells products. A brand sells dreams. It’s why brands do marketing and advertising – to sell dreams. Gucci doesn’t sell handbags. Gucci sells dreams. And dreams are expensive! It’s why the bags sell for thousands of dollars. A Hermès Birkin sells anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000. The pricing is not based on the cost of materials. Don’t you watch Swamp Men?! It’s the cost of dreams – the cost of your self esteem. It’s why they use beautiful models in those adverts – models with impossible configurations. They even photoshop the models – no blemishes. And the background is always Paris and Milan, not Mushin. It’s all about dreams.
Now let me reveal something to you.
You see, when Adam and Eve were cursed in the Garden of Eden, we imagine the curse was only spiritual, but it’s not! It was economic as well. They were cursed economically. All their factors of production were cursed. The land was cursed: it would not produce without sorrow and toil. The production of human resources was cursed: in sorrow the woman would bear. Their public image was cursed: they lost their home and position, started living below their appointed standard of living. And so three of the four economic dispensations were cursed. Only the fourth was spared and that’s because it belongs to the Last Adam.
The Natural Wealth Economy was cursed because the land was cursed. The Economy of Man was cursed because the reproductive system was cursed. The Economy of Evaluation was cursed because Adam and Eve lived in shame. The curses were economically and prophetically catastrophic. And like I said, the only untouched economic dispensation is the Economy of Rest – the one under the control of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If the fall of man was spiritual and economic it follows his salvation must be spiritual and economic, or else the salvation is not complete. It’s why Jesus died that we might become rich. It’s why our God supplies our needs according to his riches in Glory (Heaven). Salvation is not just a spiritual phenomenon. It is also economic. And when God says, “I give you power to get wealth” he’s talking about brand power as well. A brand makes people pay habitual obedience to a set of stimuli. It bends human will. Branding is one of the powers to get wealth. It’s what multinationals use.
You’ve got to understand brand economics. A brand is a store of value. Let me illustrate with a little known story. Let me take you farther.
In 1998, Rolls Royce put its car manufacturing unit up for sale. It wanted to concentrate on aeronautics – jet engines and the like. Two car companies made a bid for the manufacturing unit – Volkswagen and BMW. Volkswagen made a higher offer (£430m). BMW bid £340m and clinched the deal. And that was how Volkswagen got to manufacture Bentley and Rolls Royce cars.
But BMW had an epiphany. What if they license the Rolls Royce name and the RR logo? They made an offer to Rolls Royce and paid £40m for the Rolls Royce logo. And that was how BMW eventually took over the manufacturing of Rolls Royce cars leaving the Bentley to Volkswagen. The logo is the visual representation of the brand. It is a store of value. Don’t joke with your logo.
The word logo is from the Greek word Logos – the same word translated “word” in John 1:1: In the beginning was the word (logos)… The word is used 330 times in the New Testament. That should tell you how important it is. It is used 10 times for every year the Lord Jesus spent on earth. The person God first gave the revelation of the logos was an eccentric Greek philosopher called Heraclitus. He lived in the 6th century BC. To Heraclitus, the logos meant divine plan and reason. It is the controlling principle of the universe. It also means story, study, word, reason, quote…
As the logos, Jesus is the logo of God, his visual identity mark. It’s why he said, “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” And since the logos is the controlling principle of the universe, Jesus the logos upholds all things by the word of his power. And to that extent gravity is an expression of the word of his power.
Are you understanding?
The basis of Christianity is branding. Branding is based on covenant. When God made a covenant with Abraham, he used branding as a sign of the covenant. Circumcision was God’s trademark – the visual identity element. Now you understand why David kept referring to Goliath as an uncircumcised Philistine. He was saying Goliath had no covenant with God. Circumcision was a sign of covenant with God.
When God expanded the nation of Israel into a commonwealth, he retained circumcision as the brand identity. Only now the circumcision was not a fleshly circumcision but a circumcision of the heart. That was what Paul was explaining in Romans 2:29.
The Antichrist will use branding too. That’s how powerful branding is. He will use it as a tool of power – to subdue the world and control the global economy. The mark of the Beast is 666. It is a political power as well as economic equation. You must master the brand economy. Without this mastery you cannot exercise the dominion Christians so like to talk about.
Thank you and God bless.
Delivered at Foursquare Gospel Church, Gbagada Estate Phase 2 Gbagada, Lagos
Saturday, June 21, 2014
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org