We had the good fortune of connecting with Teju Aluko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Teju, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind our success has been discipline and discernment.
We have such an innovative and unique approach to marketing, branding, and business building; oftentimes it goes against the grain from what social media, society, or the industry tells us. So, it takes discipline to stay steadfast in our pursuit to champion strategy over tactics, two-way communication over sales pitches, and consistency over ‘prisoners of the moments’, and much more. In addition to that, when experiential marketing is mentioned it’s usually referenced in terms of events or activations and we’ve been able to prove that it’s a much more beneficial concept than that. We’re not positioned as a “quick fix” or siloed approach type of Firm and sometimes that can be challenging within our industry and with the market sophistication of those outside of our industry. So without discipline it would be “easier” to derail from what makes us, us.
But, 2020 was really crucial for us, as it displayed why businesses that were event heavy needed diversified and unified experiences to balance and sustain their businesses, or businesses that hadn’t established relationships with their Stakeholders through two-way communication struggled to weed through the noise, chaos, and performative measures during the uprisings and people could see through it – something we had been championing for so long as it’s one of the major core pieces of our business. Being disciplined in our approach since 2018 led to 2020 being one of our most successful years to date.
But exercising discipline can also be a good challenge to have. Our unique approach puts us in a good spot, as we’re a Full-Service Firm and can provide most of the services that a Stakeholder would need 5-6 agencies to do. Because of that we receive a lot of inquiries from businesses to partner with us on their refreshed, rebranded, or rebooted experiences – and that’s where the discernment comes in. Our qualifiers aren’t just discovery questionnaires and calls, budget alignment, and capacity but, about mindset and company culture because there lies the emotions and feelings needed to build a sustainable brand experience from the inside out. We’ve been able to partner with some really great Stakeholders over the past few years with this method and I attribute that to our discernment — we still have our very first Stakeholder for 2018. So discipline and discernment have definitely been the most important factors in our success thus far.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Branperience [pronounced /bran-/spear-/re-/ence] is a Full- Service Brand Experience Firm that I founded in 2018 in a coffee shop in Downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin (my hometown) with my two daughters who were 13 & 15 at the time.
I spent the better half of my career in the Branding and Marketing space in various industries and leading organizations from corporate retail to professional sports; and I decided I was going to apply my thought leadership and approach that I developed through professional and personal experiences I’ve experienced along the way. The goal was to influence and impact the industry by building Brand Experiences, not just campaigns and trends, that could run alongside and past the “big guys”. I started to partner with small businesses to sustain their experiences, despite dramatic budget & capacity differences, through memorable Brand Experiences fueled by feelings and emotions, a varying form of experiential marketing. And that’s what we’ve done everyday since 2018 as a one-stop, all inclusive Firm and a team full of empaths committed to building brands through memorable brand experiences, the experiential way.
Over the past few years we developed a diverse portfolio supporting an array of industries, most notably in Sports & Entertainment, Nonprofits, and Social Impact Organizations across the Country with our unique approach to Brand Experiences; that center end-to-end journeys through emotion-led relationships – not just one-off transactions like traditional Marketing and Branding. We’re people building for people; and, as people, we have emotions and feelings and those emotions and feelings are involved in everything we do – down to the way we use products, services, brands…everything. Science tells us that 90% of the decisions we make are based on emotion, not this rational thinking that we think they are – so we account for them and that’s what sets us apart in our approach.
Everyday I’m most proud of the impact and results we continuously provide while fostering great relationships throughout the process. Our approach has also been proven to be “pandemic-proof” and I attribute that to building brands that are more than transactional in a time where being sold to is the last thing people want.
The journey has been just that, a journey, but the road has been smooth enough that the few bumps that popped up on the drive weren’t big enough to stop us. We’ve learned and leaned on the three Ds we operate by: disciple, discernment, and decisions to keep us steadfast in our pursuit.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Most of my days consist of sports, shopping, experiences, and food, so that’s usually the itinerary when I have visitors. The unique part of that is that I try to divide up the days by city to do all those activities in. But, narrowing the schedule down is always a struggle because time still doesn’t permit all of the amazing things, people, and places to go and do in LA. However, the ‘must-stops’ are Leimert Park, the Drew League, Hilltop and Downtown Inglewood, hiking in the Hollywood Hills and horseback riding on Griffith Park with the Observatory at night. Of course, driving down the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to Malibu for dinner at Nobu. Rodeo Drive, The Grove, and food at one of the many great restaurants in Beverly Hills. The long list of hot spots in West Hollywood, especially one of my favorite restaurants, Ysabel. Downtown, of course, to see the many Kobe murals, games at Staples Center, lots of fun at L.A. Live – and that’s the short list of things we’ll do.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Everything I am and do is because of God and my family, so they’re always my shoutout: My daughters – Madi and Bailey, My Mother, Kasandra, my Sisters – Tameya and Taylor, My Niece Zora, my Nephew Milo, my Uncle Kevin, my Aunt Val, my little Cousin Kennady, my Uncle Chris, my honorary Grandparents Auntie and Sammy, and last but not least those who are no longer here on earth with me: my Cousin Ebony, My Grandfather Elvis, and my Grandma Ruby…for all the countless hours of listening, seeing, supporting, and loving me since birth this Shoutout is for y’all.
Other: Podcast: https://anchor.fm/branperience