Let me begin by saying I got the inspiration to write this article after reading some LinkedIn post about branding. Of course, we are not in for some rap battle or anything of that sort but “Mr. Incredibles Branding Secrets” sounds like some catchy header to drive home some important branding lessons you should take back to your company — relevant if you’re deliberate about your personal brand.

If you’re close to me you’d know how passionate I am about music, and rap being a very important appendage. So, it is very easy for me to birth relatable content from that well.

The name Jude Abaga, also known as M.I, Mr. Incredible e.t.c needs no intro. A recording artiste from Jos in Nigeria who has had us singing to his songs for more than a decade with 2 Extended Playlists, 4 mixtapes and 4 studio albums as with countless accolades in his arsenal. Without doubt He is a Legend within the African/Nigerian rap space. But that’s not why we are here, we need to learn some important branding lessons from the brand M.I Abaga.

Yes! I said brand because not only products are brands, people can be branded too —athletes, artistes, actors etc. How do you see Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Christiano Ronaldo, Elon Musk and Kanye West without using their hustle as bias?! They are Brands!

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a name, term, design, symbol or a collection of features that identifies a person, product or service as distinct from others. For instance, what’s the difference between the regular Garri bagged in nylons and “Koko Garri”? Did somebody say Garri wey go Harvard?! No, it’s all branding.

That said, let’s examine the brand “Mr. Incredible” based on two key Marketing concepts — Brand Life Cycle and Brand Equity.

We learnt in High school that the Housefly passes through the Egg, Larva and Pupa phases during their life cycle before becoming adults. All brands pass through four important and compulsory phases in their brand life cycle viz Introduction, Growth, Maturity and Decline.


Introduction: M.I started making music after returning to Nigeria in 2003 but didn’t get his big break until 2006 with “crowd mentality”. He followed up with tracks like “Safe” and “Anoti”— all featured in his “Talk about it” album,

Growth – Maturity: The year 2008, 2009 and 2010 saw the birth of a new wave. The M.I brand was on fire, delivering on His brand promise with the positioning as “the best rapper ever to come out of Nigeria” dethroning the likes of Modenine, Ruggedman and Eedris AbdulKareem.

Decline: The rather unfortunate decline in followership or death of the rap culture and the rather interesting international acceptance of Afrobeat saw the genre struggle in Nigeria. Our darling rap brand M.I was not spared as his projects did not attract the deserved acceptance with his brand perception shrinking gradually leaving only his loyalists.

Rebirth: The rapper attempted a comeback to limelight with a rap face-off involving fellow rapper Vector in a tactic aimed at reviving the dying rap culture in the country. Effective in keeping him somewhat afloat.

However, M.I maintained a classy brand voice all through. Staying consistent with his Creator brand Archetype.

Brand Equity essentially defines a brands value. The drivers of brand equity such as brand awareness, perceived quality, innovation/differentiation, brand association, and brand loyalty help in identifying the value and power of a brand and determines its worth.

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Brand Awareness: The M.I brand is without doubt the headline name when it comes to rap in Nigeria and easily resonates amongst rap listeners and none listeners. A household name that needs no introduction.

Perceived Quality: In the music industry; a seasoned professional. Within the rap niche; an undisputed Legend. He championed the revolution that brought about quality and depth within the rap game in Nigeria.

Brand Association: His brand oozes positivity all round and is synonymous with quality, panache, swagger and confidence— assessing his dressing style down to his album art.

Brand Loyalty: M.I has a strong following with stans from the 20-30 something age range. His following might not be as diverse and large as Afrobeat wonder kids Wizkid, Davido and BurnaBoy. However, his admirers are non-relentless.

Take Home

Every brand or product goes through a life cycle (introduction, growth, maturity, and decline). It is important to be aware of the current stage of your brand, while keeping in mind the key drivers of brand equity. Insights on this will aid you in developing the right strategy to stay relevant in your market and rise above your competitors.

We have seen all the top brands transition through maturity, decline and rebirth again and again. However some of them die, they die all sorts of deaths like “legislative apoptosis” — inserts Opay’s hailing service in 2020.

Whether your personal brand or corporate brand is in the decline stage, you still have an opportunity to give it a rebirth. One of the ways I believe you can achieve this is by leveraging on your past wins, connecting with your target audience, and staying innovative. Actually, face the market. Give the customers value or you die!

Is your brand on the decline phase? Are you tired of investing so much into marketing without realizing deserved ROI’s? Try out innovative solutions!


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