By Ijeoma Ekwowusi
Our orient woman this edition is the wave making, world famous branding Empress, Chizor Malize who is the CEO of Brandzone Consulting, a strategy-led brand consultancy firm with a portfolio of brands from sectors that include banking, oil and gas, automobile, airline, manufacturing and hospitality.
This branding queen from Ukpor, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State has been able to build formidably build a success in a career that is predominantly male dominated. As a successful Internationally recognized brand expert, Lady Malizie graced one of the editions of forbes magazine early this. She was also picked as one of the few women of substance honoured by the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Anambra chapter couple of months back. She is the Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Brandzone Consulting LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) with specialization in marketing.
She is a professional member of the Chartered Institute of marketing (CIM), London and an Executive Education alumnus of both the London Business school, Columbia University, New York. On what was growing up days like, she retorted, “Growing up for me was fun but quite structured, I was raised by a military father who retired from the Nigerian Navy and so discipline and quality were core family values instilled in us while growing up. I have come to appreciate that discipline plays a key role in the level of performance output by individuals, businesses, governments and nations alike. The challenge for some people in upholding the value or attribute of discipline is that it necessitates rigour and personal sacrifice comfort. Unfortunately, most people avoid the rigours that birth excellence. As such discipline and diligence are natural with me”.
The beautiful, elegant, savvy Madam Brandzone who can best be described as fun loving, audacious, optimistic and disciplined hinted that what made her stand out is her ability to dare new territories, challenges and uncertainties. She added: “I celebrate people who are defined by their courage, bravery and the willingness to chase their dreams. I am most confident in the choices that I make and ever willing to face the consequences of my choices. I Chizor Malize The Branding Queen am also a very optimistic person. Some people describe me as full of energy, lively and exuberant, happy and warmly which I believe is the result of my positive disposition. I choose to see opportunities in every situation.
I am optimistic about every goal I set, no matter how small or how big. Oftentimes my optimism is a great success propeller”. Lady Chizor, who never ceases to pay glowing tribute to her mother, her first coach averred that her mother who is her superwoman was a great influence in her life. In her words: “My mom has been my greatest influence. I grew up knowing my mom to be one of the strongest women of her times. She is strong, bold and a woman leader. An intelligent and quintessential educationist, an entrepreneur and a mentor who molds and shapes people within her network which is large and diverse. Her vision for family is unparalleled. I think about all of the sacrifices she made to give us her children the best. Like a lion her cubs, my mother was very protective and encouraged of our dreams. Because she is a considerate person, she would go as far as helping many outside her family. She is a very positive person and she never let anything bring her down”. The cerebral branding thespian is a mother of three lovely children who are themselves a chip of the old block, on motherhood she offered, “I am blessed with three accomplished young adults who are charting their own course for living a fulfilled and impactful life. As a family, our core principles are faith in God, love, compassion and respect for others, we maintain a very dynamic, loving and supportive family life. In the pursuit of our family goals and aspiration, we respect goal and aspiration; we respect one another for the value we add to the lives of each other. We recognize that everybody is a part of a whole and each brings something to the highly analytical and the high performer. We strive to blend all of the potentials as we pursue our purpose in life”. On her passion she said, “I am passionate about God, family and enterprise. I delight in coaching and mentoring young people, especially women. I am frequently involved in “on the spot mentoring “, structured coaching women and long-term mentorship program. I have a number of young people to whom I provide direction and guidance by drawing from my diverse experiences in entrepreneurship, corporate experiences, board membership and my family life. I am a fun loving person and often described as radiant and exuding happiness and warmth”. On what the internationally recognized brand, Brandzone is all about, she offered, “Brandzone Consulting LLC, www. brandzonellc.com, is a globally inspired multidisciplinary brand consulting firm founded on the premise to help organizations creatively and innovatively align their branding and marketing strategy to their business goals and objectives. We help organizations realize their full potentials of their brands. We do this by creating world-class solutions in Branding, Communications, and Digital/New Media. We have built and or managed some of the most innovative brands in the local and international business community. We have also created some indigenous new brands of repute.
Among this portfolio of brands we have managed include: Total, BMW, Land Rover, Qatar Airways, Heritage Bank, Fidelity Bank, Falcon Corporation, Virgin Forest Energy, Aquila Leasing, Alphastar Paints, Truck-it and the George Hotel Brands”. On exploring on this difficult terrain if she has ever thought of giving in the trowel, she offered, “no, not at all. I am naturally a very fearless person and I am never intimidated to take on new roles or take on challenges and uncertainties. Fear of failure can hold you back from achieving success. Instead of worrying abouit what other people think or outcomes that I have no control over, I let go of fears and experience the freedom to succeed or fail because even with failure comes learning. For me there is never a ‘CAN’T DO’! Continuing, she went philosophically, “Only you can decide the life that’s right for you. I am passionate about learning, I have ideas that are unconventional, I also want to make things happen and I want to change both my nation and the world and impact positively. To make all these happen, you need to be in control of your life, your time and your resources. Starting Brandzone over 8 years ago, I chose the path that offered me the tremendous opportunity of maximizing my potentials while affecting others and the world positively. I am extremely structured, methodical and disciplined. I had all the consequences of switching from banking to entrepreneurship weighed out and by God’s grace most of the plans have played out positively”. As a woman thriving in an industry termed to be exclusively for men, on what are those things she has been able to pull to scale through, she hinted, “I have not faced any peculiar challenge or inhibition that is gender related in my career. Probably owing to strong mentorship program, I learnt early that women can thrive side by side with men in any industry without having to change who they are. As I moved up in my career, I spent a great deal of time mentoring and advising other people, both men and women. One of the greatest lessons I learnt is that finding results, men and women get to the answers differently. Men seem to be more confident and self assured about a lot of things while women are much more cautions, risk averse and more intrinsic. Each style is an asset, not a disadvantage, and both women and men can work collaborating by harnessing each of the traits for optimum impact in their individual businesses, their families and the society as a whole”. On bold steps taken so far, she said, “I would say successfully transitioning from paid employment to entrepreneurship. Working at Brandzone today, every project has brought us a different kind of challenge as well as excitement and success story. From working on global brands such as Range Rover, BMW and Qatar Airways and helping to develop and advance indigenous brands such as Falcon Corporation, Virgin Forest Energy, Aquila Leasing, First Ally Capital and The George Hotel Brand. The most intriguing projects were the banking brands we developed such as Heritage Bank and Fidelity Bank. The vision was to develop financial service brands that can stand their own amongst the highly competitive environment that sector is known for. The dynamism and creativity we threw into both projects are reflected in the fresh, contemporary and world class feel both brands embolden. Every project we handle we see as great accomplishments as they bring tremendous value to our clients’ business. With regards to personal accomplishments, I would say being appointed to the Jury Board of REBRAND™, U.S based and the world’s leading brand transformation organization responsible for the REBRAND 100® Global Awards, winning the Marketing and Brand Personality of the year award in Nigeria for 2016 and recently, the Most Outstanding Female Brand Personality in Nigeria for 2018. All are demonstrable of the confidence the market has in me and the great things I have done in and for the industry both locally and internationally. I am indeed honoured and delighted for all the recognitions.