In 2014, I had one of those brain waves that hit people once in a very long while, to write something that seem out of the ordinary, at the time that I penned it, for publication in the Daily Graphic entitled ‘MFANTSIPIM IS A BRAND’.
I followed it up with another article, “‘FOR ALL THE SAINTS’ – A Hymn That Defines Character of Mfantsipim”; and in both articles I sought to define how educational institutions build their brands over time from their dates of establishments.
I have gone further to articulate what I define as the ‘MFANTSIPIM DREAM’ with the publication of a book under the same title and I have some copies here for you shared between the two sets of attendances.
This evening, I intend to tackle the same issue from a different perspective: from the Good Book, the Holy Bible, specifically the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke, when our Lord Jesus Christ after a day’s work of being about His Father’s business, turned and asked: “WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM?”.
After several answers, including “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah, or (just) one of the ancient prophets has come back to life.” Matthew 16:14
And He said to them, “BUT WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” Matthew 16:15
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus answered him, “Blessed (happy, spiritually secure, favored by God) are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood (mortal man) did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:16-17
You see a BRAND is an intangible marketing or business or social concept that helps people identify a company, institution, product, or a person or an individual, or better still, a LIFESTYLE.
Brand is also a perception, or a make-believe.
It is also a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristics; a set of distinctive characteristics that establish a recognizable image or identity for a person or institution like MFANTSIPIM SCHOOL or WESLEY GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL; the kind, grade, or make of a product or service, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, a SCHOOL CREST or LOGO or mark or SLOGAN; a kind of variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristics, including academic laurels over years or rituals, evolved by the Founding Fathers / Mothers or Sisters of the School.
Admittedly, it could also include building one’s personal brand like my surname REXDANQUAH with its own logo and brand attributes and brand manual for my children, their children and my descendants or better still, my bloodline. This is in the context of keeping with the distinctive characteristics that establish a recognizable identity for a person or a family like a trade name or trademark and serves to identify a particular person or group of students from a particular school.
Brand attributes encapsulate the core values or characteristics or personality traits; the six (6) main attributes being
- Purpose-driven; and
In a speech delivered in November 1956 (a year plus after my birth) on the occasion of the Mfantsipim Speech Day, Sir Gordon Hadow, a former Deputy Governor of the then Gold Coast, who worked with old boys from all the secondary schools in the country in the Civil Service, stated inter alia:
…certain qualities, which those (i.e. Old Boys of Mfantsipim) have in common in greater or less degree.
It is basically the capacity to apply one’s mind objectively to the great variety of problems one meets in life, both at work and at home. It is essentially a taught capacity, not an innate or natural flair – a capacity which has been gained the hard way, by strenuous and continuous endeavour at the school desk. The fortunate man who has acquired it takes each problem as it comes; examines it coolly, with the emotions kept carefully under control, sets aside all irrelevances; and reaches his conclusion by an orderly process of thought.
Having reached his conclusion about a particular problem, the possessor of this quality may, and often finds the conclusion distasteful. He does not, however, abandon it on this account. On the contrary, however distasteful it may be, he does not flinch from facing it nor does he pretend to himself that the process of thought has in fact led him to some different and more acceptable conclusion.
Having swallowed what may often be an unpalatable conclusion, the individual forms a considered judgement of his part in the situation and proceeds to take action in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience.
The quality then which I have seemed to detect in my Mfantsipim acquaintances is compounded of mental discipline, mental honesty, and moral courage. This is a rare and formidable combination. It is rare in every country in the world and I will not be so disingenuous as to suggest that every boy who passes through Mfantsipim automatically becomes imbued with it. But I will and do suggest that all of you here at Mfantsipim have access to this quality, and that it is up to you whether you claim it as your own or not.
Your School has produced many leaders, and if society at large has recognized them as such, then in all probability, society has noted in them a capacity for service; capacity for service is a precondition of leadership. I wholeheartedly believe that there is a great need in the world for leadership which has graduated through service and is mentally and morally equipped as I have described. Someone has said that ‘the men who move the world are the men whom the world cannot move’. He doubtless had in mind the sort of character of which I have been speaking and would, I venture to think, have felt very much at home, with the founding fathers of Mfantsipim. He would have rejoiced, as I do, that they had so well-prepared the Mfantsipim soil in which these characteristics can freely be cultivated, to the lasting benefit of the community as a whole.
To my mind, in conclusion, there are indeed several qualities that ought to mould our characters, whether we spend or spent three, four, five, or seven years at the School before we pass on into the world outside Mfantsipim. These qualities include, to:-
You see, the whole issue of BRAND is about perceptions of people; the act or faculty of perceiving, or apprehending by means of the senses of the mind and understanding; the immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral, psychological, or aesthetic qualities; insight; intuition; and discernment.
The two (2) questions posed by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – “WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT THE SON OF MAN IS?” and “BUT WHO DO YOU SAT THAT I AM?” are both from the points of perception and exactly that is how we perceive products of both schools after they graduate or leave these two schools.
These are also set against the dreams of the Founding Fathers, Mothers and Sisters of the two institutions and together, they serve to define WHO WE ARE AS OLD STUDENTS as brands.
Thank you for your attention.