Meet Elsie Netia, The founder, and CEO of Brand Magna – a boutique digital brand strategy and communications agency. She is from Nairobi, Kenya and her current mantra is “Go the extra mile, it’s less crowded there.” She hopes to inspire and motivate the current breed of female entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and to trust in God. She is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend but most importantly she is a Christian.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Please introduce yourself to our readers by sharing your story.
Elsie Netia: My name is Elsie Omondi Netia, the founder, and CEO of Brand Magna. I hail from Nairobi Kenya in a small estate called “Umoja.” I didn’t start off as a professional marketer, in fact, I was convinced that my future was in fashion. But I met with a phenomenal Kenyan designer called Ann Mccreath and she helped me see that I had a natural strength in transforming businesses into brands and an eye for marketing. When I finally decided to pivot to join the marketing and strategy industry it was seamless. I have never looked back or regretted this decision. When I started my agency, it was around the same time that covid struck and that is when my agency really took flight. It has been an extreme learning curve, in fact, I am still learning but loving it.
2020-2021 was unlike any other year. What is your favorite item you’ve bought in the past months and why?
Elsie Netia: To be quite honest, baby stuff. I had a baby 2 months ago, a son. I already have 2 daughters so shopping and preparing for a son has got to be the most fulfilling thing I have done in the past couple of months.
Life is like a box of chocolates…What unexpected surprises did life grant you that contributed to your success?
Elsie Netia: Having a brother who is on an almost similar career path as mine. This has turned out to be a true gift because we have ended up being a strong team. He is the creative lead at Brand Magna.
Tell us about the job. Is there any exciting project you’re currently working on?
Elsie Netia: Yes, yes, yes. We are currently assisting my husband in setting up his innovative venture online. He is building a platform that is set to impact the automotive world globally and we are more than excited.
Sir Richard Branson famously stated that “Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” As a CEO/leader how do you feel about this philosophy and if you agree with it, how do you implement that in your company? Conversely, if you disagree, explain why and how do you do things differently?
Elsie Netia: I totally agree. I have experienced this personally. I have worked and I’m still working with a man who changed my view on how an employer should treat employees. His name is Mr. Andrew White, a very brilliant and successful advertising guru in Africa. Because of how he treated me, I was compelled to do my best to ensure that the job he gave me was done to perfection. Anything less would have felt like a betrayal. I hope that my employees will have the same attitude towards my business.
According to a breakthrough study conducted by Weber Shandwick, leaders worldwide believe that 45% of a business’ market value is dependent on a CEO’s reputation. We would love to know your thoughts about this. How important is a CEO’s online reputation?
Elsie Netia: Oh, very important. A good reputation is directly proportional to the level of trust accorded to you. If you have a good reputation people have more confidence in you thus whatever you offer them or refer to them they will accept with open arms because they trust you. If you set yourself up as a thought leader, your business will be accorded the same respect.
Do you have a specific anecdote that comes to mind or a news story that helped you realize how critical it is to be mindful of the online reputation, on a personal or company level? Please share how it “opened your eyes”
Elsie Netia: Yes, I have seen quite a number of “celebrities” here in my country who have had instances where their reputation has been challenged in a negative way, and also immediately key sponsors and prime gigs that they had would be gone in an instant. The reason was that these sponsors and businesses did not want any kind of association with that kind of reputation.
Once you are a public figure, this includes business owners, always realize that your reputation is always going to e considered as a direct representation of what is in your head and heart. A good reputation means a clear head and a clean heart, the reverse is also true.
Do you have a set of principles and strategic actions that you and your management team abide by to maintain a good online reputation? What are they and how effective have they been?
Elsie Netia: Yes, at Brand Magna we are chasing after “thought leadership.” Only talk about what our audience is currently seeking to hear and provide high-level information on that constantly and consistently. All other ground is sinking sand.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, in many cases, it pushed the employees and the consumers to critical stress points. How did you lead your team through these difficult times and maintain a good reputation?
Elsie Netia: I was a bit lucky because when Covid struck my team was rather small. One thing we did purposefully was to take one day at a time. We just wanted to make it through the day without dropping the ball and we all had the liberty to work at our most productive hours. Morning people worked in the morning and night owls worked at night. That was sanity was preserved.
The COVID pandemic raised a lot of polarizing politically charged issues. According to ‘The Harris Poll’, 75% of Americans said that they would avoid taking a position on political issues if they were CEOs. We would love to know your thoughts about this. Is it better to take a political position or to avoid it completely When it comes to being a great CEO/Leader, do you have one name that comes to mind, please share with us how they influence the CEO you are today? What lessons did they teach you over the years?
Elsie Netia: I stay away from politics but if it’s a matter that touches my heart that happens to have some political bearing I will find creative ways to indulge. Oh yes, Mr. Tony Elumelu and Andrew White. Seeing them do it always gives me the hope that ” it can be done.” Never lose your vision no matter how hard times get.
You have been very generous with your time and knowledge. Our readers would also love to know, What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? and what is the advice you give the most often to new team members?
Elsie Netia: The best advice for me comes from the Bible where it says that we have been given everything pertaining to life and Godliness. This tells me that there is always a solution. In the words of Marie Forleo “Everything is figurative.” If we put our creative, innovative, and smart hats on we will always find a solution to whatever seems to trouble us. That freed me.
Something I always tell new members is “be ready to learn and un-learn”. If you “know it all” then you have no room to grow and if you’re not flexible to change your mind on what you already think you know then you will never embrace change. Change is a part of growth too.
Thank you so much for your time but before we say goodbye, we do have one more unusual question. If you ask yourself any question what would it be and how would you answer it?
Elsie Netia: “What are you ultimately after Elsie”?
Answer; To be a part of the solution. In my generation, in my industry, and even in life I want to be part of the solution. No matter how small my efforts will be I hope they will make a difference.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Elsie Netia for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Elsie Netia or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
Did you enjoy this article? Check out similar stories:
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.