OPINION: Alien Skin and a lesson in cultivating brand love , loyalty


By Solomon Walter Muleyi

Musical artiste Patrick Mulwana alias Alien Skin is in the news again. It’s another of many scuffles where he emerges, always, as a ghetto champion. This time, there is a video of him jumping off a moving police Pick-up truck (the notorious ‘Kabangali’ ) that had arrested him.

So perhaps we will add Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible to his list of mischief. He is renowned for quite a number of hit songs. The type that the mass audience vibe to. The type that the ‘Muntu Wa Wansi’ relates to. But the corporates ,the middle class and wannabe middle class, who make-up the rest of the local music consumption population, act like they don’t care about him or his music.

When in truth, they have also grown to love his personality. They can’t afford to be seen vibing to his music in public. But the scuffle between him and fellow musician, where it appears Alien Skin was wrongfully attacked by Pallaso seems to imply otherwise.

The topic has been trending at number one on twitter for a whopping 36 hours. The interesting bit is; it seems like 80% of the twitterat, the grammar Nazis, and everyone in the aforementioned bracket of posturing Alien Skin haters; seems to be madly in love with him.

They have fallen prey to all the narratives, and are empathetic of him over Pallaso, even without knowing the details. He has turned them into mushy people willing to openly discuss their effusive love for his brand. How they got here is the question that lingers on many a mind.

The answer is; he did lead them here. His is a crude, and yet huge master class for branding that many corporate brands (and fellow musicians or anyone looking to build a brand) can borrow from. Let’s delve into the ‘how’.

Understanding the brand; Alien Skin

There is musical branding, and there is the enigma of Alien Skin. He postures as the "ghetto president," a symbol of hope and inspiration for every kid in the ghetto.

It appears as though he has defied the odds and risen to fame, becoming a role model for many. In his songs, he embodies a paradoxical nature; the unsung paragon of the famous ghetto audacity, courage and wisdom. This juxtaposition strikes a chord with his audience, resonating deeply within their hearts and minds.

Through his songs, Alien Skin exudes an intriguing blend of recklessness and bravery. His lyrical prowess resonates with his audience, painting a vivid picture of a man on the move, dedicated to supporting and uplifting his community.

He stands as a leader who breaks bread with his people, protecting and championing his own. In the larger narrative of the ghetto, Alien Skin emerges as a hero, tirelessly striving to rewrite the stories that have been etched into its history.

Humor is one of Alien Skin's secret weapons. He wields it with finesse, injecting a dose of light-heartedness into his brand.

Although it may seem as if he lays bare all his thoughts and experiences, not everything is as it appears. There is an enigmatic charisma that surrounds him, leaving people intrigued and wanting more.

During interviews, his answers dance around the questions, teasing the interviewers with playful ambiguity. His intentional playfulness creates an atmosphere of joviality, leaving the audience wondering if he meant for it to unfold that way. And indeed, it always does.

Behind every move, every TikTok video, lies a calculated communication strategy. Alien Skin understands the power of defining a brand personality and staying true to it.

By establishing a distinct voice, tone, and character, he presents a unified and original vision of his music brand to the public. This unwavering consistency in brand identity goes a long way in cultivating trust among his fan base.

The ensemble of all the above and his uncanny ability to captivate his audience are what make him unique, and consequently give him the ability to effortlessly cultivate brand love and loyalty.

What your company could pick

It certainly isn’t the gritty "ghetto vibe" or his occasional consumption of the illicit miraa drug that corporations should adopt. It isn’t his choice of language either; or appearance and so many of the things that define Alien Skin.

It is his ability to define and maintain a brand personality that is an invaluable lesson. Corporate entities can learn from his deliberate and consistent approach, which allows them to differentiate themselves and create a lasting impact. Defining a brand identity and establishing a genuine connection with the audience can transform mere consumers into loyal advocates.

By cultivating a unique brand persona, Alien Skin has fostered trust and loyalty among his followers. People resonate with authenticity, and his unwavering commitment to his chosen image has earned him a dedicated fan base.

Corporate companies should aim to emulate this level of consistency, as it plays a pivotal role in building trust and fostering long-term relationships with customers.

Alien Skin, the musical brand, has harnessed the power of storytelling and authenticity to forge a deep connection with his audience.

His brand persona as the "ghetto president" embodies resilience, community support, and a sense of humor. By embracing and embodying these qualities, corporate companies can learn to define their brand, establish a unified voice, and cultivate trust.

Just as Alien Skin has captivated the hearts and minds of his followers, corporate entities can aspire to create a brand that evokes love, loyalty, and admiration.

The writer is a Public Relations and Branding Expert at Adris Digital Africa.

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