This is a reverse-guesting episode where I was interviewed about my experiences as a seasoned digital marketer, entrepreneur, and leader, and how the skills I’ve learned can be applied to other industries.
Ms. Leizel Obuga is the CEO of MSI Modelling. It’s an 18-year-old company that she started herself.
MSI Modeling started in 2002. They cater to students as young as 4 to 26 years old. We focus solely on personality development. They use modeling to develop their poise and posture, how they would carry themselves. They also give them experiences on photoshoots like photography and videography.
Their tagline is “Learning how to be a model without looking like one”. People can look like a model even if you’re not.
They have been doing this for quite a while, so what they stand up for has now become an advocacy.
Leizel has been a model for thirty years. She started MSI Modeling just after she was done with her modeling career.
So far, MSI Modeling is doing well and has produced many graduates that have pursued beauty pageants, modeling careers, and even become flight attendants.
Leizel thinks of her students as her own children. There’s a personal touch to our lessons. Coming from a mother, she knows that every peso is a big investment, especially in education. It’s this personalization that sets her business apart from the rest.
Do you think that we can still improve? What aspects can we still improve on? Aside from Facebook, we are very traditional with our advertisements.
Based on their post-event evaluations, there has been a decrease in students in the past two years.
That is still not that bad, considering that the boom of the digital age here in the Philippines happened in 2010.
Leizel is currently wondering where the increase of people went to since there isn’t any kind of shortage of people whatsoever.
A lot of models might not have had as many opportunities as they have today. Before, modeling would have been one of the prestigious jobs out there. Nowadays, there’s a slew of new jobs that are made available by the digital market.
The most relatable of which would be influencer marketing. It’s quite new in the advent of Facebook and Instagram since they didn’t even exist before.
Leizel should find a way to tap that market.
My suggestion is that you start a campaign that circles around training people on how they can be effective and efficient influencers. This could be a good marketing approach.
I know for a fact that many young people nowadays don’t want to become a traditional model anymore. They prefer to have their own blogs, websites, social media profiles, etc.
If they prefer to go that route, will you have a way of being heard in that arena? If not, then you’re missing out on countless opportunities.
Bear in mind that they do need to learn how to pose better as well as how to act more naturally in front of a camera because you still need to be engaging to the audience. Otherwise, people will not engage with you as an influencer.
The thing is, so many people want to become an influencer that the industry itself has become very competitive. With the excess in the supply of influencers, the margins will shrink and competition will get tighter.
What Liezel can do is encourage budding influencers to be the best they can be from the get-go. That will be their advantage. Your students will have that edge against their competitors.
Once they learn and graduate from your school, they will have an edge as they compete in the influencer industry.
It’s been our goal to open up another branch. What do you think we should do? How do you think did this happen to us?
If it’s going to be company-owned, you have to ask yourself what are the necessary things that you need in order to open one up in a certain location?
For example, SEO Hacker created a branch in Melbourne, but we only have a virtual office and people who can take sales calls and go to meetings. We don’t need another set for operations there because it can be done here.
Identify all the essentials that you need to open up a branch.
If you’re going the franchise route, you have many things to plan out for.
You have created quality standards, you have to plan how and when you will charge a royalty, you have to plan how your franchisees will open up their own areas.
You will also be responsible for the training needed by the staff for that branch. All of the foundational concepts are still provided by you.
I would suggest that you first create controlled branches before you delve into franchising. It will be more work for you, but it will be worth it.
This is how the big franchises function. They open up controlled branches in good areas to show that they’re profitable, then when people ask to franchise it, they will be helped in scouting for a location that will ensure a good ROI.
You need to start with a controlled branch first before franchising because that’s how you will be able to franchise effectively. If you have a branch that doesn’t have your physical presence, the problems will surface. Once you find them out, you can solve them, and make the franchising process more streamlined and effective.