Packaging Vs Substance

Hello August,

Happy New Month Lovelies! Feels so good to be in the 8th month of 2016!


July was just 31 days but it felt like 60 days to me… ‘cause a lot happened within the month. Right after counting my mid-year blessings, the enemy tried to steal my joy by bringing some crazy challenges my way… Was ill for most part of the month but I thank God that God remains a doting Father who takes care of His own while the devil remains a loser. So all in all, against all odds, July was a HUGE success and I’m so happy to see a new bright and beautiful month!

Welcome August, viewsofnow

Some of the high moments of the July include:

  1. FAB E’ aka Coach E’ of granted the CEO Memoirs of the blog an exclusive interview (just stay tuned for the publication )
  2. TWTW Meet on Saturday was super-duper ama-amazing! Far beyond our imaginations!!! (Deets of the Meet will be published on Friday)
  3. This past week was our Singles’ Week in church and twas a huge success! (The best we’ve had since the inception of the church).

D goodnews plenty but lemme just stop here so we can get into the meat of today’s e-Boost.

Today we’ll be talking about a subject that gives me serious concern… Packaging vs Substance – Which is more important?

And we have a seasoned guest writer to help us tackle this topic. Please seat back, read, learn and share your opinions in the comment box.

Packaging Vs Substance – Adeyemi Adeyelu

Adeyemi Adeyelu

In its simplest form, packaging refers to the sum total of your personal branding efforts – manner of speech, gait, fashion choices, conduct etc. Before I proceed, I’ll like to paint you 3 scenarios:

Scenario one: It is 7:20pm, you just got home after a long day at work and decide to listen to the radio. You tune to one of the popular radio stations and the presenter speaks with an American accent (the Nigerian version), you don’t quite flow with it so you tune to another radio station and the presenter speaks with an even more Nigerian version of American accent. Well, you don’t quite flow with it too so you decide to tune to another radio station and it’s the same thing.  At this point you’re wondering to yourself why every Nigerian OAP wants to talk like an American, well it is “packaging”.

Scenario two: You are on your way to a meeting (or to the church or you’re inside a banking hall) and you stumble into an old friend, you compliment him on his appearance and his response is “It is packaging o”. You smile and silently wonder what “packaging” he is referring to.

The next scenario is something I saw on a friend’s Facebook wall and found funny, it is not intended to demean any gender.

Scenario three: She walked into the banking hall, her pointed shoes announcing her arrival minutes before you saw her. She wore that kind of dress that convinces you that heaven is missing an angel and the aroma of her perfume would easily finish a bowl of eba for its sweetness. The phone which she gingerly held to her ear, without minding the security guy frantically waving at her that calls are not allowed in banking halls, will cost a small fortune.

She stepped forward, picked a deposit slip and searched frantically for a pen. About five guys offered her their pens but, shame to bad people; she took mine instead. Maybe because I was closest to her. After a while, or a long while because time stood still, she stood up and inched closer to me.

She whispered: ‘Please can you spell “thirty” for me?’ I looked down at her deposit slip in surprise. She’d written: ‘tarty tausan’!

Olodumare oooo!!!!!!

I hissed and snatched my pen from her hand. “Fine face, no brains!”

I am certain there’s a high likelihood that you have experienced one of those three cases recently.

So what exactly is “packaging” then?

In its simplest form like I defined earlier, packaging refers to the sum total of your personal branding efforts – manner of speech, gait, fashion choices, conduct etc. It is the sum total of how you want to be seen, your public image.

A bit of Biblical history, if you are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve, you probably focused on how the devil tricked man and caused him to lose his possession; that’s the broad theme. The sub-theme in that story is that Adam and Eve chose to sew leaves for themselves (packaging) instead of first pursuing reconciliation with God; they chose packaging over substance. I believe man have been rewired to desire the best packaged things since then.

Have you ever wondered why bleaching creams sell a lot? Most African countries have banned bleaching creams, yet a lot of these creams are still sold daily. Some people have said it has to do with inferiority complex, this may be true but I also believe it has to do with the desire to be properly packaged. Many of the people who bleach do it in order to appear more attractive, to have the “perfect” skin color. Many dark-skinned ladies believe fair ladies are more attractive so they “repackage” through bleaching so as to command attention. Some men also believe that fair men are more “frosh” so they “repackage” through bleaching in order to appear so.

Packaging in itself is not bad/evil. Proper packaging is, as a matter of fact, essential in our days. I know you probably know the old proverb that says “dress the way you want to be addressed”, a millennial version would be – “Package yourself the way you want to be priced”.

Packaging does a lot to influence perception as most people will first see or hear you from some distance before they ever get a chance to properly interact with you. The con men of old in Nigeria understood this so they were almost always impeccably dressed; it was easier to manipulate their victims that way. Your packaging is your first weapon to make an impression and you should keep it sharp.

In the first scenario above, I believe many OAPs wear the foreign accent so as to sound sophisticated and different from other “local” OAPs; the foreign accent is a sort of differentiator. It has worked so far, judging by the number of people in that industry who are trying to do the same thing. It is a good thing to always remember that – your packaging can set you apart from others, it can be a differentiator. As a rule of thumb, whatever your goal is, you should do your best to “appear it, talk it and behave it” before you become it. Now that you know how valuable proper packaging is, I think you should reassess your packaging efforts and make improvements where necessary.

That said, Packaging alone is not sufficient; it has to be backed up with “substance”. The US dollar used to be backed with bars of gold; those bars of gold were the substance/weight behind the notes in circulation. Likewise, your packaging has to be backed with bars of gold aka Substance.

One of the definitions for substance in the Merriam-Webster English dictionary is: “the quality of being meaningful, useful or important”. This is apt. While packaging is your outward image, substance is your inner quality – your usefulness, importance, meaningfulness, your ability to deliver value, etc.

It is pointless to be impeccably packaged without possessing the requisite substance to back it up; always remember that packaging requires substance to validate it. In fact, there’s nothing more annoying than meeting a person who “looks it, talks it, behaves it” but doesn’t “have it”. That is what the story in the third scenario highlights.

There is also a story in the Bible that accurately depicts this – Jesus was hungry and needed food. He saw a fig tree that had plenty leaves and looked like it had fruits on it (it was magnificently packaged). He moved close with expectation only to discover it only had leaves – no substance! It lacked actual usefulness. You can imagine how disappointed and annoyed He was. Little wonder he cursed the tree – that’s what happens when there is no valuable substance to validate an impressive packaging.

Also, one of the sad realities of this time is that as you get close to celebrities, leaders and religious figures, you shockingly discover that some of them do not possess much “substance” to back up their packaging. This is probably what is responsible for the many scandals we read about and the poor sense of judgement they sometimes exhibit.

Packaging is what attracts people to you while Substance is what keeps/retains them. Packaging may get you through the door; Substance, however, is what will ensure you are not thrown out the door. Packaging advertises and promises that you are able while Substance enables you to deliver on that promise. Packaging may help you get an opportunity but Substance is what will enable you maximize that opportunity. Substance equips you to build a legacy and that is what most people will remember you for. It is therefore invariably much more important that packaging. As a rule, you should spend twice as much resources on acquiring more substance than on improving your packaging.

So, whatever your dream is, make up your mind to acquire (and keep acquiring) substance in that area so that you will have something to deliver when your opportunity comes.

On a final note, packaging and substance are not mutually exclusive and should not be treated as such. You should spend time improving your packaging without neglecting or relegating the importance of acquiring more valuable substance. But if in any case you are required to choose between packaging and substance, don’t hesitate to choose the latter.

I heaved a deep sigh of relief after reading this enlightening article from the ‘young’ Elder. because he pretty much said my mind. It bothers me that a lot of youths focus most of their energy and resources in packaging to ‘keep up with the Kardashians’ but invest little or nothing to adding substance to their market value. I pray this article will touch and cause a lot of people, youths especially, to have a rethink and reassessment on where to invest more – packaging or substance.

Adeyemi Adeyelu is a Software developer with a difference who enjoys writing and sports analysis. You can read more of his works and other articles he has written for the blog here. You can reach him personally by following him on Twitter @yadeyelu or on Facebook @Yemi Adeyelu

Thank you for reading to the end, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment box and also subscribe to the blog to get all updates as soon as they are published.

Wishing y’all a Testimony-Filled August… Don’t forget to acquire more valuable substance this month.

Much Love,


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5 Replies to “Packaging Vs Substance”

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