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Sustaining brand after initial rapid growth

The events of the last two weeks in Zimbabwe were evidence of how change can happen in a society in so little time.

Brand Savvy with Stha Magida & Mufaro Zhou

Evan Mawarire soon after he was freed by the courts in Harare two weeks ago
Evan Mawarire soon after he was freed by the courts in Harare two weeks ago

We analysed the events of the fortnight and discovered that we both view events in practically the same way and this is with a bias towards the marketing field — the field that we know best. Our conversation immediately took to branding. We were both mesmerised at how much a single individual with the right attitude and message can change so much of the population’s perceptions on certain subjects. This was a case of a man who was not selling or marketing your regular product but a passion and a belief of what he thought was right. He was just out to reach out to the hearts, minds and emotions of people and the results are there for all of us to see. The story was not about whether one believes in his cause but how so many people started realising how much they could also stand up to partner with each other as well as #Thisflag for a single agenda. Activities happening in Zimbabwe in the past month made us realise how much a brand can shape and influence the lives of so many people. A successful brand was built in the shortest of time but has influenced so much within the society. We are not even sure if Evan Mawarire knew he was going to go this far in influencing and charging the minds of people. However, in the end his brand made an impact. Only time will tell if the brand will stand the test of time. A brand that led to more than 5 000 people attending a court case, influenced more than 100 lawyers to standup to represent one individual, a song to be composed and go viral overnight, an unplanned night vigil and so many unknown voices rising from everywhere on social media. #Thisflag has become a brand that everyone has come to know within a short space of time. Even those who wanted to stop the brand’s momentum ended up giving up and letting the brand be.

With all the rising voices hinged on #Thisflag within a once beautiful and quiet country, recent events taught us that a successful brand has to be built in sincerity upon a solid base. It has to be built on what people can truly believe in and forever hold onto. The brand builder has to be passionate in what they do regardless of what people initially think or perceive of him. What truly matters is the vision. A brand builder cannot give up no matter what challenges they face. In most cases people don’t even seem to notice your brand until the opportune time comes. In some cases, a brand can be partially noticed and then go dormant but when its time to shine has come, it becomes uncontainable. I remember #Thisflag’s big moments came as soon as it was launched and it became big talk soon after Mawarire’s appearance on the ZiFM programme, The Platform hosted by Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa. But it seems to have slipped back into oblivion with a few other moments of limelight. In the end a truly successful brand will just have to reach out beyond its expected loyalty spheres. Even those who are disinterested in it or even hate it will at some point talk about it, be it in a neutral or unfavourable light.

It will be interesting to see how the popular #Thisflag brand will proceed from here. There comes a time when a brand builder has to reach deeper into the bag by putting more effort in coming up with improved strategies to sustain the momentum of their brand. This is even more important with brands that suddenly grow big without a firm plan of how the fame and momentum will be sustained. The brand also has to stay on track without derailment from those who know how to ride and take advantage of an already moving train. Was it just but a brand for the moment or a truly sustainable brand? Only time will tell for this is only but just the beginning of the #Thisflag brand.

Taking the lead in this article has been quite exciting and I hope readers will continue to enjoy our collaboration from time to time.

Till next week, keep reading and remain brand-savvy.

Stha Magida is contactable on stha4235@gmail.com. Her co-writer in this article is contactable on mufarozhou@gmail.com

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