BY FARAI CHIGORA
Brand success in the age of entrepreneurship is a structured process that requires that we evaluate and assess the journey while on the go. We do this by making an effort to understand how the trenches have rewarded us as SMEs who are working round the clock to position the same through a positive brand identity. Yes, there is light, especially when we share experiences born out of our own creations and localised ecology (where heritage has been turned into talking brands).
One must recall that brand assessment is a real practise and intervention rather than a result of serendipity. Most SMEs are usually caught in-between due to procrastination. Some brand assessment matters need one to go back to the drawing board and self-introspect. As alluded to in the previous editions, there is always a brand judgement whether by us, our customers or partners. Sometimes we use very bright sparkling colours and fancy mottos to represent our brands as leading elements. If overdone it can be misleading and runs the risk of being viewed by our market as window-dressing a substandard brand (that creation of novel should last the journey).
It is, therefore, important at this juncture that we talk about some of the key aspects we should look at to confirm a brand’s progression in our drive to be profitable and delivery of top-end services and products. As a reminder the mission of our brands is to create an appeal and a promise of satisfaction that will lead to lasting customer loyalty. This is then our starting brand excellence assessment which is brand loyalty. Its form as one of the cogs for brand equity should not be theoretical or assumed, but our SMEs should be able to measure it. This is by attracting positive confessions and testimonies from our markets on their brand satisfaction (whether aroused by us or as informed by the customers themselves).
Consider whether you’ve ever had a day like that in your branding journey. If not, keep hoping that it will come one of these days (in a positive manner of course). Positive feedback about our branded products/services from the general public indicates that we have gained brand loyalty. Our brands exist to transport us from the familiar to the unfamiliar. It is referred to as brand taxonomy by those in the field of education (the power that our brand can have on us).
When we see those who were not part of our initial focus as a market segment now being part of a satisfied army of brand endorsement by sharing success stories of followership and life-long engagement, we know we are on the right path. Secondly, there should come a moment when increasing the price will invite more customers rather than the opposite. That is when the brand value of our enterprising and offerings in now greater than the price (brand magic).
Successful brands are magical in every aspect of their evolving life span. The power of branding in this perspective is to make us even more competitive as we become expensive. In some instances, our market focus will change to a low volume and high value, where we will not be for everyone but for the best high paying customer (a market for the highest bidder rather than ordinary). As we continue with understanding our brand assessment signal there is need to assess we have received any form of invitations for trade cooperation and partnerships by any other stakeholders in the global world of business. Where other businesses and stakeholders outside your line of our trade yearn for that engagement through brand associations. Your brand should now be seen by others as an opportunity for them to grow in recognition, business and moving volumes as they are known to be associating with the best. Like the Arsenal football club’s “Visit Rwanda” regalia. We always try to create s and endorsements with those we emulate, those that the market rate as high-fliers. Our SMEs brands should celebrate this achievement in our drive towards industrialisation. Moreover, possibilities for brand extensions by us or even with those partners is a signal of confidence within the initial brand craftsmanship and success.
We can expand our brand from a funeral parlour to one that represents tourism and hospitality. To the general public, it appears to be a mix of oil and water, yet this is a representation of branding perfection. Where we use magical brands to change our grief into joy. I hope to see all of our growing businesses receive the same benefits one day. Who can be against us if God is on our side? Then, through accreditations and licensing, we consider the big picture.
A successful brand should also be able to give such opportunities where it attracts that attention and invitation from the global bodies. These bodies will support the brand growth from fame to legendary. Such bodies as Green Globe and ISO Certification can enhance global market visibility (not for regulatory compliance only but they go beyond into convincing the modern customer that the brand promises will be met without damages). Like the Cadbury promise on its Silk chocolate bars to be the smoothest among others. Then when all is said and done, it is important for our SMEs to assess their marketing channels and communication. That is to see if they have managed to reduce the associated costs through a brand that can talk for itself, for the enterprise and its offerings. There is an inverse relationship between marketing and communication costs and brand excellence. As the SME brand becomes supreme, the costs of marketing and communication should eventually go down. There is more in branding rather that colours such that I will always remind you to choose the right elements for your enterprise and offerings (rather than a copy and paste). When we are unique then all the aforementioned will be a walk in the park. I will leave you to reconcile the experience your brand promises against that which your customer sees of you (our brands are a metaphor of the psychology and socialisation of our targeted customers). All things are possible as we ride on winning brands in the age of entrepreneurship for industrialisation.
- Dr Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is the Head of Business Science at the Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at firstname.lastname@example.org, WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871.