Entrepreneurship through brand leadership


There should be a moment in entrepreneurial business life cycle where we should do a self-introspect of our societal leadership role.

Mainly as a brand that has transformed lives of many. Like we always talk about Geisha bathing soup that lasts like a mothers love.

It has proven so in its brand leadership from one generation to another. When anything is talked about a bathing soap this will ring vividly in the minds of many.

Leadership in its generic sense has been a popular subject area in the school of business management. Where debates have been made on whether leaders are born or made.

All I can say is that it’s a hybrid. The same goes with brands of our entrepreneurial businesses which are supposed to lead in their promise(s). 

There seems to be a large cavity in this practice by most of our SMEs. It has been proven that SMEs brands have a trend of early mortality which should be demystified in this era.  

I have seen that most bus companies have existed shortly on the market and suddenly disappeared.

Those that have managed to exist from one generation to another have been appreciated to be brand leaders in their line of business. Here we then take a nosedive into real entrepreneurship that is driven by brand leadership. We unpack this concept of brand leadership in relation to our day- to-day running of SMEs across all sectors of our national/global economy.

To start with is the personality of the brand we once talked about in some previous editions.

A brand in its market performance is always viewed as a person. Just like a leader in an organisation who can be viewed as autocratic, democratic or in-between.

The same goes with our brands.  In brand leadership for entrepreneurial businesses we mainly look at the sincerity and eagerness to satisfy the targeted customers.

Our customers know what our brands portray to them and others (which is key in their decision making to consume or not to).

That is the same reason you see that there are some cosmetic, beverage and even automobile brands that have become very unpopular and extinct.

It is because of that negative/bad personality that has dominated in their popularity. Entrepreneurial business is even at a greater risk in trying to lead by personality.  This is because there has always been a misconception that most SMEs do not live the brand promise(s) (purported to be deceptive with imitations).

It’s high time our businesses should reconfigure and share a new brand story. Let’s invest in a brand personality that re-defines us as market leaders.

Market positioning is also critical in achieving brand leadership for our SMEs. I have seen that most of our likely to be successful enterprises have failed to do so due to wrong positioning.

Most are operating in markets which are not for them.  A brand cannot take-off and eventually lead in a market where it is regarded inferior/laggard.

There is need for a thorough market research in our entrepreneurial setup so as to find a space which we will own.

Through breaking almost new ground for ourselves and by us. Of course it is difficult to come up with a totally new business idea and setup in this world of competition/innovation.

But let us at least find a space where we can be positioned as unique somehow rather than be a mirror of others.

That is why niching has become a popular concept and highly rewarding in the way we relate with our global markets. In that case the brand is made highly visible through being positioned as a leader within that space.

You are not supposed to be bigger to get more rewards from your brand leadership. This is because businesses can even become very successful through a Low Volume High Value approach driven by entrepreneurial niching.

We have to strike a balance in brand leadership through positioning from now onwards.

People are critical in brand leadership through conveyance of the promise and walking the talk.

Over generations most brands have been inseparable from the owner and seller.

Sure this will continue into future generations. No wonder why we always go for the contemporary celebrities to be our brand ambassadors.

It shows that interconnection between a brand and the person behind a certain fame. Furthermore it goes on to those whom you have hired as your employees and partners.

Define their branding role(s) clearly so as to support and empower them to be brand leaders. It takes conversations, discussions and trainings with them to become real brand ambassadors and advocates.

Like said in the previous edition there is need to even provide all members with brand toolkits for them to spearhead positive brand publicity for real leadership.

Lastly it is critical for processes to be redefined towards innovative brand leadership.

Like abovementioned people have always dominated in brand craftsmanship but some new interventions have come along the way.

Where technologies and software have led to what I call techno-brand leadership.

Brands that are running the show in our contemporary markets are those that have embraced Artificial Intelligence in their showcasing. 

The current generation that is consuming our offerings in techno savvy and for our entrepreneurial business brands to dominate they should follow the same bandwagon.

Entrepreneurship through brand leadership has no one straight jacket that fits all but we can ride on some discussions we have made in this edition. 

*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. His Doctoral Research focused on Business Administration (Destination Marketing and Branding Major, Ukzn, SA). He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies in Zimbabwe and Africa. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at [email protected], www.fachip.co.zw, WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871.

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