BY FARAI CHIGORA
Time flies when you do what you love the most! It’s sobering to note that we are engaged on the inaugural instalment for the year 2022. What the age of pandemics has thought us, it that there is no perfect time to start doing what you are passionate about. More so, to the brand and marketing enthusiasts — we say let the year be defining and indelible in as far as we are going to push forward the scales of brand management and marketing as the driving force for industrialisation and entrepreneurship. As we are engulfed in the war against the pandemic, it entails more people are now engaging our brands in new way and ways that could not have been thought of earlier on. This requires us to re-think branding, especially as we are riding on the wave of the bringing of the year, with the outbreak of new variants globally. Our brands should be relevant and complex enough to dictate risk way ahead of the curve and mitigate its impact before it consumes the same.
The drive behind any other previous edition was of course to put the entrepreneurial mind-set into motion and build dynamic brands that leapfrog into the future. Geared towards limelight and marvelled milestones rather than just for story telling. By engaging into what leads to the realisation of equity brand. As we assess the pathways to the government’s vision 2030 through industrialisation of the national economy, we should keep in mind that branding is an ongoing process in the formation, existence and beyond operation of our localised businesses. I am happy that the catalytic nature of branding is now making sense to many as we took the journey which started in 2021, thus far. Yet the majority of the start-ups are still engaged in the very same traditional – identity centric processes and miss the broader picture of creating an experience for the customers. A territory that one feels at home and even want to be part of the family into generational offerings and brand extension (as alluded to in the previous edition). Then this means that those SMEs that have accepted the competitive stance behind the proposition have made branding a vision rather than a once off for invoicing only. I have understood the confidence that customers have on brands across all sectors of the enterprising economy (and I will be very mean not to share into this new horizon). Which made me concur and conclude that customers “buy the brand not the product or services”. This the makes someone question if not wonder the physics behind such a life construct. Branding in the mind of the customer eliminates some clandestine risks surrounding consumption whether small or big. When we have done it all and our brand has dominated the global market it means that the impulse to consume by our customers is now psychological. Where they will pay a price and even enjoy consumption without questioning themselves the reason why? If I can ask our entrepreneurs: Do you question yourself about the formula that has made a Coke drink or you habitually partake? Or it is not that trust that drives and tell safety in the mind. It shows that the brand has worked for its lasting imprints to build trust in the cognitive state and decision of the customer. Where fear is no longer an issue and consumption is immediate. That’s what our SMEs should be doing rather than being labelled as Musiyamwa just because in the psychological state of the customer there is a short-change somewhere. Real brands eliminates the psychological risk (that is feared by our markets). This then bring home the desire to have assurance that the acquired product or service will function as intended. It is imperative to know that as alluded in previous editions functionality is part of both brand image and perceived quality yet in our daily living and consumption we also worry about it (especially when we doubt that unbranded supplier). This aspect and its risk makes buying decision a very hard and cumbersome process. This seems to be the most downplaying component in our SMEs as they are viewed as second citizens in the competitive business landscape (even when they are the source of innovation). They are overshadowed by a few big brands that have made noise and reckoned as the best. Especially the foreign ones from the first world. We need to show and eliminate that functional risk through competitive brand management. That’s when we will realise enterprising that conquer the world through competitive brands. Then one will know that the value of the product/service is also in the price. We should ride on our brands for that affirmation. Many of the times our customers are afraid of the financial risk that is associated with a purchases. When a product is not branded the customer trades with caution as it can mean anything. That is the reason why our SMEs are undercapitalised and under-priced as they have been categorised as not worth what they charge for their products/services. A competitive brand will play this intelligence. It will convince the customer that the decision to purchase is worth the price and will be even prepared to pay more. That goes on to the issue of fitting in various social groups. Our products and services have a great role in self-and-community evaluation of where we fit or belong. Brands always position us and everyone want to be worth quality and excellence. It is therefore our role to ensure that the brands we are developing and showcasing gives that customer a positive mileage in this stance. The reason why our entrepreneurs are having their offerings neglected is because they are failing on that promise to epitomise and appease. Most of the times our customers have a huge social risk burden to an extent that they are shy to be part of our brands or being recognised as part of them. It is then a reminder to our entrepreneurs to do a self-introspect and work on convincing the customers that they are worth not only a social dialogue but a partnership in social presentation. The brand magic is endless as aforementioned and we have to invest in reconfiguration of our processes as we conform. Time is one precious object in the existence of mankind and should not be wasted. Imagine how your offerings guzzle consumers’ time as they try to make a buying decision. It should be worrisome that we are causing confusion in the mind of our potential customers. We are busy wasting their time yet branding should eliminate that time risk. When the brand has won the race it should just direct the customer for a pick and buy in the market rather than wasting time selecting (brand dominion). This goes to the well-being in consumption that our customers expect when they patronise and consume our products and services. We should by now understand that a branded offering is presumed to be free from physical and health hazards. Our enterprises across all sectors should take advantage of branding in this perspective. That is the reason for selecting Lifebuoy bathing soap amongst others or Castle lager beer in comparison to those street beers. More can be said in this regards but for continual growth into industrialisation through branding in this age there is need to consider;
Brand risk assessment
This is a multi-integrated approach to understand the risk within your offerings that the brand will aim to eradicate. As the adage goes “a problem know is half solved”. This is critical in endearing the brand as the tool in averting the risk pronounced in itself!
Brand for categorising
This is when we use our brands to screen and categorise us in the market space. Where we will then know the type of risk perceived by our associates and also know of our rivals so that we mix it in a brand that talks the expected.
- 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], WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871.
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