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A BRAND is just a product identification term used to perceive and identify something, perhaps someone, a business or product. In business, a good brand creates loyalty, profitability and goodwill. It helps your business go further ahead to where it should. Simply put, every business needs a good brand strategy.
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Whether you sell luxury like Louis Vuitton, an FMCG like Coca Cola or you sell a religious character like Jesus Christ (evangelism),  it’s all a race to get our ideology to own a more lasting and comfortable space in the minds of others.  The mind is a marketplace, and to gain market share, have and own your own slot in their minds. Branding isn’t just differentiation by logo or colours, effective branding touches neuro-psychology using neuro-linguistic programming. Its peak is when you begin to attract clients based on their psychology. Like the differentiation between a PC and a Mac, a great product should be designed to attract their clients by their kinds, I mean by their ideologies and mentality. Let’s come home. If I was to ask you, what really is the difference between a bottle of water and Eva by Coca-Cola? What is the difference between a car and a Mercedes Benz, or a watch and a Rolex, an artiste and Davido? The answer is BRAND.
Brand Strategy 101: 7 Essentials for Strong Company Branding
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If then, what really is a brand? What’s yours? What is your Brand Strategy? If you take out all the buzzwords and jargons of business school, you’d see that your brand is what people say about your product or even you when you’re not in the room. Every interaction is like an entry into a room.  Once you walk into that room with a product or just yourself (whether it’s a business boardroom or someone’s life), you would be greeted with 3 moments of truth: 1.What people feel when they first see you. 2.What you portray (as they interact with you/your business or proposition) 3.What you will be remembered for (after you leave). Brands, Branding and Brand Strategy is about how to influence those 3 Moments of Truth. Whatever you decide to build as a brand, ensure that it is unique, easy to identify and consistent. The truth is anything can be a brand, be it people, places, object or businesses. An even more tangible truth is that anybody can build a brand. It starts from finding an ideology around your product and being the best at it. As you build it, your value increases, way beyond your competition – way beyond logic. The outcomes of branding are not logical. People will pay more for less when you’re a brand. From the Rolex to the Rolls Royce to a night in Burj Khalifa in Dubai or to listen to Jay-Z perform live in concert. Jay-Z and Kanye West once charged $6M (over 2 billion Naira) in 2011 to perform for a few minutes in Dubai. It was for Sheikh Monsour (The owner of Manchester City. It was his sister’s 16th birthday party).  That is how much people can pay for a brand. You need an awesome brand strategy because brands enhance value. When Procter and Gamble acquired Gillette in 2005, Gillette was sold for 57 billion dollars. But in reality, only $6b of the $57b purchase price was for its tangible (touchable) assets, the vast majority of the value being in its brand equity and perception in the eyes of the customers. In branding, we say “the only thing more important than what you are selling is what the buyer believes he is buying”. It is perception and trust. Every brand is a product, but not every product is a brand.
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I suggest that you package whatever you sell so well that it feels world-class. It shows that you understand excellence, which creates trust. Blow the mind of your customers, especially when you have substance. You have a good product already; don’t serve it wrongly. Just like I love to say, “don’t put your champagne in a Zobo nylon’. They’d underprice it. Don’t put a good product in a bad container. A brand is ‘trust’. And brand strategy is how you present and deliver that trust. The deeper the better. Brand audaciously and intimately. Let your product, you or whatever you sell, give a promise that feels real and intimate and must be kept as a covenant. In a deeper definition, a brand is an illustration of a covenant; things like logo and other aesthetic assets should be the graphical representation of the purpose of that product. Just like the cross is a graphical representation of Christianity and the half-moon and star suggests Islam. In line with this, let your product be the covenant with the creator to be identifiable, unique, the best, and consistent. Brands are meant to be audacious. It’s supposed to pose questions and start conversations. For example, I once saw a billboard that said, “who says there’s no virgin in Port Harcourt”. Yes, this was a slogan that Richard Branson’s company had on billboards around Nigeria when it launched in Port Harcourt. After a while of processing that thought provocation, you’d realize that oh, maybe he means Virgins as in Virgin Atlantic. Another brand came by introducing us to a game that these sexy ladies like through wordplay. They can’t get their hands off it. The tagline for that brand was “The more you play with it, the harder it gets” Oops. No, it’s not what you think. “The more you play with it, the harder it gets.” was the slogan for the TV game console, Sega Genesis. You can sell anything, even things below value once you can create a high Brand Equity, from Coca-Cola’s products (mere Sugar water) to D’banj (where has he been and what has he been singing lately), to Wrigley for making billions from Orbit and PK chewing gums, or Tonto Dikeh and Bobrisky, with a good career from controversy. On the other hand, Kanye West is more popular for his arrogant Brand Attitude, Redbull – an energetic brand attitude, GTBank – a corporate yet creative Brand Attitude, – Mercedez- a classy brand Attitude, Lady Gaga- a weird and cult-like Brand Attitude. They were all created on purpose with identity, uniqueness and more importantly, consistency. And how about yours? Branding is about attention and trust. With your product, capture something more than their eyes and ears. A brand that captures your eyes gains notice, a brand that captures your mind gains attention. But a brand that captures your heart gains commitment! With your customers, place or product, create an experience that they cannot get anywhere else (it may be emotional, a story or an experience).  And ensure that it’s unique, easy to identify and consistent. Those are the building blocks of a brand. Also, you cannot brand generically. You have to know your market and be specific about it.  It’s the consumer behaviour of your market that determines how you’d present and sell that product. Life and Business are not like fishing, where you go to the waters with a net, hoping to catch any type of fish. Stop trying to sell to everyone. Leave the generic street  “Who Go Buy? And Oga-I-Get-Am”  type of strategy – to people selling clothes in Yaba Market. Find your market, and even when you find your market, find the key stakeholders in that market and make them sneezers (Igbo people call them Otinkpu’s), they’d make you attractive to others (ambassadors/influencers or satisfied customers). Glo found theirs in using superstars as ambassadors, GTbank found theirs in the everyday stylish young person who loves creativity (check their buildings and colours) simply by being stylish, fun, tech and social network savvy, and Benz found theirs in creating cars for wealthy executives. First, find your own specific market or even create one. And as you grow in business, you move from finding a market for your product, to finding a product for your market. It starts from owning your own community, like Google and Google Hangout, Apple and it’s phone users who share app stores and Itunes. It’s Beyonce and her be-hive cult-like online followers. Business has gone beyond transactions; it’s now about relationships. With your brand messages, concept, colour and actions, engage and build genuine relationships that funnel into sales, referrals and a community. These can be achieved through an effective brand strategy. Featured Image Source: Public Advertising Agency
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This article was first published on 17th May 2021


Uwaoma Eizu is the founder and lead strategist of the Hexavian group. He is a graduate of Mathematics with two Master's Degrees, a PMP and other management certifications.

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