12
Jun

Cutting-edge strategy

Brandzone is a globally inspired firm that partners clients to achieve high performance with measurable bottom-line impact. We combine deep market insight, local knowledge, track records, unique methodology and strong strategic alliances to design and execute innovative marketing and communications solutions for our clients. We build and manage brands as catalysts for business growth.

We offer value driven services, thereby increasing buyer value. Strategy and planning are at the core of our operations. We work with clients to evolve brand strategies and strong positioning for their brands. Added to that is the efficiency in planning making execution and the brand management process very seamless and result yielding. Being a mid-size, youthful and dynamic organisation, we are quick to market making delivery speedy, personal and rich in value.

How is brand development different from advertising, and how does each impact the client?

Branding is the process involved in creating a unique name, an interesting identity and a remarkable image for a product or business in the consumers’ mind. Advertising is used as a tool for bringing the brand to life. While branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the marketplace, advertising is deployed through campaigns to drive consistency of communication about the brand. In all, both processes are crucial in creating a successful brand.

Branding is a way of clearly highlighting what makes your offer different and more desirable than any other offering within the same category. Effective branding elevates a product or organisation from being just one commodity amongst many identical commodities, to become something with a unique character and promise. It takes cutting edge strategy capability to define and achieve this for brands. At Brandzone, strategy is at our core, which is what you see lacking with traditional advertising.

Some Nigerians, and to some extent, African businesses are reluctant to massively engage professionals in building up there brands. Is this due to lack of understanding of the concept?

Remarkably, different from times past, both businesses and individuals in very recent times have started to appreciate that branding can help them stand out from their competitors, add value to their offering and engage with their customers. Branding can create an emotional resonance in the minds of consumers who choose products and services not based on practical judgment but mostly emotional judgment as well.

Recently, there has become increasingly positive interest and demand for branding as businesses strive to achieve their profit objectives. What businesses are looking for really is that partner who can work with them to define the branding and marketing needs and achieve marketing objectives with measurable results create positive bottom-line impact. They are also looking for partners who can provide customised solutions and has the agility and speed of an eagle for prompt and efficient execution. That is where Brandzone comes. That is what we do best. That is the soul of our business.

Why and when does a brand need to be re-branded?

Some businesses make the mistake of keeping their brands within a dangerous circle of birth, maturity, plateau, decline and death. Without any marketing support, even very strong brands begin to wither and eventually face death. They simply become extinct. We have seen so many brands that were top of minds at some point go into extinction. Where is Goodie- Goodie? Where are Tree-Top, Green Sands Shandy, Bazooka Chewing Gum? Please, where are the Kingsway stores?

These were top performing brands that made remarkable revenue for their promoters in times past. They are either completely run down or forgotten while some brands in other markets have recorded over 100 years of top performance. But all that was needed was to “re-vitalise” the brands and keep them both relevant and consistently refreshing in the minds of the consumers.

South African brand development agents who are not based in Nigeria are often engaged by Nigerian companies for brand development, even when they know little about Nigerian environment, what is your comment?

Smart businesses and corporations seek organisations with local insights and deep market understanding to ensure that branding and marketing solutions offered to them are also locally relevant and impactful to the target audience. The Nigerian market is very unique and peculiar to a great degree and the solutions that may work in other markets, even in Ghana next door, may be “tough sell” to the Nigerian market. It would be fool hardy to design solutions that are all too foreign and imported and without local input.

Secondly, besides creating the new brand it takes a process of brand management which is a combination of science and arts, requiring creative innovation and agility and presence to build up the new brand for success and increased equity. This process of frequent and constant brand management can only be achieved by being on ground and hands on with the brand created. Through partnerships and collaborations, great value can always be added to the clients which is what is required by the businesses/clients in the first place: Value.

What are the opportunities for the small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) who do not have huge marketing budgets but seek to build up their corporate or product brands? Is Brandzone able to bring branding solutions to those categories of businesses?

The perception is there about branding being an exclusive purview of the multi nationals and large corporates due to huge financial investments required. This is not the case with Brandzone, as we have solutions designed to suit the budget of growing businesses different from the matured and established operations. We work with our clients based on their scope of operations, which is relative to their scope of branding and marketing needs. We seek to grow with businesses as they grow, mapping and charting the course and helping them surmount their branding and marketing needs as they grow.

How can Nigeria leverage on its centenary celebration to re-brand the country?

Closely related to destination branding, nation branding seeks to strategically build and manage the reputation of countries. Every country requires emphasising their unique and positive characteristics. When the image is positive and is successfully transferred, there is positive impact on both the economic, political and personal status of the nation.

The centenary celebration is a significant milestone and it would be remarkable to successfully create a positive Brand Nigeria to coincide with that celebration. To achieve this, the approach must be strategic, practical, realistic and consistent. Considering the several attempts at this in the past, it has indeed become more pertinent to focus on successfully creating this BRAND NIGERIA, giving all the baggage we carry as a nation at this moment.

We reckon you are an authority in branding in this clime with good grip of the practice. What is your background and how did you come about this wealth of experience and exposure, given the novelty in this environment?

With a first degree in Communications, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in marketing and an Executive Education at the prestigious London Business School (LBS), I have had the privilege of building and managing some of the most successful brands in Nigeria. They cut across Valucard, the first electronic card payment solution in Nigeria if you recall, Standard Trust Bank which we built, managed and repositioned as today’s UBA (United Bank of Africa), owing to a Management Buy Out, Access Bank plc, a top four bank with huge expansion and operations across the African continent. The experiences acquired building and managing these brands with projects across several African countries were deep and intense. The remarkable results achieved on these projects have been grossly beneficial to our current clients today at Brandzone.

What has been your entrepreneurship experience at Brandzone and what are the mix of client you manage?

In just three years of operations, we have aggressively acquired and managed some of the most remarkable brands in this market across a diverse sector, offering quality branding, communications campaign and brand activation services to clients. These cut across banking such as Access Bank, First Bank Capital and the newly launched Heritage Bank. In the automobile industry, we have Landover and BMW, Qatar Airways, for the service industry, Aveon Offshore in oil and gas and the Pension Fund Operators of Nigeria. You can see it is quite a robust portfolio, bringing innovation and creativity in resolving the branding, marketing and communications need for each client, bearing in mind the peculiarity of their target markets and business objective.

Where will Brandzone be in the next 5 years?

With the remarkable inroad in three years, another five years would see us sitting tightly within another five-year plan. Having brought so much value across sectors in this short time, we hope to continuously expand our portfolio, bring value and impact to many more businesses and probably be the builder and managers of those very successful African brands of the future.

 

Source: http://businessdayonline.com/2013/07/it-takes-cutting-edge-strategy-to-achieve-unique-character-for-brand/#.U5mwOfldWSo

 

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