Essence of a Well-Positioned Brand – Lessons for Businesses Nigeria

The word branding is not a relatively new business concept. Over three decades ago, marketing expert Michael J Baker wrote an introductory text on the importance of brands and branding. What is new is the level of attention and sophistication it has garnered around the world in recent years.

Perhaps it has to do with the increased mental clutter in our lives and in the marketplace, which makes it difficult for companies to get their messages across.

“Brands are quickly becoming the basis of the most critical business decisions,” noted one observer. Branding is the sum total of everything that a business or idea represents. For the most part, branding is as simple as doing the right thing, consistently and clearly.

Today, as expected, Nigeria is adorning itself with its most famous brands of all time – its super brands! Indeed, for some of them, branding is not about making your target market choose you over the competition, but it’s about making your prospects see you as the only one to bring a solution to their problems.

Whereas a brand is the uniqueness that a customer perceives of an organization or an idea; there is a link between a brand name [identity], brand image [perception] and brand awareness [respect].

Any strong brand depends above all on its reputation. As business leaders try to build a good brand, they also need to pay attention to the reputation of the business. Essentially, a good reputation represents a good brand.

However, for obvious reasons, Nigerian entrepreneurs are quick to build strong brands to their advantage to enable them to collapse in no time, due to lack of brand management skills.

I have to admit I used to buy Gala sausages from UAC, until Leventis Meaty came along. The experience has always been positive and I have always had the feeling of this delicious snack with a pure beef filling. But where did Gala go wrong? Gala has lost its unique positioning in the heat of competition. Apart from the sudden change of packaging [which I think I don’t like so much], the sausage in it got so skinny.

UAC didn’t realize that branding is more than just putting on new clothes.

The problem with many of these big brands is that they usually don’t realize the impact of their actions and inactions until well after the time and money has been invested or after it is too late.

How many times have you parked in a business parking spot and seen a sign that says “Parking reserved for xxxx customers only.” All others will be charged ”or“ Cars are parked at the owner’s own risk ”? Have you ever met a lousy school owner raining indecent words on parents? Or how many times have you had to stand in line for long hours somewhere, only to be disappointed with the way a customer service agent treated you?

These are all negative branding and reputation at work. We experience it every day. It affects the way customers perceive us.

Legal persons should pay close attention to their messages – spoken or written.

Words speak for our business, so it’s worth investing in the best copy we can afford. Unprofessionally drafted communications and marketing materials can work against us, telling potential customers things we didn’t intend to say.

Instead of the stereotypical “Cars are parked at owner’s own risk”, why not try something like “While we make sure your vehicles are safe, we don’t accept risk”? Long but it’s full of great impact.

Our dear economy has suffered a collapse as a result of his choice of words. They cost money, but words applied effectively produce great wealth.

So let’s start taking a good look at everything we do: our message; our corporate identity; our approach to communicating with clients; our behavior; our products; our packaging; our advertising and our staff.

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