In my business, I win clients by helping them understand the meaning of the term “BRAND”. We start off by what a brand is not: it is NOT a logo, NOT and identity, NOT a product or service. It is so much more.
The Brand is the business of business, its heart, its raison d’être. The exercise with the client to agree on what brand is and not is sometimes long and difficult but necessary to ensure that the rest of our journey together goes smoothly.
Developing a brand strategy requires understanding that the brand is embedded in everyday business practices and behavior.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Rwanda where I was able to share my experiences and ideas with a group of entrepreneurs. The country never ceases to amaze and invigorate me. I can sense the energy, confidence, pride, dedication, and the innovative and team spirit of its people.
As an entrepreneur, I was excited to share my experience with these people who have the natural elements to be able to build mighty brands that would contribute to realizing Rwanda’s potential and achieving its socio-economic goals. It was an energetic dialogue, especially around the role of brand in our personal and corporate lives.
Generally, an entrepreneur’s journey starts with seizing an opportunity others do not as it is often hidden in chaos. It is how my journey started in 2001 when I founded Taurus Afrika Limited, now merged into the Color Creations Limited entity.
We wanted to propel our clients’ visibility and improve their reputations and competitiveness through brand management.
The business delivered a range of quality branded merchandise to clients in an efficient and affordable manner. We realized that many of the clients didn’t understand that building their brand required more than T-shirts and banners.
Through the years, we built our business’ brand regionally and internationally. We helped young entrepreneurs create businesses built on value systems that would be able to withstand the test of time and translate well in markets across the region.
We promoted a value that we hold dear: embracing competitiveness and the global market place through quality standards, market knowledge, investments in developing our employees’ talents.
African businesses can rival global multinationals and we encourage our entrepreneurs to rise to the challenges in their business environments.
The region’s economic success is tied into theirs and theirs is tied into their brand. We have stayed true to our mission over the years, only becoming stronger in the belief of the role brand plays in success.
This inevitably led us to create BSD Limited, a brand strategy and design agency.
Our African brand strategies are unique because we recognize a responsibility to more than ourselves. The private sector exists in the social context but also has the ability to change it.
Our business strategies must have a social component. We must build our business with an eye to the future if we want to continue to be successful. Rwanda’s continual renewal provides an excellent platform for unleashing brands to propel the country’s economy and society forward.
This is a process and does not happen overnight. A strategy needs to be developed and investments made in relation to the existing global market and its trends. Brand activity is positioned internally and in the market.
Implementation brings the brand into being. Testing and buy-in from those involved is necessary. During this process, a business might learn that human resources are not aligned with their needs or that the business strategy itself needs to be tweaked.
This process must be completed and assimilated within the business. The brand then needs to be communicated internally and externally using whatever necessary channels.
If the process is not undertaken prior to embarking on a communication campaign, the brand might fail to live up to expectations it has created. The brand is about responding to customers’ demands and giving them what you promise.
Africa should learn from the leading global economies including that competitive space and success comes from deliberate investments in brand strategy.
Brand is the business of business. Will Rwanda take the regional lead on brand building?
Eva Muraya, is the CEO of Color Creations Group Ltd