Branding yet to take hold in East Africa, says expert

NAIROBI - Branding is still a new thing in East Africa, an expert says. Superbrands East Africa project director Jaffer Jawad said that was why some goods and services in the region were not recognised internationally.

NAIROBI - Branding is still a new thing in East Africa, an expert says. Superbrands East Africa project director Jaffer Jawad said that was why some goods and services in the region were not recognised internationally.

“Our greatest challenge is that branding is a new concept in East Africa…. It is just very recent that Kenya embarked on national branding while Tanzania and Uganda have also come up with similar initiatives,” he said in Dar es Salaam.
He was speaking at a ceremony to award certificates of recognition to top brands in Tanzania.

They were Chemi & Cotex, Clouds Radio, Serengeti Breweries, Vodacom Tanzania, Azam and Tanzania Distilleries.

Superbrands East Africa plans to carry out publicity in the region. Books will be distributed to companies, embassies of the five East African countries, business colleges and universities.

The aim is to increase awareness and knowledge on branding. “The books will contain all the necessary information about super brands that operate in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. Visitors to embassies of these East African states should have time to read the companies that have invested in the region and how they operate,” he said.

Branding is the act of marketing an idea or image of a commodity or a service. Experts estimate that the brand name recognition can increase a company’s profit by between 10 to 20 per cent.

According to Mr Jawad, the East African Community Common Market offers a challenge for companies operating in each partner state to build knowledge of their firms’ brands throughout the five countries.

“There is considerable progress being made towards the integration of the East African Community, something that calls for companies to build knowledge of their brands beyond the borders of individual countries,” he said.

He warned that those failing would suffer due to the influence of well-branded products in the region. Superbrands East Africa is an independent arbiter on branding. It carried out a survey of 900 people in Kenya, 700 in Uganda and 900 in Tanzania.

Eighty-four most popular brands in East Africa will be featured in the second edition of the Superbrands publication.

According to him, Azam emerged the most respected brand in Tanzania while Nokia and Blue Band came second and third respectively.

Tigo came fourth while Vodacom Tanzania was the fifth. Kilimanjaro Pure Drinking Water, Whitedent, the University of Dar es Salaam, Chai Bora – Tatepa and Omo were also among most respected brands.

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