It was a gathering of experts in the field of marketing communications recently in Lagos. Their mission was to cross fertilize ideas on how SMEs can deploy branding to success.
The event was meant to mark the 10th anniversary of USP Brand2Wealth seminar, aimed at teaching young business owners, the impetus to win in the market.
The CEO, UPS Brand Management and convener of the programme, Mr. Muyiwa Kayode during his opening remark, noted that the mission of Brand2Wealth is to empower SMEs with the branding knowledge and support to build a successful business.
He added that building a great brand starts from vision. He said this is for effective cross- fertilization of ideas and ease of comprehension.
According to him, “For a brand to be successful, the first step is to love what you do; brand is all about love and passion. At the heart of every brand, you must have a value proposition.
Valuing what you have is very essential in branding”, he declared to the audience, made up of mostly passionate youth entrepreneurs and SME operators.
His advised the participant never to shy away from starting small. Using Alhaji Dangote as an example to fire them up, he said that they can grow as much as their imagination can carry them.
For the Special Guest Speaker, Tomijogun Ogunlesi, branding is a journey. According to him, branding takes its root from idea generation; and not during promotion, as the old school has had some believe.
“There is a paradigm shift; and the earlier the concept is seen as an integral part of product development the better,” he warned.
He analysed the concept of ICE- Identity, Culture and Experience- as an important requirement for building a successful brand. In his words: ‘identity is the fundamental rule of branding.’’
He pointed out that product becomes a brand when it can fulfill needs. Products have properties that when combined together do something for customers and in any given category, most products perform similar functions. The need for superior appeal is needed to make your product stand out. He added.
According to him, “Branding is first functional and emotional; product performs functional utilities; while branding appeals to emotion.’’
He added that in branding, innovation is very important because it goes hand in hand with branding ‘’in building a brand, you must have a business because without a business, there is no brand ‘he said.
Relying on power of successful brands like Indomine, Cellotape, Flit, which have become household and generic names for their respective categories, he submitted that businesses should identify the audience and let the brand resonates with and speaks to them.
To build a successful brand and win in the market, Tomijogun’s winning nuggets for the audience include: ‘focus your business in specialized area; creating a distinctive theme and logo; select client/customer where possible and maintaining high visibility.
Others are drive content/engagement; pursue international alignment and cultivate relevant media relationship and partnership.
In his presentation, the keynote speaker, Mr, Idorenyen Enang, spoke extensively on brand essence and how it determines the greatness of a brand.
Defining a brand as the comprehensive, consistent value a person receives by a using a product or service, the Corporate Shepherd’s CEO submitted, “If a brand doesn’t have essence it can’t go anywhere,’’ adding that every great brand must have a value and a good character.
He went ahead that a great brand can be known through its physical and emotional benefit which is the brand identity.
He warned the youngsters, “If you don’t have an identity, your business can’t have an identity and whenever a clear and strong brand identity is lacking, a brand is like a ship without rudder.”
Speaking about Brand Equity, he said, when a commodity becomes a brand, it definitely has equity. He therefore outlined ways to build equity into your brand, which he tagged: 7- point agenda.
The agenda include: creating a vision; defining your value proposition; determining what will make your business different and unique offering.
The list also featured- creating a good identity – logos; making constant communication of your brand and consistency with the product’s value offering.