Want to build a strong brand? This is what you should do

Building a strong brand is not about immediate success but about creating lasting relationships and making a meaningful impact that endures over time. [iStockphoto]

Over the past 30 years, I have had the privilege of working with leading brands, including a prominent public institution, East Africa's largest bank, and currently, Jubilee Insurance. Throughout these experiences, I have witnessed first-hand the intricate process of building strong brands that stand the test of time.

It's a journey marked by strategic foresight, creative innovation, and unwavering dedication.

Recently, our company was recognised by Brand Finance PLC as one of the top 10 strongest brands in Kenya. This accolade has inspired me to reflect on and share some of the essential factors that contribute to building a formidable brand.

For starters, one of the most critical elements in building a strong brand is the people behind it. Your employees are the heartbeat of your brand; their passion and commitment breathe life into your brand's values and mission every day.

The staff are the first ambassadors of the brand, embodying its goals in their daily interactions. Employees who are deeply engaged and aligned with the brand's purpose can significantly enhance its image and reputation.

It's essential for organisations to foster a culture that not only motivates but also empowers employees to act as true representatives of the brand. This involves comprehensive training, clear communication of the brand's values, and creating an environment where employees feel valued and part of the brand's journey.

When the staff are passionate and committed, it reflects in their work and resonates with customers, creating a positive and lasting impression of the brand.

Additionally, integrity and accountability are foundational pillars in building a strong brand. A brand that consistently demonstrates honesty and transparency earns the trust and loyalty of all its stakeholders.

Integrity involves adhering to moral and ethical principles, ensuring that the brand's actions align with its stated values. This means being truthful in advertising, transparent about product or service limitations, and forthright when mistakes occur.

Accountability complements integrity by ensuring that the brand takes responsibility for its actions. When a company holds itself accountable, it shows a commitment to rectify any issues and improve continually.

This accountability extends to all levels of the organisation, from top executives to frontline employees, ensuring that everyone is responsible for upholding the brand’s reputation. Together, integrity and accountability build a foundation of trust that enhances brand credibility and fosters long-term loyalty among customers.

Moreover, consistently delivering exceptional experiences is another cornerstone of building a formidable brand. Each interaction with the brand—be it through products, services, customer support, or marketing—must uphold the brand promise and surpass expectations.

Consistency engenders trust and reliability, nurturing a robust bond between the brand and its audience. Moreover, brands should actively seek feedback and heed the voice of their customers. Understanding their preferences and addressing their concerns demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and continual improvement.

In the digital age, an online presence is indispensable for brands aiming to leave a lasting impact, particularly in regions like Kenya where internet penetration rates have been steadily increasing.

According to the World Bank, Kenya’s internet penetration rate stood at 42.0 per cent of the total population at the beginning of 2022, showcasing the growing accessibility of online platforms to a significant portion of the populace.

With more Kenyan consumers accessing the internet through a variety of devices, from smartphones to laptops, brands have a vast opportunity to connect and engage with their target audience online.

A robust digital strategy encompassing website optimisation, social media engagement, content marketing, and online advertising is essential for tapping into this digital-savvy consumer base.

By leveraging digital platforms, brands can effectively tell their stories, forge personal connections with their audience, and foster community engagement.

Moreover, embracing emerging technologies and trends such as mobile apps, AI-driven marketing, and virtual reality experiences can provide a competitive edge, enabling brands to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the evolving preferences of Kenyan consumers.

And lastly, another key factor for building a strong brand that will last is the commitment to continuous innovation. In a constantly changing marketplace, brands must consistently seek new ways to meet their customers' needs and stay relevant.

This involves not only adopting the latest technologies and trends but also being proactive in anticipating future changes in consumer behaviour and industry dynamics. Innovation drives growth and differentiation, allowing brands to stay competitive and maintain their appeal over time.

By fostering a culture of creativity and forward-thinking, brands can ensure they remain at the forefront of their industry, consistently delivering value and fresh experiences to their audience.

Building a strong brand is not a fleeting endeavour but a journey marked by patience, persistence, and unwavering dedication. Success is not solely measured by financial metrics but by the depth of relationships forged and the positive influence exerted on consumers' lives.

By staying true to their purpose, understanding their audience, narrating compelling stories, and delivering exceptional experiences, brands can carve out a meaningful niche in the hearts and minds of consumers, enduring amidst the ever-evolving landscape of the marketplace.

Remember, building a strong brand is not about immediate success, but about creating lasting relationships and making a meaningful impact that endures over time.

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