Building a brand that connects with people.
Uganda is a rich nation by so many standards. It is home to more than 40 different indigenous ethnic groups, all of which have their own languages, cultures, and customs. It has the largest freshwater lake on the continent, the source of the longest river, the strongest waterfall, the largest number of primates, and it is said, the highest number of mountain gorillas worldwide.
However, when you speak Chimpanzee trekking or run a Google search of the same, it is very likely that your top results will point to Rwanda, yet statistics show that Uganda is home to over 5000 Chimpanzees and about only 400 in Rwanda. The deliberate efforts by Rwanda to position it as the home of Chimpanzee trekking
ultimately contributed to the now widely held perception that they are probably home to the biggest number of Chimpanzees in Africa.
An opinion often becomes popular and widely held for arguably two reasons; it is true or has been sold to look like the truth.
This is a lot about how brands are formed. First, it is important for us to understand that brands sit in the minds of the customer. They are not what you the brand custodian think they are, they are not what you want the public to think they are, they are what the public, customers, and everyone who experiences them; perceive them to be. The fact that they sit in the minds of the customers, means a greater job for marketers in brand building to facilitate the process of forming these perceptions.
Think about any Ugandan brand. What do you think about it? What emotions does it trigger? What word can you use to describe it? Does it appeal to you in any way? If yes, how? The summation of all these thoughts and feelings you have towards the brand you thought about is not just your perception of what the brand is, it is what you have come to believe that brand is.
Marketing professor, Kevin Lane Keller developed the Keller’s Brand Equity Model, also known as the Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) Model whose concept is very simple: in order to build a strong brand, you must shape how customers think and feel. You deliberately have to establish and build the right experiences around your brand, so that customers have specific thoughts, feelings, opinions, and perceptions about it.
The model stresses four steps that should be followed when building strong brand equity. You need to establish a brand identity. Who Are You? Define your brand’s meaning. What are you? Are you aware of your customer’s response to your brand? What do they think or feel about you? Once you figure out these, then you need to critically think about the most desirable yet often most difficult step to reach, brand Resonance. How much of
a connection would you like to have with your customers?
To form these perceptions, brand custodians often try to manage consumer impressions for instance by carefully selecting the symbols they choose to tell their brand’s story. These span the language, graphics, sound, design, scent.
However, while it is important to be distinct by way of these tangible and intangible elements, it is important to understand that because the brand sits in the mind of the customer, all these formations have to be hinged on the brand’s purpose. Why is that? It all begins and revolves around why the brand exists. That is what will guarantee consistency and shape the narrative packaged around the brand.
Thinking about building a distinct brand? Ask yourself why you exist in the first place. Are you deliberate about showing your customers that you’re more than your products, services, and advertising campaigns? Have you demonstrated that you are bigger than just turning a profit? Ultimately, the things you do to demonstrate this is what will form the perception of who your brand is.