You Need the Patience and Cool of a Monk to grow your Brand

One of my favourite accounts on twitter belongs to @wengerknowsbest, a parody account for the Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger. “We are consistently maintaining the consistent consistency” he says. And come to think of it, brands do need to consistently communicate in a consistent manner. This consistency is what builds brands, over a long period of time.

Brand or growth hacking is a “new” phenomenon where few brands have managed to successfully achieve this. Brand hacking involves coming up with a system to scale growth exponentially in the shortest time possible at the least cost possible (usually with no direct money involved). Dropbox achieved this by giving incentives to early users in the form of more cloud storage space for every new referral you gave them. Back at home in Kenya, a good example of a growth hacker is ______ ?

Being a field for the few (hacking), building your own brand will therefore take a bit of time. The dreams of overnight sensations should be left for the sweet slumber.  The indomitable brand takes ages to grow and we at Mint like to use the analogy of a tree. How do you grow a majestic brand that will overshadow its competitors?

Brands that have amassed so much equity have done this over decades and some for centuries. A look at the top 5 brands globally according to Forbes i.e. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Coca-Cola, and IBM, says it all. The youngest of them you could say is Google founded in 1998 and four of them are tech companies. Innovation has been at the fore front of these four companies while for Coca-Cola it has managed to refresh itself over the years… giving us a billions reasons to… In Kenya, the top 6 brands by market capitalisation include Safaricom, KCB, EABL, Standard Chartered and Equity. The youngest, Safaricom, a mobile service provider now leads the pack.

At the core of all these brands is consistency in their branding. Anywhere and anytime you interact with the brand, the message to the customers is the same, the branding is the same. They all have standards for their brands. You must obsess over this consistency in all communication platforms you are using. This obsession begins with your business stationery, your packaging, your advertisements, your social media, your marketing material, your place of business and every consumer touch point (every point the customer interacts with your business). In the long run, the consumers are able to associate with you brand almost subconsciously. Think mobile in Kenya you think Safaricom… Think Search you think Google…

Some brands have tactfully mastered their space that eventually consumers can’t recall the actual product name. This goes to the extent of referring to other products in range with the brand name. Think of Thermos in reference to flasks, Kiwi in reference to shoe polish, Omo (until Aerial managed to clean with mwosho moja) in reference to washing powder and Supabrite in reference to scouring pads.

Spend your energy in building your brand name over your product. The result is a brand that outlives its founder just like Apple has done. Let your brand name stand tall, let your brand fulfil its promise to its customers, let your customers know this promise… always.

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