• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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‘Recognised firms’ ads should focus on being understood’

‘Recognised firms’ ads should focus on being understood’

Companies and organisations operating in Nigeria who enjoy massive image awareness among consumers but still spend a huge amount of money on corporate advertisement need to rethink, as they need to move away from being known to be understood in their marketing communication messages.

Doug de Villiers, the group CEO of Interbrand Sampson de Villiers, South Africa, part of Omnicom Group, believes that companies that have brand awareness need to re-direct their communication messages to something specific about the brand.

Doug says though companies must advertise but the content of the message needs to be different, observing that some companies in the financial, telecoms among others who have already built brand image among consumers still spend so much money having double-page advertisement in various newspapers and on TV about their companies.

In a discussion with BusinessDay in Lagos, Doug, whose company is embarking on brand strength assessment of Nigerian, Kenyan and South African banks and telecoms companies, says the objective is to determine how the banks have grown in the brand strength over the last five years in the market.

After five years when the study was carried out in Nigeria, he says Interbrand, a global brand consultancy with network of 33 offices in 27 countries since 1974, is re-doing the study this year to establish how the banks have grown in the brands strength over the last five years in this market. “It will be a great study because it will be great to see which banks are tops as some of the banks have disappeared and some banks have changed. We are also looking at the impact of what the banks have done with the actual strength of the brands,” he says.

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He recognises that some banks originally were strong in value but over time, other banks have entered with great innovations and are beginning to grow quickly.

The study, which will kick off in the next few weeks, Doug says will be on about 10 elements, four of them are inside the banks and six are market perceptions around the brand, saying “from this it will be established which brands are spending their money wisely from a brand positioning point of view and which financial brands are really strong.”

Explaining that brands are valuable and strategic assets that play significant part in delivering satisfying and differentiated experiences to consumers, the group CEO lists some key components of brands strength as authenticity, consistency, relevance, differentiation, commitment, responsiveness and understanding.

On why Interbrand is narrowing the study to just two sectors – banking and telecoms, Doug says in 2010 the company studied only the financial institutions, “but this year we are extending it to financial institutions and telcos. We may also be looking at more sectors but we must ensure that there are enough players in the market to have a meaningful comparison.”

According to him, the benchmarking study will allow for African institutions to be favourably compared with their global counterparts, both for merger and acquisition purposes and for general brand performance and optimisation.

Branding is a business asset and if it is done properly, which does not mean logo or just advert, and if an organisation recognises that its brand can drive the business, it is greatly incredible asset, he says. Look at Apple which understands the use and importance of brand and that is why they can extend product portfolio and make a wristwatch or phone or computer. Apple recognised that a great brand can be stretched to a whole lot of other financial opportunities and grow the revenue. Branding gives the consumer the first choice, and a good brand will be the premium. Branding is a business economic tool and not a beauty parade, Doug says.

Doug, who says that if a local company wants to enter into global brand list, it must first operate in more than one market, further believes that the top performing global companies all have one critical commonality – they recognise that brand strength is an asset and if strategically understood, measured and positioned, the asset value of a company’s brand has been seen to be the answer to closing the gap between existing annual return and their potential return.

Further stating that brand value as an asset is what no CEO, CFO or CMO should ignore, Doug says with global companies and financial institutions jockeying for local competitiveness and simultaneously looking for acquisitions across Africa, the role and strength of these brands are constantly under the spotlight.

Daniel Obi