Books by Afolabi Dollars (AfolaBRAND)

  • Other books on branding
  • 23 Laws of Branding(brand management) , Business according to kingdom pattern, Practical Business(succession&sustainability in business),21st century SMEs,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

FIRE-BRANDING

FIRE BRANDING

When a log of wood or tree is set ablaze,  immediately, there is an intense flames  of fire, burning immensely that when anybody passing by sees  the fire from a distance, it makes them unrest, curious and anxious;  some passers by will even stand still, trying to look and find  out the cause  of the fire.
Some spectators may not even see any flames, may be they see only the smoke because they are father away from where the fire is burning but they still have an awareness and knowledge in their minds that there is no smoke without a fire. In fact, everybody’s attention is captured by the fire and they become RESTLESS; in their curiosity and captivation, they move much closer to the fire, others trace the smoke to where the fire is burning and everybody gets there to their discovery that it is just a tree or log of wood that is causing the fire. Now, that burning tree or log of wood that captured the attention of everybody is called the “FIRE BRAND”.

Fire branding is therefore an aggressive pioneering or pace-setting act of a brand in creating or effecting restlessness, competitive strives and perpetual agitations among other brands.
I will like to say that fire branding is distinct from normal branding or let me put it in this way; a fire branded product is different from an ordinary branded product.
Carl Von Clausewitz, Pruss general and statesman said “there are very few men- and they are the exceptions- who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment”

Fire branding is been demonstrated by just a few; it’s the brand ahead of other brands in thinking, conceptualizing and delivery.
In most countries, when a particular brand in the spirit of pace-setting or trail-blazing , comes out with a business concept and/or innovation, found, tested and trusted to be working and productive in results, other existing brands quickly follow suit, creating a ‘bandwagon’  trend  along that  same line.
In Nigeria for instance, especially in the banking industry, a particular bank comes up with an idea/concept or strategy for operational improvements and peak productivity, which is mostly reflected in their publicities and advertisings; immediately, the remaining 24 banks will follow suit, threading the same line of concept/strategy.
Of course, there is nothing really wrong with that especially in a competitive market but the fact is, the brand (the bank) that pioneered or initiated the innovation is the fire brand while the other brands (banks) are ordinary “copy-cat” brands, even if they are strong or more prominent.

This is also reflected in a few other sectors like the telecoms, food & beverages, bottling companies, entertainment brands, multinational brands, oil & gas and more.
For example, a particular brand in the telecoms industry comes up with a CSR concept, reflecting in a TV game show or family shows or a musical talent show, immediately, other brands in the same industry follow suit, doing the same concept almost in exactitude or very same manner. The concept initiator is always the fire brand, while others brands following are “copytitors”.
Another example is seen in automobile industry across the world, where at different times; specific brands initiate an automobile design, pattern or assembling in manufacturing of their product, then, other automobile brands become restless and are challenged or inspired/motivated to come up with similar design in manufacturing their own products. Yet, the fact remains that the initiator that causes restlessness among competitive brands is the fire brand.

There are several examples all over the world I can illustrate about fire branding but for space and time but I say it is high time for brands, especially for business Christians to move beyond just ordinary branding to fire branding, catching the attention of the entire public and causing restlessness among your contemporaries, thereby becoming the “avant-garde”, the cynosure of the brand world.

I implore brands to move from just being brands to become fire brands, setting the pace, leading in concept and other brands following; becoming a yardstick, gauge or leverage which other brands are watching, studying and depending on before making their next  move.
Let the “smoke” of your “fire” effect an attraction, attention and a sense of competition to other brands. A fire brand is not complacent with any result or achievements; it believes that excellence is a journey and not a destination.


......culled from my  book  on 23laws of branding

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Monday, December 20, 2010

ADVERTISING AS A GOOD MEDIUM FOR BRAND MAINTENANCE

BRAND MAINTENANCE (ADVERTISING)
Brand maintenance is the act of keeping your brand in an existing state of relevance, efficiency and validity in the mind of your target audience.

It is the continuous preservation of your brand/business against threats, declinations, competitive oppositions and disappointments through constant registration/affirmation of your brand’s delivery capabilities on the mind of the general public, thereby creating consistent consumers’ attraction/attention towards the demand of your brand among other brands.
Brand maintenance compliments brand building and both constitute the management of a brand like we’ve discussed before.
There is no how we will talk about brand maintenance without talking about advertising and there is no how we talk advertising without talking about creativity.
Creativity is an attraction and contingency in the world of advertising and advertising is a world of imagination.
‘ImagiNATION’ is said to be the greatest Nation on planet earth. You can’t create an advert without imagination; both of them are interdependent because advertising helps your brand to broaden your brand’s “communication” and your communication helps you research on how to handle advertising.
Your imaginative power is your creative ability which assertively assures the effectiveness and productiveness of the advertising of your brand.
Albert Einstein, a German born US physicist said “imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited, where as imagination embraces the entire world, thereby stimulating progress and birthing evolution”
The attraction of the general public through advertising is the reflection of your brand image, under the process of brand building, which stimulates outstanding progress among contemporary/competitive brands.

Now, the  power of advertising  in brand maintenance is very well illustrated in the quote of Slevas H. Britt, he said “doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark, you know what you are doing but nobody else does”.
So, you have to engage in strategic advertising, where the general public SEE and HEAR your “good works”, and then your brand stands the chance of always being recommended and attracts more patronage from your target audience.
Since the marketability of your brand is of great importance, there is need to put into demonstration the factors that will ensure the prominence/accentuation of your brand, making it of great demand by your target audience. These factors can practically be enhanced through advertising and are therefore a reflection or product of what advertising will do to any brand:
(1)   Advertising exposes your brand.
(2)   Advertising celebrates your brand.
(3)   Advertising emphasizes on what makes your brand unique and different from other brands.
(4)   Advertising communicates the strength of your brand.
Advertising makes the demonstration of the above factors emphatic on images (logos, trade marks, symbols), slogans etc on your invoice, TV, radio, website/internet, letterhead, complimentary card, billboards, news papers/magazine etc.




 





BRAND CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT STRATEGY
Celebrity endorsement is another way/strategy of maintaining your brand in the mind of your target audience.
Brand custodians all over the world agitate this aspect of brand maintenance. Celebrity endorsement is really commendable as the trend is advantageous and profitable to your brand, especially if the celebrity is renowned for positive lifestyle or achievements.

Different celebrities all over the world, ranging from musicians, sports men, actors & actresses, TV presenters, politicians, clergies, comedians to professors etc. have been brand ambassadors in different category of brand endorsements at different times.
Michael Jackson, the late American world pop king endorsed the Pepsi brand long time ago before he was scandalized in child molestation.
Other celebrities like Shaquil O’Neal, an American basket ball player and other celebrities like football superstars like Raul, Roberto Carlos, Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Louis Figo, Didier Drogba, Mikel Obi, Zinedine Zidane etc have all endorsed for Pepsi as a world brand.
Genevieve Nnaji, a Nollywood star actress endorsed of recent for Lux soap as a brand ambassador and other celebrities like Robin Townsend and more have in time past endorsed the same brand.
Alibaba and Julius Agwu both Nigerian ace standup comedians endorsed for a Dutch brand, Hollandia milk.
Pastor Paul Adefarasin, a Nigerian dynamic speaker and versatile clergy of House on the Rock Church, endorsed for one of the best entertainment TV station in Africa, STV.
Mohammed Ali, world greatest boxing legend, endorsed for an international brand, Amstel Malta.
Oprah Winfrey, an accomplished TV presenter/celebrity endorsed for a few brands and she's a brand ambassador for herself.

However, celebrity endorsement is more expedient with sports and better if the celebrity is involved in community development or charity works.
Let us look at a sport icon, David Beccham, who has been involved in various brands’ endorsements like Pepsi, Nike and a few other brands including fashion. He is involved in a charity work, where he contributes his own quota to humanity.
Also, Kanu Nwankwo, a world known footballer with substantial achievements, he runs a charity organization known as Kanu Heart Foundation; he has endorsed for Peak milk and a few other brands’ endorsements.

Celebrity endorsements in branding really  goes a long way to maintain your brand and it has been in operation in developed countries but its quite new in developing countries.
Now, be CAUTIONED as a brand custodian, in the agitation of celebrity endorsements ‘cause some celebrities are considered a “hard sell” in brand maintenance, so be discrete and prudently selective in search of icons or celebrities for your brand in various parts of the world because they (“hard sell”) affect your brand negatively due to their lifestyle, poor antecedence or stigma, which is the societal disapproval of ignonimity.
What I’m saying in essence is any celebrity that has at a point in time been involved in a societal scandal like hard drugs, molestation of any sort, murder, adultery or promiscuity, corruption and such of these which some celebrities (I don’t want to mention names) across the world had fallen guilty at different times, should not be allowed to endorse your brand as doing this will give a negative impression about your organization’s integrity to your target audience. This will automatically affect your brand negatively.
You should target celebrities considered as “easy sell” as  they are very  healthy and profitable to/for your brand because these celebrities  have large number of fans and people who they mentor; so when they are used as brand  ambassadors/endorser of your brand, they attract more of their fans  and those who look up to them to your brand. You can be sure of getting response like these from the public:  “I love to drink Pepsi ‘cause that’s what Beccham drinks”; “I like to use DARK & LOVELY Hair Relaxer ‘cause of the endorsement of Kelly Rowland”; “I like to buy a Nike trainers ‘cause that’s what Michael Jordan’s putting on to walk in the air”; “I must wear Nike swoosh face cap ‘cause its always cool on Tiger Woods”.
These are the kinds of statements you get from the general public because they are great/committed fans of your endorsing celebrities; even “if” those celebrities don’t actually use or patronize the brand they are endorsing.

 ......culled from my book on 23laws of branding
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

REBRANDING: 5 STEPS TO ENSURING SUCCESS IN A REBRANDING PROCESS

REBRANDING
Rebranding is yet another good brand communication as far as brand building is concerned.
Rebranding a product/service in most cases of brand development  is seen in the change of the brand’s name; sometimes, it could be in the change, repackaging or upgrading of the brand’s slogan, efficiency, quality services, image and so on which are modified to build upon the existing relationship between the brand and the target audience.

Rebranding any phenomenon comes in different modification, qualification or description but it’s not just about the CHANGE but always creating a credible and remarkable impression in the minds of your target audience.

Therefore, any  operational or strategic change in  the name of rebranding must  be  the one that creates  or register a  positive  indelible mark or confidence in the minds of the  public through OPERATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS from you as an individual, or as a brand and/or as a nation in any part of the world.

As a brand, individual or  nation, your REBRANDING ESSENCE must be felt, decoded and understood by the  target audience you are trying  to communicate the essence to  or else, you are just  embarking/engaging a futile/demeaning exercise.

We have different categories of rebranding based on the kind of change/modification in a brand and its economic activities, ranging from NOMINAL, STRUCTURAL, IMAGE, PHILOSOPHICAL TO NATIONAL and so on.

For instance, a commercial bank, which is one of the new generation banks in Nigeria known as First Inland Bank, rebranded and changed their brand name to Finbank (Nominal Rebranding).
Another instance is the Nigerian Lever Brothers Plc which rebranded to Unilever (Nominal rebranding).
One of the strongest brands in the Nigerian oil & gas industry ,Oando is a typical example that has progressively gone through a rebranding process since  1956,when it started as Esso West Africa  inc., later rebranded  into Esso  standard  Nig. Ltd  in 1969,later  into  Unipetrol since 1976 until about a decade ago, it finally rebranded to its current name,Oando (Nominal rebranding).
Examples of a few other brands which engaged in nominal rebranding are:
Ø      YAHOO, formerly called Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web.
Ø      PEPSI, formerly known as Brad’s drink
Ø      GOOGLE started out with the name "Backrub"
Ø      NIKE rebranded in 1978 from the name, “Blue Ribbon Sports”
Ø      NISSAN, was initially known as “Nippon Sangyo”
Ø      ORACLE changed their name from “Relational Software Inc”.
Ø      SIEMENS was originally called “Telegraphen-Bau-Anstalt von Siemens & Halske”.
Ø      SKYPE rebranded from its former name, “Skyper” but original concept name was “Sky-Peer-to-Peer”.
Ø      TOYOTA changed its initial name, “Toyeda”
Ø      ACCENTURE rebranded their name from “Andersen consulting”.
Ø      XEROX CORPORATION was formerly The Haloid Company”.

Sterling Bank, another Nigerian New generation bank modified their bank slogan to “Da one customer bank” (Philosophical rebranding).
Other examples of great brands across the world engaged in the change of their brand slogan are British airways, Apple computers, Ford, Coca-cola, IBM, Kodak, Phillips, Shell, Delta airlines, Microsoft  and various banks etc.

Tantalizer plc, a Nigerian branded eatery changed/modified the face of their building structure (Structural rebranding).
First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), a great brand that has been in existence for over a century in  the fore front of the Nigerian  banking sector rebranded in the modification of their elephant logo(Image rebranding).
Other examples of great brands across the world engaged in the change of their brand logos are IBM, Apple, BMW, Nike, Microsoft, LG, Mercedes Benz, Nokia, Xerox, Wal-Mart  etc.
 Many prominent corporate brands change their logos to achieve the perfect BRAND IDIENTITY because the creation of perfect and acceptable brand identification is not an occasional activity but a lifetime registration.

We can see in history different countries engaged in the modification/change of their names, flags colors, anthems, political, economic systems etc in order to project themselves as a great nation with good people and friendly/viable economy before other nations in the world (National rebranding).
A few instances of National rebranding can be seen in a nation like the Soviet Union rebranded into the USSR. Nigeria rebranded in their national anthem to the current one. “Arise o’compatriot…..”. Ghana rebranded her sports activities; Japan a long time ago rebranded her economy and it became one the fastest growing economies in the world. There is no how we talk about national rebranding without talking about the USA; how she through her capitalist and entrepreneurial economic activities has made her one of the strongest brand in the world. Great Britain, Germany  and  other countries  had  underwent  national rebranding at different  times; some failed, some succeeded while some are  yet  to  succeed.



Please note that the slogan is just a part of the philosophy of a brand among others like vision, mission statement etc, just as a logo is just a part of a brand image and not the brand image, though the logo of your brand is the identity that is fundamental to building your brand and communicating with your target audience.

Also, the building structure is just a part of the structure (organizational layout) of a brand and not the main structure.


5 STEPS TO ENSURING SUCCESS IN A REBRRANDING PROCESS

(1)Rebranding should be understood/engaged as a PROCESS & not a PROJECT.
A project is simply a specific plan or design used to communicate vividly to audience for a specific period but a process is a phenomenon marked by gradual changes that leads towards achieving a particular RESULT.
If you engage rebranding as a project, you may become “impatient” and begin to present yourselves as a mirage instead of the substance. You are viewed for a short period of time as the bomb! But after a while, you begin to loose credibility before your target audience ‘cause the “project is over!”
If you engage rebranding as a process as a brand, indivual and nation, there is a gradual development, no rush, the right step at the right time, knowing fully well that Rome wasn’t built in a day. As a Nation for instance, rebranding as a process will make you to know that some political policies and/or economic strategies have to be in place for another to function. It’s a one step at a time thing.

(2) Don’t pay LIPSERVICE! DO IT! LIVE IT!!!
It’s never enough to just project your brand or nation to your target audience (general public or other nations) by singing, talking or advertising your brand. It’s nice to advertise, do jingles, publicities and so on but engaging  all that without the spectators or target audience testifying in confidence about the credibility, integrity/character, promises fulfillment and corresponding actions/activities, then you as a brand is just engaging a “gargantuan” project, or call it a “white elephant  project” of HIGH FEASIBIILITIES BUT LOW IMPACT!
A brand like Nigeria for instance is yet to achieve success in their campaign for rebranding because most of her citizens are wearing the green white green flag & map tag everyday in the name of "rebranding” but their character, integrity in business and daily economic activities in different sectors including some churches are actually "debranding" Nigeria.
We are advertising Nigeria as our brand through the tag wearing, songs of good people, great nation et al but building Nigeria as a brand can be achieved by integrity or promises fulfillments from or by every sector mentioned. This is why I emphasize always that brand advertising (logos, jingles& slogans etc) must blend with brand building (integrity, character &internal reformation) to achieve success in national rebranding and any other rebranding process.
Avoid the hands of Esau but voice of Jacob’s syndrome; because you are only deceiving/mocking yourself as a nation/brand.

(3)Engage a JUXTAPOSITIONAL ANALYSIS of your brand activity before & during your rebranding process.
There is need for you to compare and contrast the modus operandi of your brand before the rebranding process, critically observing every factor that affected your brand productivity in the past, putting them into consideration, recalling that whatever is considerable is attainable.
As a brand engaging a rebranding process, you have to work on past flaws, defects,  losses, failures etc and ensure dogmatic, practical and responsible measures to effect  operational improvements which keeps your brand in the game.
Juxtapose also in comparison, brands or nations that have achieved tremendous success in their rebranding process and learn from their failures and success, their ups and downs and other rebranding strategies.

(4) Allow the active participation of brand experts/consultants.
Rebranding a brand, personality or nation requires the critical and experiential analysis and advice of brand experts/consultants to achieve success.
In fact, engaging a rebranding process of any dimension without the active involvement of brand consultants is like trying to fly a plane without a pilot; that plane is definitely heading for a crash!
For example, Nigeria as a brand is still in the process of trying to re-brand the entire nation’s image and reputation before other nations, though I see it as a gargantuan project of high irrational projections but extremely low/zero impact until the core materials of her BRAND GENETICS as a nation are practically and responsibly dissected and especially analyzed first by brand experts/consultants, then, other participants involved in the national rebranding process, working with them in synergy.

(5) Consistent Review/Evaluation at the drawing BOARD.
The difference between step no.3 and no.5 is that the first talks about the preview while the latter talks about the review of your rebranding process vis-à-vis your brand activity/performance.
There must be a progressive monitoring of your rebranding process by constantly falling back to the drawing board as this will help a lot in making you to be more PROACTIVE than just being REACTIVE to market/economic activities, consumers’ responsiveness etc.
This step is very important in  your rebranding  process ‘cause it makes you as a brand custodian to know how well you are communicating your REBRANDING ESSENCE to your target audience; it makes you to know when to apply a  strategy  or change to a new strategy for your brand to RUN at PEAK PRODUCTIVITY.  Considering the acronym O.I.C.A approach helps in reviewing your rebranding process from time to time, making your rebranding strategies effective and productive.
O=OBSERVATION (makes you observe the effect/dynamism of your rebranding strategies).
I=INTERPRETATION (makes you interpret & understand the reaction of your target audience & economic activities to your rebranding strategies).
C=CORRELATION (makes you relate and link the response of your target audience, competitors etc to the performance of your rebranding strategies).
A=APPLICATION (makes you know what strategies to communicate and when to apply other strategies if/when necessary).

.......culled from my book on  23laws of branding

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