Some Malawians who have created their personal brands successfully.
If you’re a blogger or business owner and you’ve spent even the tiniest amount of time on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen this word thrown around A LOT. But what is a BRAND really!?
I can tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t your logo, or colour scheme, or even the fancy fonts you use. These are all PART of your brand, but your brand itself is something much more extensive than that.
Its the emotions people feel when they hear your name.
Take Airtel as an example.
Airtel Malawi is one company with a lot of branding efforts. Pic credit Airtel Facebook Page
When you think of Airtel
you might imagine their logo or the way their social media looks
looks. But more likely, the thoughts that pop into your head will be something along the lines of value for money, speed and efficiency. Thats if they have it or not. It will depends on your experience with their services and products.
These associations are all part of their brand.
One that has taken years to cultivate.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room”
Jeff Bezos, Amazon
So what are the three main elements of a strong brand?
WHO you are
WHAT you do
HOW you do it
WHY you do it
Your values are at the very heart of your brand. They are what make you, you! They are what your business is all about and, more importantly, they are what make you stand out from your competitors.
Let’s say you own a little mandasi shop in your hood. All the mandasi are freshly baked in-house and decorated beautifully. But lets say there are 3 other shops in town all doing the exact same thing. All freshly baked mandasi and all beautifully presented.
How do you stand out?
Well, maybe you are committed to supporting the community and are the only shop who buys all of your ingredients from local suppliers. Or maybe you donate a certain percentage of your sales to charity. Or you add a quirky little quote or thank you note into each packet of mandasi purchased.
These are the elements that make your business special. The little extras that keep your customers coming back for more instead of buying their Mandasi from one of the other shops.
They are your brand values.
“People do not buy goods & services. They buy relations, stories & magic”
So wat is the first element of a brand?
Your voice is exactly what it says on the tin – its how and where you communicate with your customers.
An edgy, fashionable business, for example, will be much more likely to use humorous, informal language and speak to their target audience on social media than an accountancy firm who will be more formal and probably use more traditional marketing and networking methods.
Dennis Imaan is a Global Citizen born and currently staying in Malawi. He loves to share his experiences and lessons with others. Travel, Tourism, Innovations, Media and Youth development are close to his heart.