The Two main Things to avoid this New Year.

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A happy new year to all my readers this 2011 and it’s my prayer that this year will be a year full of wonderful opportunities especially for us in the branding industry.

I must confess my conspicuous absence in the blogosphere for a couple of  few months and this was necessitated by a personal need to listen more and speak less  as I observe the goings on of an industry characterised  but a lot of developments during 2010.

Hence I have decided to break the silence and take a different route this month; to help you focus on what not to do this year, initiating you into a school of thought buoyed by more learning, more reflection as we break the conventional barrier of traditional branding techniques experienced over time.

And that will be my main area of focus today, the two simple brand habits killing our industry over the last three years.

Curious?

Lets find out.

1.Inconsistency.

In Branding, consistency is King. Period.

Whether we are in 2011 or 2057, consistency is the currency that ushers richness to wealth.

I was very excited for airtel when they came into our country with their winds of change freedom (or the lets feel free) gospel. And they never disappointed me since their concept was driven by freshness and the thinking out of the box idea, an idea I must say was well thought of. But what they should be very careful is consistency in their execution. Displaying on big bill boards of how they will de-congest us from congestion is one wrong route they should never have taken in the first place. Its one thing to de-congest us from congestion and its another thing to offer freedom.

And that is one mistake you should never do in branding; focusing on the means instead of the end. What they should now focus more is how they will articulate their freedom Gospel into the Kenyan populace with a step by step plan or furthermore show us how they will locally position such a big powerful global brand to fit the shoes of the average Kenyan while still maintaining their global appeal if they are to out stage big players like Safaricom.

And the same goes for social media and the excitement it brought along in 2010. A lot of brands are now focusing their energies on the medium instead of the message/objective in the first place. Being on face book, having a twitter account or being on LinkedIn will not do the trick.

The main question will be why should I adopt social media and for what objectives (or should I use social media in the first place), rather than adopting it as a means to an end which is not defined in the first place.

And that goes both ways. Even if you play bright and focus on the light , always know that a tunnel exists.

2.Predictability.

Predictably is what I saw when banks produced almost  one consistent message in an average of three years; what I call “the song of a Kenyan friend” initiated by the revolutionaries; Equity Bank.

Consider these taglines from the following banks:

  1. Equity Bank-Listening, Caring, Financial Partner
  2. Consolidated bank:-Growing with YOU.
  3. Credit Bank-My friend,My bank.
  4. Family- With YOU for life.

I like the idea of banks breaking away from their traditional serious image they have been associated with all along .But their evolvement shouldn’t be predictable for all of them at the same time.

“The song of a Kenyan friend ” , goes something like this ; “I’m a friend  who will grow with you, walk with you, listen to you ,be with you forever and ever, and this time for good”.

So please if you are another bank rebranding this year be aware that we know you want to be our friend hence do it with a touch of difference and don’t overate it.

To live a legacy in branding never be predictable. And history will love you forever.

(Read an article I wrote titled what I learn from the brand called Apple)

Kenyan Brands are undergoing a lot of metamorphosis over the last few years and its my prayer that both the big fish and the SME will raise the standards this 2011.

Any brand habits to avoid this year? Talk to me.

See you next week.

Yours in Branding.

Eric

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