In an enlightening session during the Citi Business Festival’s on-air series, Dr. Andrew Ayiku, a renowned professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Professional Studies, provided entrepreneurs and small business owners with invaluable advice on building strong SME brands.
The session, aired on Monday, June 12, 2023, emphasized the importance of brand positioning, promise, storytelling, and association.
Dr. Ayiku began by highlighting the significance of brand positioning, emphasizing that entrepreneurs must consider how successful and strong their brands will be in the marketplace.
“One of the things you need to think of when building a brand is how successful or strong that brand will be. That is, the positioning of the brand. What perception do customers have about your brand? This is very key. Again, you must think about the brand promise. This is what differentiates you from the rest of the market. A lot of businesses are collapsing because they do not know this.”
He also emphasized the importance of customer perception, stating that understanding how customers perceive a brand is key to building a successful one. “Brand promise is what differentiates you from the rest of the market,” Dr. Ayiku asserted.
He emphasized that businesses often fail because they overlook the importance of promising something to their customers and fulfilling that promise.
To effectively communicate the brand promise, Dr. Ayiku stressed the significance of using a compelling slogan and logo that accurately represent the brand’s essence.
Storytelling emerged as another crucial aspect of building a strong brand.
Dr. Ayiku emphasized that the story customers encounter when engaging with a brand is crucial. He encouraged business owners to carefully consider the experience they provide to customers and the narrative they convey through their interactions. Crafting a compelling brand story is essential for building customer loyalty and creating memorable experiences.
“It is only the story that the customer will encounter and that comes from experience. When they encounter you what do they experience? What story are you telling your clients?”
Furthermore, Dr. Ayiku urged entrepreneurs to pay close attention to their brand association. He advised business owners to be mindful of the logo, tagline, and image they associate with their brand, as these elements significantly impact customer perception and brand reputation.
“Taking the time to carefully develop and refine these aspects is crucial for building a strong brand identity.”
Building strong brands online
In addition to offline brand building, Dr. Ayiku provided insights into building a strong online presence for SMEs. He advised entrepreneurs to understand their brand identity and purpose on social media platforms. Whether the objective is creating awareness, building reputation, or generating sales, aligning the brand’s online presence with its mission is crucial for success.
Dr. Ayiku also stressed the importance of optimizing social media profiles to reflect the brand’s identity and developing a content strategy that resonates with the target audience. Utilizing relevant hashtags was also recommended to increase brand discovery and reach on social media platforms.
Before concluding, Dr. Ayiku reminded business owners to carefully evaluate the return on investment before embarking on paid advertising campaigns. Understanding the potential benefits and costs of paid advertisements is essential to make informed marketing decisions.
The entire month of June is dedicated to business on Citi TV and 97.3 Citi FM.
The Citi Business Festival is an extensive program of business events and on-air activities providing inspiration, business ideas, and information to persons who are starting, building, or growing their businesses.
The on-air series will air on the Citi Breakfast Show on 97.3 Citi FM every weekday.
The Citi Business Festival 2023 is powered by Citi TV and Citi FM in partnership with Absa and is proudly sponsored by MTN MOMO, MTN Business and Zeepay with support from GIRSAL.