7 January 2009 7 Comments

Build to last brands

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

building-2As brand owners or the brand itself (Personal Branding), it should be a concern to us to build a lasting brand that does not fizzle out before its time. In Africa, very few corporate brands have crossed the two hundred years of existence. Meanwhile, we have up to seven hundred years corporate brands in western world.

This has usually being a source of concern to me as an individual and that is one of the reasons for the creation of this webblog.

I do strongly agree with Charles Darwin’s position when he wrote ‘it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but one most responsible to change’. Charles made some salient points about what determines the survival of any brand. The key words he mentioned were responsiveness to change.

Few brands that have survived hundreds of year are not rigid in approach to issues neither are they strongly attached or controlled by the family of the founders alone. Some of the factors that made age-long brands last are discussed below.

1. Financial conservativeness: most of them are very prudent in the use of financial resources. Decisions on what to spend on what are not at the caprices of few who spend at will just to show off. But financial decisions are based on sound, proven ethics.

2. Sensitivity to the environment: they have their arsenals, radars positioned to comb the environments 24/7.They also act as fast as possible to the feedbacks gotten from environmental monitoring.

3. Strong identity awareness and promotion: every brand has an identity or cultural values in terms of location, culture and their visuals. Most use this to their advantage and promote their traditional values, culture everywhere.  

4. Vulnerable/tolerance of new ideas: Build to last brands are always open to new ideas. They are not afraid of taking calculated risks.

5. Value people: People are the major assets of any build to last brands. So it is not uncommon for some of their staffs to have become part owners of the business. Strong system or not, they are ‘raiser and not users’ of men.

6. Learning culture: Build to last brands place premium on improving the skills of their people. They do not fire people who are good but who made a mistake of judgment once.

Let us weigh our brands’ behavior against these parameter and we can determine the future of the brands with what score we get.

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