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Talking Business - Week 5
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Prof. Chamakanda
29/06/2012

Promoting and Branding your Product or Service
For any economy to be successful it needs a very strong backbone rooted in small to medium enterprises (SMEs), as a case in point of the economy of developed countries in the world. China is a good example, which has become a great force to content with today, due to its investment in its cottage industries, SMEs and entrepreneurial endevours. Zimbabwe seems to have been poised for that trend during the past few years, and Gweru has been one of the towns in the forefront.

You will be aware of the small enterprises that have surfaced at literary every corner of Gweru. The growth of SMEs in any economy, encourages economic growth, reduces unemployment, enhances entrepreneurial skills and improves self-reliance in the nation, particularly in Gweru where many of the major retail and manufacturing industries have closed shop or have retrenched to streamline their operations.

The boom in SMEs has been phenomenal, but getting to know who replaced Trakoshis, Cuthberts, Enzo Shoe Salon, Desai Supermarket, and many other enterprises that were household names in our city is not easy because the new businesses do not make themselves known. They do not have brands to show who manufactured a particular product. The Registrar of Companies has, at some point, indicated how his offices have been overwhelmed by applications to register companies, yet when such companies are registered they do not make any effort to appeal to customers through branding.

Branding is the backbone of any serious business because it gives your enterprise identity. It helps the consumer differentiate you from your competitors, and positions you to be more competitive. You will, no doubt realize that even some of the big companies seem to have lost the culture of branding. Do you still remember the days of Chibataura (a brand of mealie meal), and how the advertisement was so captivating and made you buy the product since you thought it was as tasty as a cake (according to the advert)?

Many of our SMEs do not invest much in building their brand identity as they think that having just the name, making a profit, and moving on from one day to the next is more than enough. A strong brand identity is perceived to generate a good relationship between you and your customer. I am aware that some SMEs feel branding, promotion and advertising are an unnecessary expense. This is due to lack of knowledge, and limited resources. However, at the end of the day money spent on branding is money well spent. In fact, it becomes easy for consumers to relate to your enterprise if you have a strong brand identity.

When your dream of running a business has come true. When you have become clear what you are as an entrepreneur. When you realize what competition means in a business climate where many new businesses are emerging. When you recognize that it is the innovative and risk-taking entrepreneur who survives the rough weather. This forms the foundation for business success, which comes through promotion of your type of product or service. Branding is at the root of it all. Many newspapers will carry your brand and advertisement. You only need to go to myGweru.com to see what other Gweru companies are doing in branding themselves.
Talking Business - Week 5


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