– brand experts
Panellists at the maiden edition of Brand-CON Africa organised by the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) have urged businesses to use the power of social media and technology to enhance and sustain their brands or risk being uncompetitive in the global market space.
According to them, the COVID-19 pandemic opened new ways of branding and marketing, providing a unique opportunity for smart businesses to keep in touch with their customers through various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.
They pointed out that social media has created a huge market-base that can be used by businesses to grow their brands as well as provide timeous responses to aggrieved clients and customers.
The maiden edition of the conference was held under the theme ‘Celebrating Versatility and Innovation in the Midst of a Pandemic’.
Director of Corporate Affairs, and Public Relations and Business Development at the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), Jesse Agyepong, stressed that the role of new media has made it imperative for companies to adopt new strategies to stay relevant and competitive.
He said social media has made personal branding more attractive in recent times compared to corporate branding, making the voices of influencers very powerful in shaping the perception of customers.
“Today, the power of individual brands is now becoming more powerful compared to institutional brands. This means that you must pay attention to your brands on social media,” he said.
Mr. Agyepong stated that technology and social media has forced policies to be implemented faster and swifter since social media amplifies the voice of the masses.
“Look at policing today: The police pick a lot of their intelligence and tip-offs from social media. Government monitors social media to inform policy direction. If you are a business, you cannot be unconcerned about social media. There is power-shift today through technology,” he said.
Citing the insurance industry as an example, the Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Hollard Ghana, Cynthia Ofori-Dwumfuo, said the demand needs of customers during the pandemic pushed her organisation to quickly implement technological strategies that were being considered for the future.
She stated that new steps had to be taken to reach customers through the use of social media while approaching prospective customers through same.
“Whether we like it or not, digitalisation has changed how we market everything today – and it has come to stay. COVID-19 changed how we at Hollard approach our distribution strategy because customers want demand services,” she said.
On her part, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer for the Jospong Group of Companies, Ms. Sophia Kudjordi, urged businesses to consider their internal staff as part of the branding process.
She maintained that employees represent a core part of business organisation who can positively contribute to the growth of brands on social media.
Ms. Kudjordi pointed out that organisations must take care of the mental wellbeing of their staff, and equip them with the necessary training to help shine light on the activities of their businesses on social media.
“At Jospong, the management listens to every worker. The Group Chairman sometimes listens to the cleaners and takes their suggestions on board. It has really helped in branding the organisation in a positive light,” she said.
Speaking on building a lasting relationship with customers, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Dr. Kobby Mensah, emphasised that organisations must be trustworthy and reliable.
He stated that negative perceptions can damage a very good brand if a business loses the confidence reposed in it by its customers.
“I always tell my students that the best brand is trust and commitment. Trust and commitment are brands that the customers will always carry away and come back to you for business,” he said.
Speaking on Career Conversation, Regional Managing Director of Ogilvy Africa, Akua Owusu-Nartey, stated that companies must put the interest of their staff first to encourage employees to give their best.