Bulawayo companies have been challenged to brand their products in order to enhance their competitiveness in the global market.
Branding is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to that particular business.
Speaking during a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)-ZimTrade Marketing and Branding for International Competitiveness (MBIC) training workshop in Bulawayo Thursday, trainer Dennis Choguya, said the importance of branding could not be overemphasised.
“When you have a strong brand, it earns you money,” said Choguya.
“Let’s allow ourselves to earn a little bit more because we have made our brands work.
When you have a brand you make more money, so you address issues of trade imbalance.”
He said branded products could help Zimbabwe boost export earnings.
Zimbabwean brands such as Mazoe Orange Crush are doing well beyond the country’s borders, even at a time when the country’s exports are subdued.
“Help your country by exporting branded products because they earn more money,” said the trainer.
Branded products, Choguya said, give companies some form of leverage over others.
“You need to create some hype around your products,” he explained.
“What is a brand, is it just a name, is it a logo? What exactly is this thing you are calling a brand, is it just some flashy design. We want to say all these things are not a brand. A brand is a promise that you pay.”
The trainer urged participants drawn from various sectors of the economy including textiles, leather and manufacturing to take time in coming up with brands that will last for years.
He said it was important for companies to analyse products produced by their competitors in order to improve on theirs.
Choguya added that consulting customers, who are the end beneficiaries of products, was also key in any branding exercise.
“Let’s not make decisions for customers, let’s ask them,” he emphasised.