An expert’s take on building successful brands

Esther Murugi

Esther Murugi, the founder of Elite Mawu Agency.

Photo credit: Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • Successful brands cultivate loyal customer base.
  • Consistency is crucial for building brand recognition.

One of the questions that many entrepreneurs who are just starting out grapple with is how to build successful brands.

Experts argue that factors such as brand's mission and values, the target audience's demographics, preferences and needs, as well as the resources at your disposal all go into building a successful brand.

One such expert is Esther Murugi, the founder of Elite Mawu Agency. 

As someone whose agency also supports brands to develop compelling brand messaging, Ms Murugi points out that every brand has a story; how well the story is told is what utltimately determines success or failure.

Ms Murugi shared some useful tips with Nation.Africa on how to run a successful brand.

What inspired the inception of Elite Mawu Agency?

The interest of understanding why consumers want to engage consistently with a brand. One of the reason would be, an appealing brand. 

I thought, what a better way to understand what good branding means, practice on executing a well-defined brand and now help businesses in branding right. 

This would involve careful consideration of various elements such as the agency's name, logo, visual aesthetics, messaging, and overall positioning in the market.

I saw branding as an essential tool for not only attracting clients but also communicating the agency's values, expertise, and unique selling points to potential clients, industry partners, and stakeholders.

In your view, what defines a successful brand?

A successful brand is about building trust, delivering value, and creating meaningful connections with people. It's an ongoing journey of brand management, innovation, and customer engagement

A brand should easily be recognizable and memorable. It stands out from competitors and is instantly associated with its products, services, or values.

Its reputation is positive among its target audience and stakeholders. A brand which consistently delivers on its promises, maintains high quality, and earns trust and loyalty.
A successful brand also cultivates a loyal customer base that chooses it repeatedly over competitors. 

Adaptable and responsive to changes in the market, consumer preferences, and cultural trends. It evolves over time while staying true to its core values and identity.

A successful brand also often translates into strong financial performance, including revenue growth, market share expansion, and profitability.

What considerations should one keep in mind while building a brand?

When building a brand, clearly define your brand's mission, values, personality, and unique selling propositions. This forms the foundation of your brand identity and guides all branding efforts. 

Understand your target audience's demographics, preferences, needs, and pain points. 
Understanding your audience's heartbeat and weaving positive, memorable experiences are non-negotiables. Every brand has a story; the art lies in telling it well.

How much of their resources should businesses invest in branding?

This can vary depending on factors such as the industry, the stage of business growth, competition, and overall strategic objectives. 

However, branding is a critical aspect of business success and should be allocated a significant portion of resources.

In the early stages of a business, when brand awareness and recognition are crucial, a larger portion of resources may need to be allocated towards branding activities such as advertising, content creation, and building a visual identity. 

As the business matures and brand recognition increases, the allocation may shift towards other areas such as product development or expansion.

In highly competitive industries, businesses may need to invest more resources in branding to stand out from competitors and capture market share. 

This could include investing in innovative marketing campaigns, enhancing customer experiences, and differentiating the brand through unique value propositions.

Businesses should also consider the potential ROI of branding investments. While branding efforts may not always yield immediate tangible results, they can contribute to long-term brand equity, customer loyalty, and revenue growth.

From your experience, why do some brands fail in the market?

Many entrepreneurs don’t understand the importance of creative, quality, professional and strategic use of branding technics to position their brands. 

I see brands placing themselves in the market with substandard branding elements such like flyers, pitch desk and profile. 

Your brand should also reflect the quality of work that you persuade your client to provide. Your brand is your reflection.

Brands that fail to maintain consistency in their branding efforts across various channels and touchpoints may confuse consumers and dilute their brand identity over time.

Consistency is crucial for building brand recognition and trust. 

Brands that lack a clear and compelling brand positioning struggle to differentiate themselves from competitors and connect with their target audience.

Consistency, clarity, and compelling positioning are the lifelines of a brand's longevity. It's about reflecting the quality of your work through every brand touchpoint and maintaining a resonant and authentic brand experience.

What’s the significance of having an expert guide the brand-building process?

Branding experts understand the distinctions of brand strategy, consumer psychology, market trends, and effective branding techniques, which can help businesses navigate the complexities of the branding process more effectively.

An expert guide provides strategic guidance and direction to ensure that the brand-building efforts align with the business goals and objectives. 

They can help businesses define their brand identity, differentiate themselves from competitors, and develop a cohesive brand strategy that resonates with their target audience.

They offer valuable creative input and direction to help businesses develop a strong visual identity, messaging, and brand assets that effectively communicate their brand values and personality. 

They can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the table, helping businesses create memorable and impactful brand experiences.

They can help businesses avoid common pitfalls and mistakes, saving time, money, and resources in the long run. Businesses also get to lay a strong foundation for long-term brand success since they offer strategic foresight and the ability to predict market trends.

Over the years, what key lessons have you learned about establishing and nurturing a brand?

Authenticity is crucial for building trust and loyalty with consumers. A brand that is genuine, transparent, and true to its values resonates more deeply with its audience.

Consistency and an unwavering focus on exceptional customer experiences are the cornerstones of any successful brand. Differentiation is your brand's signature — make it bold and unmistakable.

In terms of investment in branding, what are the most critical areas businesses should focus on?

A comprehensive brand strategy is your north star, guiding every decision. Invest in crafting a visual identity that mirrors the excellence of your offerings. 

Quality in every brand material isn’t just an expectation; it's a standard. Your brand's visual and strategic elements are the first handshake with your audience — make it impactful.

It’s important to invest in quality branding materials for your marketing tools such like company profiles, pitch deck, flyers etc.

Finally, as someone at the forefront of branding and marketing, what trends do you see shaping the future of branding?

Consistency is essential for maintaining a strong and cohesive brand identity across all touchpoints, including visual elements, messaging, and customer experiences. 

Brands that exhibit consistency in their branding efforts build trust and recognition with their audience.

With the rise of social media and digital platforms, visual and interactive content formats such as videos, infographics, branding collaterals are becoming more prevalent in branding strategies.

Brands are using these formats to engage audiences, tell compelling stories, and create immersive brand experiences.