The Value of Brand

"What is brand and why is it important?”

 A question that ARK is all too familiar with being asked and always glad to answer. Occasionally, a few people switch off once they hear that we don’t print logos to stick on their company cars, or create banners saying “one stop shop for fresh & tasty food” to hang above their restaurant. That said, an increasing amount of companies are realizing the value of brands as an asset.

Brands stand for something in consumers' minds and what they stand for are considered to be values. These values enhance a product or service beyond its functional purpose, the consumer gets value, hence they are willing to pay a premium for it.

Another realization of brand value is being considered in companies’ balance sheets, for example when a company is being sold or in the case below looking for investment to grow.

In 2008, the Kenyan internet space was just taking shape, the growth of mobile subscriptions and mobile internet was met with the anticipation of  Kenya’s first sub–marine fiber cable. A new mobile money product by Safaricom called  M-Pesa was gaining popularity and Ushahidi had just been launched. Exciting!

Wananchi Online, a local internet service provider received an investment from East Africa Capital Partners (EACP) and Liberty Global. With the investment Wananchi Online set up Wananchi Group and acquired Simbanet.

The company’s board had an ambitious plan to be the first triple play provider in the region.  They had started creating a brand but knew they had to get it right,they decide to invite ARK to do a quick assessment of what they had. The assessment called for a rebrand.

We created a brand identity, new brand name, positioning and other cool stuff that now stands as the staple entertainment brand known as Zuku in many Kenyan, middle class, homes today. You can see more of  the Zuku project here.

Today Zuku is the largest provider of fixed broadband and earlier this week they announced a $130 million round of funding from several investors, including its original funders – EACP. Kudos!

Among other things, it’s a testament to the power of brand in the top line growth of companies.

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