First, I feel horrible I haven’t blogged for a while. Its been really crazy for me with work, school and life in general though I have so many stories to share. I hope I will be able to find time once a week to share some thoughts.
I happen to work in a branding company. Let me clarify, branding is not printing T-shirt or cars. Its is the process of developing (Name, logo, tagline), communication(ads, campaigns etc) and growing (PR) a brand. I do strategy, which happens to be some form of foundational work for brand building and communication too. I have been doing it for two years and I totally in love with the whole process.
I have had some amazing moments doing branding but I have had some lows.
The lows as I have discovered are all very cultural. They are mainly barriers that find you in the line of work that harbor a proper creative process. I have come to the conclusion, Branding in Kenya is special, It has its own rules and trends.
1. Clients’ do not like original ideas, if its never been done before don’t try it on me
The above is debatable but its true, at times a clients want ‘Something like XY company with a tweak’ but what they really mean is remove their logo and put mine and change the words with synonyms.
This is probably the biggest buzz kill. I am slowly learning to cool my horses and give client what they asked for hoping that the part they say tweak I am really allowed to tweak
2. Consistency? Hell no, I have to steal some, make some
What do I mean? We are in a market where brands can alter service, prices and even brand look based on ‘where’ they are. I was at a recent fast food joint in a Hurlingham. I happen to be frequent visitor of its sister branch in town. Now I have a ‘usual’, ‘Quarter chicken and chips’ for 210 shillings. Plus soda comes to 270. So while at this Hurlingham branch I order for the same and my bill comes to 410. So I give the lady a look that says ‘ don’t even think of knocking me off’, God has been working on my patience and he directs me to the price board. Chips is 100, Soda 110 and quarter chicken 210. Bla bla.. I went on to tweet my frustration away and was actually surprised that everyone knew the prices of this one brand matter.
I could mention a couple of other brands, but let me be nice. He he.
When working with brands in Kenya you will notice, company’s will send cheap quality merchandise to some region, cheap paint to brand offices even.
3. I cant spend that money on a phrase, video or icon with color.
Oh, The ignorance!… he he .
This is the mindset behind many clients who wont give the extra buck for a good log, tagline or artwork. It is frustrating they want you to give a ‘simple’ logo and tagline such as Apple’s but don’t realize the value of the very simple icon. I don’t blame though, marketing for a while has been something that’s shunned, its something for the lame, thus the understanding of it is very shallow. I can only hope there
4.Client will always know more than you do
Unlike the usual case where client is always right, here, the client always knows what to do. He/she knows you should put the logo below the line despite the imbalance it gives the design. I found a way to conquer this, they want the logo bigger, go font 72, then put your nice one with font 20 beside it and let them compare, they will probably end up telling you do font 22 he he. What I am saying is, be willing to try out clients’ ideas with the aim of convincing them to buy into yours.
Finally, I think the most successful of communicators in this industry are those who take time to listen, learn their client and EDUCATE them .Finally, patience is everything. I am learning the hard way.