Alma Mater Brand Identity Crisis

It has been a while since iPut finger to keyboard on this platform. They call it the hustle and bustle of life; we call it ‘kusaka tuvitu twa dunia’. Now to catch up with you on matters  #Brand;  in Kenya, Africa, and the world in general. Now, my alma mater is in the news for all the wrong reasons. The better part of last year, it was all over radio and TV, announcing to all and sundry on the caliber of ‘celebs’ it had groomed to greatness. This infomercial rubbed some people the wrong way, as they claimed were they to ‘floss’ their alumni like the above; then it would be nigh impossible to enumerate them.  The other commercial highlighted the international composition of the student population. The diversity of the populace was screened in full colour. Thus, if you are new to this country, you would be thoroughly enthralled by the impression created. Then, early this year, the chicken came home to roost, dirty linen got its full aeration in the same spotlight that the glory had been transmitted. Social media was rampant with staff salary details, and the discrepancies in them. Hot on the heels was the closure last week of a section of the institution over student unrest.

Now, to demystify the myths. Swahili sayings have a way of telling it as it is, no holds barred. iWill use two proverbs to underline my point. The first is Mgalla muue na haki mpe. Loosely translated, it is a similar analogy to giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s; regardless of his ills. My university is truly renowned for churning out the best journalists in the business. Name any media station, and iWill show you five people in each who are making headlines, literally! The thing is, this fame is slowly waning. Other colleges and universities have upped their game. It is no longer the preserve of my dearly beloved Uni to chest-thump as the only university with a difference. Competitive advantage and market forces have deemed it necessary to innovate, or die. Sadly, my people are still relying on manna, rather than crossing over to the promised land of milk and honey. Granted, if you boast of an international clientele, then you should similarly deliver on the same standards. However, the converse is true.  Systems, structures, processes, and culture are still analogue. Customer service is only in the marketing books.

A brand is a promise kept. Period. Simple. iWill hold you accountable for false advertising, if the product you claim can solve my needs does not live up to its hype. Uzuri wa makakasi ndani kipande cha mti. This means no matter how glossy or polished a piece of furniture is, the composition is still wood/ timber. All that glitters is not gold. With the closure of a branch of the Uni, the worms have come out of the woodwork. The polished image is starting to crack in the public eye. Perception and Experience are vital components in consumer behavior. They inform the customer purchase decisions and behavior;, as well as subsequent brand loyalty. Google any global brand you know of; none has been successful by chance. It is the deliberate cultivation of relationships with their  stakeholders; as well as seamless execution of strategic objectives; using relevant resources, that has brought about the success.

iHave major, major issues with Kenyan brands, if iCan call them that. That is a story for another day, but we will touch a bit on it. There is no way you can be competitive, if you have absolutely no inkling of your customer experience, and its manifestations to your core purpose. In our context, it is claimed the university management is aloof, and dictatorial. Unilateral decisions that directly affect the welfare of the students are ridden roughshod, and passed. Analogue is the management, and communication, that even the faimba guy would really be perplexed, and say “Mbossiwe!”. This blog is aimed at providing solutions to Kenyan, African, and Global problems, so enough with ranting.

Simply put, communication is everything. Be it in relationships, work or personal. The Bible puts it simply, ‘Come let us reason together’ (Isaiah 1:18). Display of wrangles in public is no no. It is neither Biblical, nor is it African to display nakedness hadharani. Let us put this matter to rest, for the betterment of all parties concerned; and the great heritage of this institution. History will judge all stakeholders harshly, if they just sit back and take photos as it crashes; as our generation is wont to do (The witnessors, ni kama ndrama, ni kama findeo!).

Brand identity and Brand image are directly correlated. If you claim to be the best, it is only in order for you to deliver; by having in place all that is required to fulfill that promise. Mediocrity has no place in the path of excellence. Brandlyf addresses very emotive issues, as anything that is close to one’s heart is bound to be. It is high time we deliver on these emotions by consciously engaging the consumer at their basic level. The Leader shall be the Servant of all…Let us Live The BrandImage

Let’s pick up from here soonest…

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