The ‘magic sauce’ that will define the top brands of tomorrow

By our News Team | 2023

Top brands of the future will not be focused on the products they sell, but rather on serving an ecosystem of stakeholder needs.

The globally competitive brands that are top of mind among consumers, touching and changing lives on a daily basis, are those that are continuously focused on better understanding our ever-evolving and increasingly complex customer needs. 

These brands have a towering functionality and presence which means even our first contact with them creates a lasting impression that causes people to quickly rely on them – to the point where they become an extension of our daily existence. Simply put, they have created a reality that we ‘cannot survive’ without them in our lives.

Brand Strategy

Photo credit: Museum of Brands, London, via Wikimedia Commons

Writing in the latest issue of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC), Harare-based communications and reputation management expert, Dr Tabani Moyo, says corporate brands which have become our inseparable day-to-day allies range from social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Instagram and WhatsApp – through to the runaway tech success stories like Apple, Amazon and Alibaba (to name but a few) which emerged in the century of internet growth.

But there are also many historical brands that have emerged from the traditional business model of the 19th and 20th century, and sometimes even earlier, that are also set to be part of the brand lexicon of the future. 

A case in point is some of Unilever’s long-established brands that have been in existence for more than a century. One such being the 121-year-old Lifebouy brand, which has grown stronger at the turn of every decade through careful nurturing and facelifting. 

Brand emphasis was on ‘durability’ and ‘deep-clean’

The brand – well-known in Zimbabwe and many other African countries – has cleverly modernised its initial offering by maintaining the brand promise through evolving its texture and target markets. The initial target audience was the rural consumer at the lower end of the economic ladder, where the brand emphasis was on product ‘durability’ and ‘deep-clean’.  

The facelifted brand is now equally targeting young, professional and upwardly mobile consumers. But, at the same time, it has remained true to the loyal customer base by riding on Lifebouy’s traditional ethos and the lasting memories of the original brand experience. 

Another similarly historic soap brand, Geisha, is maintaining its competitive gravitas through reinvention. It has done so through re-packaging and coming up with a modern formulation of rich fragrances. 

The Geisha of the early ‘80s through to the early 2000s was targeted at low-income earners and communicated size and durability. The re-invented brand speaks to the quality of life that people using the product yearn for – creating strong brand associations of family unity, sharing and caring. You can watch a Geisha television advertisement here.

“Tomorrow’s brands are made up of clear and profound principles which set them apart in order to achieve long-term strategic goals, irrespective of the temptation for short-term rewards,” Dr Moyo says.

Read more about brand strategy in the latest issue (Issue 1 2023) of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the in-depth quarterly magazine of the African Marketing Confederation. You can download a free copy of the Digital Edition here