I am very fascinated with brands, especially those that have endured for a number of decades. A study of these brands have given me valuable insights into how to build a brand and ensure it lasts.
So in no particular order, here are the brands that I love:
1) Heinz. I love everything about Heinz, most especially their products. In my broke days in Uni, I never opted to buy the substitutes of their products. I preferred to wait until I had enough money instead of buying baked beans that was not from Heinz. Then I went to business school and my strategy professor included Heinz in one of our case studies and I got more excited about the brand. I got to know the history of the brand and how over the years, Heinz products, for example Heinz Ketchup, have been varied to meet the taste of various consumers especially those in emerging markets. Heinz for me personifies that brand that adapts quickly to its consumer. They have stayed true to their core values as well making sure they adequately respond to market and technological changes.
2) Mary Kay. I got interested in Mary Kay after reading a book by Steven Covey where Mary Kay-Ash’s story was mentioned. It got me interested in the Mary Kay brand and that led me to buy her biography. I was beyond amazed at how she started the global company a lot of women have come to love and how she created a sales system that many companies have now adopted and modified. I discovered that the strength of the Mary Kay brand lies in the way it treats every customer as being unique. Whether rich or poor, the brand makes you feel important. So it’s more of a people brand and I love how their beauty reps take the brand as their own. It works perfectly.
3) House of Tara International
Coming back to the shores of Nigeria, I really love House of Tara. It reminds me a lot of the Mary Kay brand. The story of the House of Tara brand is one of persistence, innovation and a drive for excellence. The brand has a lot of firsts to its credit; first bridal make-up outfit, first brand in Nigeria to launch it’s own line of make-up and many more. It’s really impressive. I’ve learnt from the CEO, Tara Fela-Durotoye, the importance of vision and placing your business in the hands of God. Impossible does not exist for the House of Tara brand.
When you hear The Ritz you know that you should expect something classy and out of this world. The Ritz is the ultimate luxury brand for me. Why? It’s because over the years their attention to detail and the importance placed on the comfort of their target market has made the brand synonymous with luxury. With The Ritz, there are no regrets. Yes I said it. It’s money well spent. Customer is king and The Ritz definitely knows this and continues to push the boundaries of luxury and comfort everytime.
These are just a few of the brands that I love. Following brands and their stories can give you ideas when you want to start your business. They have paved a path you can follow. All you just need to do is tailor the path to suit yourself. Learn from the mistakes they have made and strive to achieve the height that they have reached. If they can do it, you can do it too.