By Jaluum Luwizza Herberts

As I type this we have an election going on in Kyandondo. Predicting the winner of the election at this stage would be tricky depending on how elections go down in this side of the world and particularly this country to be specific. But I would comfortably put my money on Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine to win if I had to.

Anyone who has been following the campaign period prior to today has felt the effect of the Bobi Wine juggernaut.
I won’t say I know Bobi Wine personally. I would be lying to you. My only physical contact with him must have come in 2006 when I was part of a young dance group in Arua where I lived for a year and our dance group was curtain raising for him. I mimed Bada (Omwana wa bandi) which was a very popular hit back then. That’s my only physical contact with him. Fast foward, after even shelving my music dreams and getting new love (entrepreneurship) I can say I have been following one of the most influential young people of our times (take it or leave it) and I can say I have come to appreciate him more as a person, a family man, business man, social figure and of course, positive entertainer.

Over the years, if there’s anything Bobi Wine has been able to do flawlessly is build a strong brand. He has been so thoughtful of how to build his public image and I can say he has done a good job at it taking into account the fact we live in a society where people are still fighting to understand and grasp the concept of branding and image.

What is a brand? Some will ask. In simple terms I will say, a brand is that thing that makes one willing to spend more than 100k on a plate of food at Serena or Sheraton but won’t willingly spend the same amount of money on the same plate of food at a down town restaurant. That thing that will have one comfortably spending 200k on a pair of shoes in Bata but won’t spend the same amount of money on the same exact pair of shoes in those other Kampala shops. So a brand is identity value.

Many of our small business owners and social figures have failed to understand the concept of building strong brands. American companies have perfected this art and managed to make lots of money building and selling brands. Calvin Klein for example, orders its jeans from Thailand. In Thailand the jeans cost about $10-$20 dollars until a Calvin Klein brand logo is printed onto them and the pair of jean right away becomes $200. Yes, $180 more for just printing the CK logo onto the pair of jeans meaning that logo alone is valued at $180 way more than the actual jean that costs a paltry $20. You must be wondering why! It’s the power of building a brand. It’s like building value in air, value that can’t be touched or felt, does it make sense, haha.

I must say, over the years Bobi Wine has done a good job building a strong brand for himself that today he rides on to get to Parliament.

So as we start, grow and build businesses let’s focus on building strong brands.

Businesses can collapse any day but strong brand live on for long. Nokia as a business had collapsed but the brand didn’t and it’s making its way back slowly into the market. Trust me everyone wants to be associated with a strong brand at whatever costs, look at apple, look at Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, KFC name it even if it means paying way over the ordinary. Let’s not just build businesses, let’s build brands.

Jaluum Herberts Luwizza is writer, speaker and business consultant with YOUNG