Sbusiso Kumalo on retaining brand value through innovation

The chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made businesses from all industries across the world rethink how they position their brands and connect to their market.

The pandemic requires businesses to give a fresh voice through innovative strategies that are relevant to the new world but still maintain brand value.

For centuries we have witnessed brands adapt to the changes each industrial revolution required, some failed and had to close down. However, with innovation the rules don’t change, we always need to stick to the basics.

All that is required by this new world is for us to be creative, renew and be strategic in our implementation processes so that we continue to appeal to our market, be relevant and still have competitive advantage and presence in the market.

In the fourth Industrial revolution (4IR) most marketers understand that our world has become very  fast-paced due to high-technology which makes it a  challenge for brands to make an impression and capture the hearts of it’s loyal customers.

Sbusiso Kumalo, Chief Marketing Officer at African Bank believes that for transformation to be sustainable is has to start on the inside.

“For an innovation strategy to be effectively implemented, one needs to have a creative mind, imaginative (something that comes easy to me), know the basics, understand the soul of the business, be passionate to drive change and be updated with industry trends,” he said.

“The pandemic has given us a chance to re-evaluate how we conduct business and connect with the market but it did not destroy the culture of innovation, it enforced us to take up the challenges that came with digital transformation in a short-space of time. This is not new in the marketing world, we have a duty to ensure that the organisations we serve at do not miss out. Therefore innovation is a priority, especially now.”

To create brand value that matter, connect to the market, it is important for each department in the business to be aligned before customers are engaged cos when there’s a disconnect the business will most likely not achieve it’s goals.

Sbusiso said: “The key for businesses to retain brand value is to not stop advertising and communicating with their customers simply because of the pandemic. As customers move more towards digital so do brands. If your company didn’t have a digital strategy in place now is a good time to start working and creating that.”

“Customers tend to connect with brands that are authentic and this is a good time for brands to also add empathy because of how the pandemic has impacted a lot of people. This means the language and tone of voice needs to reflect that as best as possible. The customer you will serve is also dealing with a lot, loss of employment or loosing a relative or friend so brands need to take this into account.”

Kumalo is passionate about making change and making people’s lives better, and as an industry leader he believes he has that chance to do that.

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