Farmers most times complained of lack of customers and market access for their products. Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Development Programmes, Research Institutes and Agricultural Universities have been focusing on teaching and training people on agricultural production while leaving one of the crucial aspects called Branding.
Little wonder why many farms and farmers don’t grow beyond their small capacity. Come to think of it, why do some people prefer some products and services to another despite the cost difference?
If we must practice agriculture as a business and take it to the next level, there is need for stakeholders to consider branding as inevitable part that will ensure sustainable development.
Brand building has been the core component of large and sustainable organisations today. Branding is the small things they do daily that build their business. Brands are clusters of functional and emotional values which promise stakeholders unique experience. It is an intangible assets that agribusiness should acquire.
According to Emmanuella Clinton, CEO, Nuela Clinton Farms, Delta, Nigeria, ‘Brand is anything that distinguishes your product from another man’s product while branding is the intellectual capacity you add to your business.
People purchase Eva water despite the price compared to sachet water because Eva has done something to our mind. They branded our mind. When drinking Eva water we have a mind-set that it is safe while sachet water without a brand name does not assure this. We need to brand our product to attract customers to an extent of higher profitability
Five (5) ways to brand our business are as follow; Make your Customers have reason to come back; Make your product better than others; Give Customer a good conduct of character; Target Diverse Market and Grow your business by all means.
Furthermore, effective agribusiness branding should consider the following;
1. Self branding: Self branding is fundamental in building any business brand. How do you or your employees appear before customers? What opinion do customers have of you and your employees? Your customers can be the people you sell/give/offer your first product/service to and this set of people can be instrumental in building your business brand when you appear well before them. There is need for individual stakeholders to develop an independent personality. When customers want to choose between competing brands, they assess the fit between the personalities of competing brands and the personality they wish to project.
Customers will approach individuals or businesses with good track record or have delivered quality products and services. It is therefore necessary for management or business owner to check consumers’ perceptions of their organisation or business and take action to encourage favourable perceptions. When you give customers a nice treat, it leaves good impression in their memory.
2. Business Identity: Identity is another way of branding your agribusiness. It entails having a unique name, logo, objectives, vision, mission and core values for your business. This identity should be well reflected in your products/services delivery, activities execution, staff and customers relationship. Get a distinct name that clearly describes your business. Logo may be name, term sign, symbol, design or combination of them intended to identify products or services. Objective guides activities while values guide behaviour. The vision for what the brand is to become should drive ideas about the core essence of the brand. Identity of a product or service can be spread and entrenched using tools such as business directory, having business website, participating in social media and forum site and featuring in Newspaper, Television and Radio programmes. Equally, you create identity by participating in conferences and trade exhibitions.
3. Partnership: Consumers are more likely to accept promises and offerings from partnership, group or team.. Syngenta which is one of the leading seed company in the World was formed as a merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals. Many agribusiness giants were formed by cooperatives or group of individuals with common goals. It is therefore important for small businesses or individuals with same/compatible goals to join forces to build better brand of their products and services.
4. Legal Structure: Another way of building business brand is to enforce a legal statement of ownership. It thus involves having legal framework for your business, company or cooperatives which should include business registration, article of organisation, constitution, patenting, trademark registration and intellectual property. Customers will freely transact business with business, company or cooperative having good legal structure.
5. Value Addition: The importance of value addition in agribusiness cannot be over emphasized. There is need to re-strategize the way we produce and supply our goods to the final consumers. Value addition entails adopting good production practice/technology, packaging, processing, logistics and supply chain management. It involves providing customers with extra benefits. Value is in the eyes of the beholder, if a brand is to thrive; its added values need to be relevant to customers.
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