one- on – one with Agneta Alubala, the queen ruling Kenya’s branding space

Agneta Alubala
By: Peter Aowa

Hello Mrs Agneta and welcome to the Mt Kenya Times

Hello too Mr. Aowa and many thanks for the opportunity

Briefly tell us who you are.

My name is Agneta Alubala.

A passionate brand strategist that employs practical and actionable strategies to drive Brands from an idea to full-blown brands…Unknown to Top of Mind. I do both Personal and product branding for Individuals or Corporates.

I am the Lead Brand Strategist and Founder at Brand Mudzo,; a Brand Management  Social Enterprise  and a co-Founder at Dawamu Consulting; an Accounting , Company secretarial and Business Consultancy firm.

What is your academic journey?

I am a rural girl. Born and bred!

I studied in Kakamega county both in primary and secondary school at Mwivona and ArchBishop Njenga Girls respectively. Can you even pronounce that!

I then proceeded to Kenyatta University for my Bachelor’s degree, University of Nairobi for my Masters in Communication Studies and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) for my professional Certification in Marketing.

I am an ardent believer of lifelong learning and unlearning…I am still a student, it never ends!

The most outstanding Business quote for you?

“Customers Buy for their Reasons, not yours”- Ray Watson and “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” – Simon Sinek.

You’re currently working as a brand manager and strategy consultant; kindly take us through this journey.

It’s a story of passion meeting purpose. I have always loved storytelling. Ever since I was a young girl advertisement always caught my eye. I would always be keen to understand the Why and how of the adverts I came across. Born and bred in the village, I did have much exposure to variety of brands but whenever I got a chance to visit a town and especially a supermarket I would almost want to spend the whole day in there….studying products,(their brand names, USPs, packaging, related products ),relating  them to adverts I had come across. Omo, Blueband and Coke were my best. I still have a great fascination towards Unilever and Coke by the way. Coke s’ brand strategy awes me to date!

The above is a typical analogy   of what I do today. I  do in-depth brand audits, analyze them, help them tell a beautiful story  that will make them emotionally and beneficially  attractive to their target market preference in a distinctively different way  in comparison  their competitors .Finally, I make  them memorable and top of mind through  well-crafted positioning statements, USPs  and  right choice of branding elements (visual and non-visual.)I work with both new brands and existing brands looking to rebrand either by creating a line extension, brand extension or multibrands. We also carry out internal brand building to help employees understand and be enthusiastic about the brand promise and ensure that all the consumer touch points support the brand positioning.

Is there any relationship between the two?

Strategy is wide.

Almost every field requires a strategist of sorts. In branding we call them Brand strategists…so yes, there is a relationship. Strategy is the tree while brand strategy is a branch within the tree. I however regard it as the roots!

How are you aligning your Business to meet the growing digital space?

With technology, it’s either you shape up or you ship out. The latter is no option you know…

So yeah, we have an option for remote working relationships with our clients. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to do physical premise visits to perhaps interact with products. We mostly do virtual consultancy especially at the initial stages of the brand management process. We also ensure we advise our clients the importance of ensuring the digital visibility of their brands.

In terms of service efficiency, how would you compare one on one services to the digital ones?

The digital services are more efficient. Easy to document, follow-up and customize. Plus, it saves time and resources. However, there is this special aspect of one-on-one meetings. For me, I kind of find them to be really human and tend to create deeper emotional connections.

Who are the greatest people who have been part of this?

It takes a nation! However, I specifically owe this to my  parents, my spouse and my siblings…and yes, my primary school English Teacher; his confidence in my creative writing and invaluable lessons shaped my passion to a great extent.

Other than stiff competition and enough funds to run such a demanding business, are there any serious challenges?

Oh yes,… making people understand what my business entails. You talk of branding and people automatically think you print T-shirts and stationery or do event management! It’s just the same with Sales and marketing…people rarely understand the difference yet they are distinctively different roles though intertwined.

What most people presume as branding is actually a teeny – tiny aspect of brand identity creation, which is actually one of the tenets of brand management.

Other than product branding, we do personal branding for individuals and corporates…..and this is where my biggest challenge comes in. The fact that personal branding (image branding) is a nascent field especially here in Kenya makes it a bit challenging to pitch especially to private clients. However, we are working on a strategy to churn out content in this field that will enlighten people on the need to be packaged and positioned for visibility, just like products before they can even think of branding their Businesses. A quick example of Barack Obama the brand vs Barack Obama former US President. You see his brand goes beyond the presidency. You don’t have to tag him to the presidency to know his attributes. Your professional or Business should not define you, rather you should define your profession/Business through your personal brand.

Do you think the government is doing enough to support the young population in implementing ideas like yours?

No, I believe the government has the power to do more than it’s doing. The economy is too harsh. Surviving in business especially as a startup is by God’s grace. From exorbitant taxes, high operational costs to high cost of living. The government should at least review some of its regulations.

There is someone reading this and wondering how to reach you. Kindly share details on how your services can be accessed.

Aha!….To have your business taken care of by the best in the market visit our website (for your brand management needs)  and Dawamu Consulting (..for all your accounting and company secretarial services).We guarantee customized, efficient, professional work, done to your utmost satisfaction.

Your parting words to our ardent readers, specifically those looking forward to venturing into business.

Do you have a genuine passion for it? If yes, then go ahead and do it!

Find you Ikigai. It’s only until you are able to align your passion and purpose that you can clearly see your vision and mission.

Have an open mind and remember to crawl and walk before you run! If you stumble, stand up, dust yourself and continue walking with your head up. After all, Rome was never built in a day, or was?

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