Farmers most times complained of lack of customers and
market access for their products. Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural
Development Programme, Research Institutes and Universities have been focusing
on teaching and training people on agricultural production, even some NGOs have
been preaching food security while leaving a crucial aspect called Branding.
Little wonder why smallholder farmers don’t grow beyond their small capacity. Even
graduates of school of agriculture were only trained on how to produce hence making
them to end up as smallholder farmers. Have
you come to think of it, why people prefer some products and services over
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 of agribusiness that will ensure
sustainable growth and development. Middlemen that own no farms and smart
agropreneurs with no B.Agric qualification are building strong agribusinesses,
getting good customers patronage and making most profit because they built their
business brand while smallholder farmers that actually produced the products
remain perpetually poor, relying on Government fertilizers and seeds/seedlings.
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
“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” said Emmanuella.
She continued by highlighting five (5) ways to brand
our business and they 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.
However, effective branding of agribusiness should
consider the following;
1. Personality: Personality development is fundamental in building
the brand of any agribusiness. There is need for stakeholders in the agricultural
sector to develop a distinctively independent attitude. Stakeholders with
outstanding attitude towards customers get more patronage than ones with bad
attitude. This aspect also entails having relationship with staff and customers.
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 have good relationship with them. 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.
2. Image: Image formed by customers of an agribusiness or
farm enterprise matters in the brand development. People do not react to
reality but to what they perceive to be reality. Customers will approach individuals,
businesses or farms with good track record or reputed to be trustworthy and has
delivered quality products or service. It is therefore necessary for management
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.
3. 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
Forming Company, group or cooperative
quickly builds business brand than one man business. Consumers are more likely
to accept corporation’s promises and offerings. Corporate branding facilitates
consumers’ desires to look deeper into the brand and assess the nature of the
corporation. 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.
Framework: Another way of
building business brand is to enforce a legal statement of ownership. It thus involves
having legal framework for your business which should include article of
organisation, constitution, business registration, patenting, trademark
registration and intellectual property. Customers will freely transact business
with a company having good legal structure.
Addition: The importance of
value addition in agribusiness cannot be over emphasized. There is need to re-strategy
the way we produce and supply our goods to 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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