This article is the fifth in our ‘2020: Also the year for innovation’ series

In today’s business world, a company’s image is just as important as the functionality of its products. This is why only companies that adopt relevant guiding principles are able to create a compelling image to remain strong competitors in the business space. For instance, successful companies such as Apple or Coca-Cola have long proven the paramount status of a brand’s image.

Also, with technology fast becoming an integral part of our daily existence, many have discovered a new way of thinking, creating and solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. In light of this, companies like Mercurie have seized the opportunity to maximize digital technology to design, build and scale custom engineering solutions that help to improve their client’s overall image.

In an exclusive interview with Ventures Africa, Damola Bangboye, Managing Director at Mercurie, a software and marketing technology company on a mission to accelerate Africa’s digital economy, shares some insight on image creation in today’s world.

Ventures Africa (VA): Tell us a bit about your brand story as well as the vision and mission of the business/company.

Damola Bangboye (DB): Mercurie was inspired by the need to bridge the gap between available digital technology and the potential impact on African businesses. Digital technology today is transforming industries and giving businesses of all sizes an incredible opportunity to create and capture value like never before.

Also, Africa is seeing increasing penetration of users on the internet. However, the majority of businesses in Africa are not maximising the value available from digital to grow their businesses due to know-how, lack of awareness, cost etc. At Mercurie, we’re aiming at helping brands bridge this gap making technology useful and profitable for their businesses thereby accelerating Africa’s digital economy.

VA: What does an ideal brand image mean for you and how effective has your brand been in creating its image?

DB: Our ideal brand image will be one that assures customers, users and players in the technology and marketing ecosystem that we are a resolved, transparent, ethical, innovative and outcome-focused startup focused on the African continent.

To create this brand image, we are steadily and deliberately building our brand image by focusing on delivering exceptional value for the brands we work with and through our product Seller.

VA: How do your workers view the brand?

DB: A young, ambitious and emerging brand with a lot of potential for growth. It is also a great place to work with a great culture!

VA: What is your intended first impression on a customer?

DB: We want our customers to always feel like they are working with a team that cares about the metrics and results that matter to them and their interest. We also want them to feel like they are working with a team that is innovative, creative, ethical and capable of delivering on the outcomes that generate tremendous value whilst delivering on other meaningful metrics that matter to them.

VA: How can the image of a brand/business affect customers/clients?

DB: It can in a variety of ways. First, it affects your client’s perception of your willingness and capacity to deliver on your value propositions and the results that matter to them. A brand image is not what the brand says it is but rather what customers perceive it to be. Also, customers are much more likely to choose brands whose image reflect the values they hold dear.

VA: What strategies can be employed in creating a compelling brand image?

DB: Be known to deliver on your propositions and promises. Be vocal about the work you do, the people and proprietary assets that help you drive results for your clients, and tell stories about the larger positive ripple effects to people and society at large.

VA: How can businesses harness brand image to meet their core goals?

DB: Businesses can harness brand image to meet their core goals by ensuring there is an alignment between their brand proposition, product/services, market and brand image. Clarity on the target market segment and what resonates with them is critical, and brands must ensure they are positioned appropriately to deliver and capture value. Also, the brand image must always be seen to be living up to the brand promise.

VA: How can businesses reconcile perceived image and intended image?

DB: Be intentional and rigorous with research efforts to know what people think about your brand and how they feel about it too. Social media listening/monitoring tools, consumer studies and brand health tracking should be deployed periodically to understand consumer perception, brand health etc.

If there are gaps between the reality and your intentions, investigate why that gaps exist, fix them and optimize every possible node of interaction to convey the intended perception you have worked hard to substantially create in your business.

VA: What do you think about image creation in the modern business landscape?

DB: We think that it is obvious that the high performing businesses have or are building mastery in the art and science of selling the right image. It is also interesting to note that this mastery is not popular among small businesses in retail and, most times, commoditized service verticals.

Building a strong image is so important as it helps in fulfilling business motives, brings more profits as new customers are attracted to the brand, makes it easy to introduce new products under the same brand, boosts the confidence of existing customers, helps in customer retention, makes for better business-customer relationship, and so many more benefits.

As companies strive to create a compelling brand image, it is important to align the brand image with the desired brand identity as they work hand in hand.

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