What does it remind me of ?... Brand Connotations.

What does this remind me of??

Whatever it reminds one of, it better be positive. Even though a brand name is not all there is when it comes to Brand Equity, its of great essence if you look at it from the Brand experience point of view. A brand name should be a word or a combination of words that register in the mind of a consumer, easy to pronounce and of the greatest importance is how the consumer relate to it. In other terms what does the name remind consumers of?

Linguistically speaking…

Language barrier applies to brand names too and it applies variably. It could be language itself, the way its spoken (verbal), or even demographical. A name could be the best in one part of the word but could be offensive in another part of the world.

Big and successful brands have faced such challenges before and at times the popular name is sacrificed in order to fit a particular market in a particular region or better still different words that sounds close to the popular name are combined to get the result but even this cant be so safe because the combination might create another meaning to it in the local language … again we go back to “what does it remind me of”.

While it might not make sense to look deeply into the Linguistic or verbal challenges especially when your product is targeting locals that might have a common Lingua Franka, you might be faced with a harsh reality when it comes to demographics. Whoever is in charge of naming should consider that a name might be very appealing to adult population but not to children or it might appeal to everyone except women population. Again the target market has a considerable value here.

This is it…

Of late locally, (in Kenya) we have woken up to mobile banking promos. We have different names here and if I may list… M-Kesho!, Bankika tu!, Lipuka and the most interesting of all these is PESA PAP. Pesa Pap! are two words and if I consider the target market the majority of it being the youth, “we” are going to take a shortcut and call it “Pap”. For heaven’s sake, what does Pap remind one of? It might be a very comfortable name to the other population but not to the female population. I’ve not carried out the survey of what women feel about this name yet but as a woman it reminds of Pap Smear (a medical procedure testing cervical cancer) I love the idea behind Pap… I mean… Pesa Pap but its value can be optimized even further if a great thought was given to its name.

Now I want to accuse the Ad agencies for this. At times or rather most times locally, the ad agencies are not doing justice to organizations when it comes to strategic input on the ad campaigns. I think this comes as a result of clashing interests. To the ad agencies, the bigger the budget the greater the input in terms of time…not strategy while for the client, they want to maintain if not pull in more customers depending on the kind of campaign being carried out… but then again it goes down to the love of money, if the client can’t meet the budget then don’t do it but if you decide to do the campaign then do it well. Ad agencies are obviously prioritizing their input according to figures and to worsen it, even with the “figure influenced” input, the result is still fifty fifty (No guarantee)
Other factors…
The client should also be ready and not act because the competitor is acting. Brand Valuation can help identify contributing factor to the Brand value, which can help in planning the activities around the brand and even budgeting. 
Ad campaigns vary; some ads are for maintaining the existing client while others influence new ones. Whether it’s to maintain or influence, you still want to manage the perception when innovating a new product, remember that how they will perceive it… ‘what it reminds them of ’ could hinder or facilitate their ability to respond to the new product and since this kind of product (the Pap kind) was long waited for, its only a matter of time before the “maintained clients” moves to your direct competitor who by the way does not necessarily have a better product but has better name i.e. a name that is associated with good feelings.
We have a few ad agencies around here namely, Scan group, McCann-Erickson Kenya, Mashariki Brand Communication Saracen amongst others.

The Pap campaign is proudly presented by McCann-Erickson Kenya… Lets wait and see!!

Bella Miruka…. 


  1. There are some very strong brands in Kenya such as Safaricom and Kenya Airways, but also many international brands can be found in Kenya such as Coca Cola and Mercedes Benz....
    What is it that creates a strong brand? It has to do with availability towards the consumer (sales outlets) and advertising of the brand. You can sell a car without a brand on it, but if the consumer sees a brand they might link it to quality and good service or the lack of it...I am an international employee living in Kenya and when I arrived in the country I wanted to buy a mobile phone...I already knew Nokia from abroad and decided to buy a Nokia phone here (original of course) since I believed in its quality. However after having bought it there was a fault with the display and I had to go and replace it, but since Nokia wants to defend the trust of its brand that was no problem. A brand has to live up to the expectations of consumers in order to maintain credibility. Or if I buy a branded product with short term usage, like for instance a bottle of Coca Cola....I expect it to taste exactly the same as in other countries...otherwise it would not be a brand and I would most likely contact the company to complain and tell them that it had not lived up to my expectations...

  2. In other words Uffe... a brand is an experience... Good one my friend

  3. I agree with you, the association with memories or other products can affect the brand equity..i certainly want to see how this story goes

  4. You wrote:'''Language barrier applies to brand names too and it applies variably. It could be language itself, the way its spoken (verbal), or even demographical. A name could be the best in one part of the word but could be offensive in another part of the world.'''

    My comment: Know that even in the same country or in a region of the same country between two communities this apply. Could be insulting sometimes

  5. I am not sure,the consumers are informed enough to react like the advertisers think they do. Lets say, here in Africa, there is a lot of work to do to skill consumers enough in order for them to be like the Ad agencies think they are.

  6. I don't think consumers need to do anything... after all its the advertisers looking for the consumers so maybe they should customize their adverts to suite the consumers understanding. Its not the consumers to reach the Advertisers, its the advertisers to reach the consumers...

  7. the advertising agencies that we have in kenya do not really care about too much about their audience and i really wonder if they do a pilot advert and see the outcome first before they decide to air it, for example the Kenol Kobil GTZ did those guys knew what they were doing? or a kid made that advert for them, the brand name Kenol-Kobil, is a respected brand name, that is expected by its customers to give a product that measure up to their standard, but sometime i dont know if organizations or company really knows who is their target audience before they advertise a product or coming up with a new brand


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