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How to build a brand from scratch

From my personal experience in starting a rating & PR firm, Avance Media, it’s always inspiring to share the evolution story of one of the fastest growing PR agencies in Africa especially when it has been built from nothing into a respected brand not only in Ghana but across the continent.

In starting Avance Media, we had no logo, website, office, registration and all the essential things you would need to start a business before our launch.

But we have excellently carved a niche for ourselves over the years, building and sustaining a brand from scratch and hopefully, you can also learn from my story and thoughts.

This article covers lessons learnt and the experience in building brands.

1. What is a brand?

To take off, let’s discuss what a brand is.
In my perspective, branding is how you are able to position your personality or business to create an impression for customers and potential customers. Therefore a brand can refer to a product, person or an organization.

For Avance Media, we’ve always worked towards becoming a global brand to be known for Ranking, Awards & PR. With this, we have made our initiatives and services unique and these have gotten our brand featured on all important media platforms across the world including, Yahoo News, BBC, Forbes, CNBC etc.

Avance Media now positioned as a leading rating firm on the continent makes us a brand that has also birthed or inspire other ranking initiatives across Africa. Today, every single activity that we launch receive millions of impressions on Social Media and gets published on 100s of Online Websites.

2. Determine your Brand Audience

In building a brand, you have to determine your brand audience which includes the personalities & organisations you want to sell your services to.

In Avance Media, we determine our brand audience based on the rankings that we publish. In ranking the Most Influential Young Africans, our audience is basically young people. But in ranking Top Diplomats in Ghana, our target shifts to the Diplomatic community.

Therefore, you should be able to know who you want to sell your brand to. And this also counts in how much you charge for delivering services to your clients.

In our PR activities, we have gathered millions of impressions because we understand how to get clients to work out there based on who they want to sell to.

3. Have a Mission & Vision

Another very important aspect of building a brand is you must know your vision & mission. For Avance Media, our mission is to create varied contents to put the continent on the globe.

And over the years, this has guided us in selecting what we want to do and who we want to be associated with.

4. Research Brands within your industry

There is competition in every industry and as an emerging brand, you must learn from already established brands. For us, we are always closely following the activities of others in our industry. That is, Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg etc.

In researching, you have to learn from their mistakes and how they are always able to stay on top of their game.

5. You need partners

Another key thing is identifying and working with the right partners. At Avance Media, we have been engaged in partnering people to push our works. Some become media partners and others help us with research.

But it is important to align your partnership with the missions and vision of your brand.
Partnerships also take away financial burdens when you can exchange services to be able to keep your company or brand going.

6. Passion

In building a solid brand, you have to be passionate about what you are building.

There are so many times we have thought of giving up but we’ve always looked at the future of what we are building to be able to keep it going.

In the course of your work, there are going to be lots of challenges but you must continue with the end in mind.

In conclusion, never let money stop you from pursuing your dream. If you want to build a global brand, you have to start as a local brand. And that’s how people are going to believe in what you can offer.

Prince Akpah
MD, Avance Media
Founding President, Africa Youth Awards

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