Quality packaging: Why equity and brand names?

Hamisi Sudi, Senior Standards Officer

Over time, certain products and companies have built superior reputations. Typically, such products have graphic elements or icons that the customer easily identifies and relates to, hopefully, in a favourable way .These may be the company name itself ,a brand name, a symbol, a typographic style, a colour or colour pattern or any combination of these.

For instance, Coca-Cola’s bottle shape and colour pattern, the bluish-colour and picture of the Mt. Kilimanjaro drinking water bottle, the Azam logo and label for Konyagi bottle are icons that can be identified long before any text details can be recognized.

Such icons are said to have equity. Equity is built by establishing a reputation of a consistently good product and service over a long time. Icons are highly recognizable symbols that have major motivational impacts on a consumer’s purchasing decision. Icons with high equity are carried on new product lines in order to establish the heritage and trust immediately. Brand names can have a great deal of equity and this equity can be an invaluable purchase motivator.

Established brand names are valued possessions. The Coca-Cola trade mark is probably worth as much as the company’s other assets. Great care is taken to protect such names with trademarks of copyrights. Brand names, icons or any other representations may not create the impression that they have some real or implied relationship to another company or brand.

Good brand names describe a virtue of the product or invoke some image.

Coming up with clever names alone might not necessary work to woo the purchase. It is a mistake, therefore, to invent brand names for every new product and attempt to sell them solely on that basis.

Selling on the virtue of a brand name can succeed only if the name is promoted by substantial advertising and promotional campaign. In Tanzania, for instance, the cost of establishing a new brand name for large enterprises could be Tanzanian Shillings 100 million or more.

Packaging as one of the factors that influence the consumer buying decision play a major role in planning for effective marketing strategies. There are various packaging designs associated with different icons and brand names for the same product produced by more than one manufacturer. This makes consumers to have different perception towards products offered in the markets.

These icons and brand names to a certain degree have impact of consumer buying decision. For instance, there are two different SMEs groups producing soaps with the same physical properties and functions but they differ in graphic designs of their packages and brand names. There are soaps by Ivan women wash soap with brand name ‘PENSOAP’ and Makini Botanical Products under the name ‘KAISIKI’.

We can think of two honey producers Suro Women Group producing honey with brand name ‘UKI’ and Lulina Products Ltd producing honey with brand name’ TAMU’.
All these manufacturers could share the same markets selling similar products but branded differently.
The last two do not exist. I have mentioned them purposely to give an example of how someone else can come up with such new idea. ‘UKI’ means honey in Kwere language while ‘TAMU’ means sweet in Swahili.

However, you may think of any brand name but as previously mentioned, clever names alone may not work.

In other instances, a manufacturer may produce the same type of product but give it different brand names by varying just a few parameters. For example a company might produce packaged drinking water with two different brand names, Chill and Masafi. 

Generally, before coming up with a specific icon or brand name, producers should carry out a careful and a systematic study on impact of packaging of consumer buying decision. They could do the research themselves or engage a packaging consultant.

All producers of packaged products, especially the SMEs should introduce a unique icon and or brand names for their packaged products. However, as they aspire to increase their market shares, they should remember that brand names mean nothing unless they are backed by consistent production of high quality goods