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John Brookmyre's Blog

Brand – The gap filler

I am currently working in South Africa where we are starting up an EMC Consulting practice – very exciting, daunting, awesome and frightening all at once. But this post isn’t about what we are doing as EMC Consulting but an observation of something that I have noticed since been out here – brand is important.

Obviously there are a myriad of questions which pop into your head when you move abroad – but having been here now for a couple of months it is awesome. So the questions I have had range from the serious:

  • Where am I going to stay?
  • Where is safe?
  • What happens in an emergency?
  • How do I get around / where can I hire a car?
  • What are the risks?

All the tricky things you need to know about a new place and when you are finding your feet and then the not so serious:

  • What is the best type of beer?
  • Will I hear lions from the office / hotel (thanks to the guys who had me believing this for a week)?
  • What car shall I hire / where shall I get it from?
  • What is for dinner?
  • What can I drink?

As I found myself finding answers to these questions I realised that I was relying heavily on the brand identities that I knew, reinforcing the power of brand - I bought a TomTom, drank water and beer (not always my favourites but out of the ones on offer my favourite available). Then as I got more used to the place and met residents I hired a car - local outfit which was recommended as I would have gone to Avis, I also tried Castle and then Windhoek (sp?) beer on recommendations of locals. I realised that in the absence of local knowledge you only have the brand name to go on. I also realised that brands have very different meanings dependent on the markets that they are targeting. I also noticed that I would try something new rather than a brand I didn’t like. I was essentially substituting the brand for local knowledge and using the preconceived ideas associated  with a brand, the familiarity to bridge the void of local knowledge. Then I started thinking about the World Cup; the branding, the image and how it ties into the location and geography… – maybe for my next post…

Any thoughts always welcome,


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Published Wednesday, August 26, 2009 11:57 PM by john.brookmyre

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