Bits, pieces on diversification

VERY few companies are like Richard’s Branson’s Virgin that can be a brand that cuts across a number of industries (brand megalomania) and still enjoy some good measure of success.

Despite their brand, Virgin has in fact, failed in some industries.

Fortunately for them these little mistakes did not affect their bottom line much because of their return on investment on the brand Virgin.

The majority of the brand is best kept in one industry and be developed and perfected as the years go by so as to reach out to the brand savvy consumer of today. This is particularly true for most companies in Zimbabwe.

This is, however, not to discourage diversifications, but, a company has to have what it takes to diversify and has to be sure that it will be perceived well by the consumers it is targeting because it really depends on them, consumers perception is after all important.

In fact, in marketing perceptions are more important than the reality because they affect the consumer’s actual behaviour.

In an economic situation like the one that is currently being experienced in Zimbabwe, companies may, because of brand fatigue decide to change their line and go into another type of industry to try and improve their inflows.

While this may work with companies that possess a brand that is reliable, it might not necessarily work all the time, hence my advice, be bold but do not gamble.

It may be easy for a company offering mobile phone network services to go into money transfers and banking largely because they have a good brand name to support their move, but it may prove completely disastrous for a company with a brand name that is not perceived well.

Mobile money transfers by companies that were once strictly in telecommunications business are increasingly on the rise.

I sometimes am of the opinion that it is the reason why some banks are now under siege because unlike the mobile money transfer industry most banks do not sell convenience which is what most clients would like in a bank. When a client struggles to get cash in a bank and yet they have certain bills that need to be paid timeously, I would not be surprised if they did not use a bank the next time preferring a mobile money transfer agency instead.

This diversification by the mobile telecommunications companies seems to have been by far a very good move.

I am however not sure how a retail clothing business would also successfully manage the risk and insurance business. It is an area I would really love to research on and see how it works. I personally would not risk my premiums with such a business. I am sold out to the concept of specialisation. I firmly believe that if there is an expert in the field, one best use the expert.

I would therefore approach an insurer to manage my risk than to approach a business in the clothing line.

The clothing retail business is best left to concentrate on retailing quality clothing and remaining the most trusted in that business. Diversification may actually make the core business suffer. Like I mentioned though, I am a keen and fast learner.

I would gladly take time to be educated on this type of diversification in an ailing economy like we have here in Zimbabwe.

Diversification is off course a subject that involves a lot of issues and can still be attended to with greater detail in another article at a later date.

Keep reading the column.

On a different issue the worst thing that can ever happen to a customer is to be told that the product that they require is sold out.

Savvy marketers please guard against this catastrophe (yes, it is a catastrophe) that simply shows that the business is not paying attention to detail.

The problem with this scenario is that the business may lose customers forever.

I value the constructive feedback that I continue to receive on the Brand Savvy column.

I endeavour to respond to all e-mails timeously just like a savvy marketer should. Till next week keep reading the red publication and remain Brand Savvy.

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