Analysis – DEXTER NJUKA
AS A child I could not tell the difference between a commodity and its brand name. It dawned later in adolescence that actually Salad was not cooking oil but just a brand among other cooking oils.
The same illusion was true with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, Boom washing paste, Chibuku opaque beer, Mazoe juice, Cobra floor polish, Colgate toothpaste and so on and so forth.
Needless to mention, many have remained loyal to certain brands that they would not dare explore other brands of a given commodity irrespective of the advantages given. It is sagacious at times to explore the little knowing brands especially if one is an entrepreneur.
This came to mind the day when I met a Mr Simfukwe of Pembe Milling in one of the outlets in Ndola.
Of course being a Pembe Milling sales executive, he was on a mission of presenting a sales talk to persuade me to try his companyâ€™s stock feed.
I cooled off and did an investigation by quizzing one of the buyers who had been feeding his broilers on the same stock feed. I learnt the buyer was rearing over 1,000 birds, three times more than I did. He had no problems using this new brand on the market.
Doing my calculations I realised this stock feed was less expensive and one would save half a bag for every eight bags bought. Not to mention that with good management of food proportion for 100 broilers, one did not exceed seven bags when traditionally, eight bags is the expected number for the said number of fowls.
Basic economics dictates that the first step in multiplying oneâ€™s wealth is by first reducing expenditure. Itâ€™s blind brand royalty that causes most consumers to be stuck with a given product even when itâ€™s no longer economically advantageous to their lives.
I have learnt viable economic lessons which forthrightly have helped me look at buying of commodities from a different perspective.
There are outlets that usually run promotions at much reduced prices on most of the new brands on the market that one would end up saving a lot of money.
These are multinational outlets such as Edgars who slice their prices during promotion to one third of the initial cost.
I occasionally do window shopping to check on the promotions running. I have ended up getting expensive items at unbelievable discounts.
There are new airlines in pursuit for new markets that give massive discounts so as to build up their clientele. Imagine getting on one of these airlines to Dar es Salaam costing slightly the same as the bus fare to the same destination? Not mentioning the time and money that goes with lodging and food if itâ€™s by road to the same destination.
A friend got a Canon SLR D500 during promotion at almost half the actual cost. I begged him to sell me at a profit because I couldnâ€™t get it even at its initial price here in Copperbelt if ever there are outlets merchandising in the same.
So I donâ€™t get surprised when I see some women push trolleys full of selected items in bulk because I have come to learn that they resell the items at a profit.
With these economic trends at our disposal, one canâ€™t afford to be a slave of a commodity or company brand just because he or she has been traditionally accustomed to using it for some time.
Itâ€™s no longer the brand that should sell but its quality and economic benefits.
The author a chaplain for Mupapa Secondary School for the Seventh-Day Adventists in Copperbelt.
Blind brand loyalty costly
Analysis – DEXTER NJUKA