Your brand should be a combination of a great idea and your personality.
Let’s talk about the great idea first; this should be a problem that you have identified thus you are offering solutions. People don’t want you to sell them products/services they want to know how those products/services can fix a need in their lives.
Tweetie African designs is an online store that deals with African products: African sandals(ladies, gents and children), African baskets commonly known as ‘Kiondos’, African necklaces, chokers, bracelets, earrings, beads, wallets, key holders, arts, Maasai shukas and Afrikan attires + MORE. Besides that they also deal with leather bags.
Tweetie African designs realized that there was a great need for the unique African products in Kenya and around the world and Tweetie could provide those products. Jacqueline Ndanu the CEO admits that when she started this venture it was about making an extra coin but soon realized that there was a rich heritage of the African Culture that had to be explored.
Thus her great idea had been born.
Secondly a brand has to infuse with your personality.
What do I mean by personality? Your passion. The ancient Chinese sage Confucius said choose a job you love (find something you are passionate about) and you will never have to work a day in your life. What is it that keeps you up at night; you know trying to figure out how you can accomplish it? What really excites you? Something you can work on endlessly and never feel the strain? There is where your passion lies.
For Jacqueline Ndanu it was the love of Art work which is very evident from her products. It was about products that gave people a sense of belonging whether you were carrying/wearing the products or you were part of the creative journey.
She says, “I mean if I carry a ‘Kiondo’ I feel more African than when I am carrying other bags, I’m not saying that carrying other bags is bad, but all I’m saying is that all I want is to sell what belongs to us. I want to sell Kenya, products from Kenya, made by a lady somewhere in Ukambani or any other part of this great country of Kenya”.
"When it comes to branding your product/service always remember that the logo is not your brand. "
When it comes to branding your product/service always remember that the logo is not your brand. A brand is what people say about you, your products/services when you are not present. A brand is the relationships with your audience, your brand is people trusting you (that you will deliver). Of course we can’t entirely dismiss the basic aspects of branding. When choosing a logo for your product/service there are key considerations: Like what experience do you want for your audience when they interact with your brand? What colours, fonts, and style of images do you feel reflects your messaging?
Let us dive in to the story bit of the ‘brand story’. As part of your brand story you need to know where your brand is heading. You need a realistic strategic plan. This way you understand what you need to do and also gauge if you are heading in the right direction.
Tweeties’ Mission is very simple provide quality and durable products, and for their products to get to the entire world. Tweetie African Designs is slowly growing and adding more products as their need arises. When it started leather bags were not part of the package but now they have leather bags that are made from scratch as per order: for women (leather wallets, clutches and bags), for men (leather wallets), laptop bags and backpacks.
Jacqeline Ndanu understands that for an online store to flourish it needs to have very good delivery services, that are timely. That is why Tweetie African Designs has a standby rider. “A very wonderful rider called Marko, I call him Mariko”, stresses Jacqueline - Shout out to Mariko!
"For an online store to flourish it needs to have very good delivery services"
To complete your brand story you need a brand strategy and a strategic one at that. You need to understand your audience, you need to understand the market trends. Understand the current and immediate needs of your audience. Understand what is new, what is fresh? What are people looking for and how can you improve on your product/service? Therefore communication is key! Your brand should have a consistent message based on your core values, positioning and personality. You need to strategize on key messages (what products/services to launch at a particular time or which media platform your audience responds more to and when?).
Tweetie African designs concentrates on Instagram and Facebook as their social media platforms. This mainly because of the visual aspects of these platforms plus their clients can easily get in touch with them.
Visit and follow their pages.
“In future we want to have our own app whereby one can buy, pay and get their item delivered just by having a Tweetie African Designs app”, Says Jacqueline.
You need to be able to tell your brand story in a way that captures the emotional aspect of your audience. You need to be creative in telling your story and the platform that you use also needs to be key. Story telling is one of the ways you can talk about your brand. Key factors that you need to be keen on when using storytelling to tell your brand story:
1. Talk about what makes you different.
Tweetie African Designs has different designs especially leather products, they have a unique branding of ‘Tweetie designs’ on the Kiondos, and they come up with different creative designs for clients who love unique things.
"You need to be able to tell your brand story in a way that captures the emotional aspect of your audience."
2. Celebrate a customer story at the same time talking about a specific problem that you helped solve.
For Tweetie African Designs they had this client (she is a Kenyan married in Australia) who bought different products from them a while back. One day she called asking for wholesale products and since she wasn’t near she send the brother. The brother confessed that the only reason she chose and trusts only Tweetie designs was because it had very good quality products that are very durable.
“We celebrate you Deborah for trusting us enough. We have so many customer stories so if you talk to us again we will for sure share more.” - Signed Tweetie African Designs team.
Jacqueline finished off by talking about the failures that she has had to bear as well as what success means to her:
“The only success that means a lot to me is having our clients trust us to make them the best products that we have. Failures?? (She laughs)…being an online store has lots of challenges, from getting a very huge order then the client switches off their phone (well, it’s more of a disappointment). Also rushing to deliver products to a client who ordered last minute and her/his flight is in 2 hours’ time, sometimes we are not in a position to beat such deadlines but we try our best to meet all client’s needs and ensure that we have put a smile on their faces.”
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