In short we instinctively know branding works, but it’s also on us to prove that branding works.
Back in 2013, we launched Ni Nyampinga in Rwanda - the country’s first ever youth brand. Today, it reaches 79 per cent of the country’s population and has been championed by organisations like UNICEF. It’s made up of a magazine, a radio drama and talk show, a network of clubs, digital channels and a SMS and phone service.
Our latest data from the most established of our youth brands, has confirmed that its ‘brand effect’ is as relevant to the development sector as it is to consumer. It has proved that a brand can become such a trusted source of information that girls are more likely to act on advice from a brand than they are from a doctor.
We’ve seen this first hand. Our work with Gavi, the vaccine alliance, for example uses the power of our brands to help boost uptake of the HPV vaccine among adolescent girls.
This partnership approach is incredibly powerful, because our brands don’t work in silos along themes like health or education, but focus on a girl’s agency. We believe improving a girl’s self-esteem and confidence is essential to long-term change. Our partners come to us with a development goal such as improving health or education, and we connect them with an engaged and empowered audience and show them how to find the services they need.
When it comes to the magic formula for a what makes a great brand, we’ve learned a huge amount with Ni Nyampinga.
We’ve confirmed that audiences need to be able to get involved with our brands on several channels.. All of our brands are multi-product with a mix of magazines, music, radio drama, talk show and digital platforms as well as offline clubs. Our research also shows that the more products a person gets involved with, the more powerful the impact of the brand. When we visit Rwanda to meet girls we read or listen to Ni Nyampinga, we are always struck by their passion for the brand. One girl journalist described it as ‘a belief’.