Page 12 - Print Version volume 21 number 1070
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Page 12       QUOTES                                                                                                                        Fortune Vol. 21 No. 1070 Nov. 1, 2020

                                                                                                                                            Kidist Yidnekachew

                      "Embrace national dialogue."                                                                                          Unoriginally Ethiopian

               Mahboub Maalim, former chief of the Inter-governmental Authority on                                                          It is not a secret that a lack of creativity in industries
              Development (IGAD), told The East African, a Kenyan weekly, that Ethiopia                                                          extends to their marketing strategies. Logos, slogans
               should choose this over losing decades of economic growth and stability.                                                          and corporate identities are shamelessly ripped off. It
                                                                                                                                                 has become a common phenomenon.
             Ethiopia is at the present self-sufficient as far as food oil is        Delicate Number
            concerned, although the domestic consumption is increasing                                                                      While studying for my communications master's degree,
            annually. The one-million-Birr Oilseeds Development Share                102,000,000                                            I came into contact with many of the industry behemoths
           Co. has now been launched, which aims to guarantee markets,                                                                      that are behind the larger advertising campaigns scattered
           provide cleaning, transport, and sortage facilities and invest in            ... earnings, in dollars,                           across the country. The common consensus is that while
          the first vegetable ghee factory. This factory, to be built in Bahir        from flower exports in the                            there are agencies capable of delivering original branding
          Dar, will produce 4,500tn of ghee annually. As Ethiopians do not           first quarter of the current                           and corporate identity guidelines, the market is just as well
            eat animal fats when fasting, there is likely to be a big home             fiscal year, according to                            awash with freshman graduates of computer science looking
                                                                                                                                            to make a quick buck.
                             demand for ghee margarine.                                the Ministry of Trade &
                                                                                                 Industry.                                  Proper branding is not some slapdash quickie logo that is
                         The Handbook for Ethiopia,1969, University Press of Africa                                                         put together from easily downloadable images and designs.
                                                                                                                                            It is actually a long process that involves — after client
wwaayybbaackckwwhehnen. .. .. .                                                                                                             consultation — a team of experts working long hours
                                                                                                                                            together to develop a corporate identity that reflects the
Harrer, 1973                                                           Historical photos from the Horn of Africa Facebook page.             product or service.

 „„ Infrastructure                                                     apparel industries across the country with world standard quality    An account executive, creative director, copy editor, art
                                                                       products and increased market destinations, according to Seleshi.    director, graphic artist, and general manager are just some
         Premier Kicks Off 2.1b Br Road Project                                                                                             of the people involved in this process. It is a lengthy process
                                                                         Publication: The Ethiopian News Agency, October 23, 2020.          that involves a great deal of time, resources and energy.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) officially launched the                                                                                     Typically, an agency can charge upwards of half a million Birr.
construction of the Hike-Bistima-Chifra asphalt road project with       „„ Energy
a commencement ceremony. The 74.3Km road, which will link                                                                                   Some people may be utterly shocked by this figure: after all,
Afar Regional State to Amhara Regional State, will be built for more          EEU Completes Power Transmission Lines                        it is just a logo, right?
than 2.1 billion Br allocated by the federal government. The road
project, which is improving the existing road from gravel to asphalt   The first of two phases of the expansion of electric power           This lack of understanding of the value of corporate identity
paving, is expected to take four years to complete. The project        transmission lines for the Djibouti Water Project has been           and effective customer acquisition is why we are in our
was awarded last July to POWERCON and ASER Construction.               completed. The 49-million-Br project was built in Somali             current position. It is more likely for companies to go to
                                                                       Regional State between the town borders of Adigala and Kulen. It     their neighbourhood computer whiz and fork out 50,000
Publication: Fana Broadcasting Corporate, October 25, 2020.            includes 28 wells and two water storage pump stations. Carried       Br and get their logo done with downloaded elements for
                                                                       out by Dancon Engineering Construction, the expansion of these       subpar results than to pay the right people to develop a
 „„ Aviation                                                           electric power transmission lines is required to pump out the        well-thought-out corporate identity.
                                                                       water stored between the two water stations and transmit it
      Ethiopian Receives Two Dash 8-400 Aircraft                       toward the desired location. While the power transmission            It is then not hard to see why some of our most successful
                                                                       line carries eight megawatts of electricity, it is installed with a  state and private enterprises, and even some political parties,
De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited has announced the              capacity of 33,000 kilovolts and has a total length of 37Km. The     all have logos that were copied. This cannot be completely
delivery of two Dash 8-400 aircraft to Ethiopian Airlines, including   project's eight transformers have a total capacity of 1,250kW        laid at the feet of the companies but the individuals they
the Airline’s milestone 30th Dash 8-400 aircraft. The 30th aircraft    and 751 poles.                                                       hire. The problem starts mostly from the decision to be
– MSN 4617 – is preparing to depart for Ethiopian’s hub in Addis                                                                            cheap on the section of the business that is integral to long-
Abeba, along with an MSN 4615 model. Ethiopian first welcomed                 Publication: The Ethiopian Herald, October 24, 2020.          term survival.
the Dash 8-400 aircraft into its fleet in March 2010. De Havilland's
fleet of over 155 Dash 8 Series aircraft in Africa includes more        „„ Tourism                                                          The story does not end there. Many may look for cheap
than 90 Dash 8-400 aircraft. Worldwide, more than 155 airlines,                                                                             alternatives, forgoing the originality and enhanced
leasing companies and other organisations have ordered almost          Diaspora Raise Almost $300,000 for Fundraising Gala                  performance market recognition affords them in taking the
1,300 Dash 8 aircraft.                                                                                                                      business forward.
                                                                       Nationals and foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin living
 Publication: Fana Broadcating Corporate, October 23, 2020.            abroad have so far extended 283,378 dollars for tourist site         Banks though are not cheap. They spend millions of Birr
                                                                       development projects planned across three regional states. The       in brand redesigning, consulting fees and system upgrades.
 „„ Export                                                             government will invite 10 members of the Ethiopian diaspora          They have the money to spend liberally. But even they
                                                                       who took part in the donation to attend the Dine for the Nation      sometimes hit and miss. They end up with brand logos that
              Textile Exports Generate $40m                            gala dinner, which is scheduled to take place during the end         bear too much similarity with entities outside of the country.
                                                                       of November. In August Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD)
The export of textile and textile products have generated 40           launched a project to develop three tourist attraction sites in      What is one to do when even reputable agencies fail to
million dollars in the first three months of the current fiscal year.  Gorgora, Koysha and Wenchi. The fundraising activities, by way       deliver?
The revenues exceed the target by more than 10 million dollars,        of selling 10-million-Br V-VIP and five-million-Br VIP dinner
according to Seleshi Lema, director-general of the Ethiopian           seats at the gala, are expected to be completed in the coming        This calls attention to the need for due diligence, which
Textile Industry Development Institute, which plans to push the        two weeks.                                                           always falls to the company at the end of the day. Making
sector to generate 1.2 billion dollars over the coming 10 years.                                                                            use of test groups to screen new ideas, especially having
The plan also strives to create 345,000 jobs in that period. The              Publication: The Ethiopian Herald, October 24, 2020.          to do with the image of the company, does not hurt either.
targets will be realised through the expansion of textile and
                                                                                                                                            Indeed, it may be the case that the company’s intent is to
                                                                                                                                            bandwagon off another more reputable and successful
                                                                                                                                            international company. Some of the logos may have been
                                                                                                                                            intentionally copied as a marketing strategy aimed at getting
                                                                                                                                            customers to purchase these products by means of association.

                                                                                                                                            This is probably most true of local fast-food chains that
                                                                                                                                            blatantly use logos and names of international restaurant
                                                                                                                                            brands. There is not even the effort to hide one’s intention
                                                                                                                                            in several of these cases. They plagiarise brand identity
                                                                                                                                            mercilessly out in the open to generate sales. This saves them
                                                                                                                                            time, energy and money, as building on an already known
                                                                                                                                            brand is easier than starting from scratch and creating a
                                                                                                                                            new one.

                                                                                                                                            This is not just a phenomenon in Ethiopia. Chinese
                                                                                                                                            companies are famous for playing the same game, which
                                                                                                                                            has led to the country getting major criticism from the likes
                                                                                                                                            of the United States.

                                                                                                                                            There is an excellent lesson to take out of this. Indeed,
                                                                                                                                            China's manufacturing industry is something to be jealous
                                                                                                                                            of, but they have also become notorious for the questionable
                                                                                                                                            durability of their products, especially when they are on the
                                                                                                                                            cheap side.

                                                                                                                                            There is even an Amharic saying, “Ye China iqa ayberkitim,’’
                                                                                                                                            meaning that products made in China do not last long.

                                                                                                                                            It is only ironic then that Ethiopia’s tourism motto is “The
                                                                                                                                            Land of Origins.” The intention is to convey the nation’s
                                                                                                                                            ancient natural and human-made riches. But the disparity
                                                                                                                                            that is felt is loud and clear. When it comes to present-day
                                                                                                                                            Ethiopia, there is little originality going around.

                                                                                                                                              ƒƒ Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human
                                                                                                                                            nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology,
                                                                                                                                            journalism and communications and can be reached at
                                                                                                                                            kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com.
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