On 19 June, Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) unveiled the top 200 Superbrands in its first ever Virtual Launch.

The Superbrand Launch, is an annual event on the business calendar usually attended by marketers, industry professionals and those who are keen to see whether their favourite brands have made it.

Unfortunately, due to the Covid 19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, MAZ hosted a live session that was broadcast on the Association’s Facebook page.

Superbrand is an international concept that has been adopted in Zimbabwe since 2009. It seeks to recognise and reward the best brands in the country, with the finest reputation within a specified period of time.

It aims to identify brands that are performing above and beyond others within the market. As a result, corporates and the community at large realise real economic value from this noble concept.

The Top 200 brands were derived from the first phase of the Superbrand where there is shortlisting of brands, which is done through a nationwide research by an independent research company.

Guest Speaker at the launch, Chief executive officer of Dandemutande Investments, Mr Never Ncube provided in-depth insight as well as actionable and practical tools to build sustainable digital brands.

“What has become vital for brands during this period is the need to remain connected, the need for all internal processes to be optimised digitally, the need to be visible on all digital platforms, online payment systems and the need for cyber security,” said Mr Ncube.

Mr Ncube highlighted the potential scrutiny that awaits brands that do not engage with their consumers.

“Brand building strategies bring consumers closer to the brand and provide value for them so that they can know, feel and experience the brand. A brand without a digital presence is like a car without tyres. It’s not going to get anywhere fast,” he said.

The Dandemutande boss also highlighted issues of cyber security as one of the important factors to consider when investing in digital platforms.

“As you are building your brands on digital platforms, be cognizant of cyber security threats. Invest in cyber security awareness training and have cyber security and IT governance policies.  Also be wary of hackers and use the right tools to protect your information,”he added.

Additionally, Mr Ncube said, ‘brands have a responsibility to be “transparent, accountable and authentic.”

“More importantly, consumers want comfort, happiness and satisfaction in their lives, and they get it in part from the products they buy. If the Brands they use consistently deliver a positive experience, consumers form an opinion that the brand is trustworthy, which gives them peace of mind when buying,” he said.

Chairperson of the adjudication committee, Mr Denford Mutashu said the unveiling of the Top 200 brands comes at a time when brands are facing challenges because of the Covid 19 pandemic, however, stronger and resilient brands would emerge stronger after the lockdown.

“There is a lot that we can do and right now it is critical that each of the brands embrace the New Normal in terms of online presence. It is against that background that our theme is centred on Building your brand on the Digital platform.

We would like to see all the brands quite vibrant and present on all online shopping platforms,” said Mr Mutashu.

Mr Mutashu said as more brands invested in e-commerce platforms, it was also an opportunity for them to go global.

“This is actually an opportunity for our brands to go global .It is not enough for brands to only be leaders in their own countries but we need to explore the region and go global. This can only be achieved by fully utilising the digital platforms as we build our brands,” he said.

In his welcome remarks, MAZ Secretary General, Mr Gillian Rusike said MAZ believes in the success of Zimbabwean brands.

“As the Marketing industry we believe in the Zimbabwean brands, as you may know strong brands lead to a strong economy. We advocate for our local brands to be competitive on the global scale. We believe that the success of Zimbabwean brands will culminate in a strong economy,” said Mr Rusike.

The Virtual launch was held at the Marketers Hub under strict Covid 19 regulations.