Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) unveiled the 2021 Top 200 Superbrands of the year on May 28 at a Breakfast meeting at a hotel in Harare.

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.

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, Cimas Group Chief executive officer, Mr Vulindlela Ndlovu highlighted the importance of utilising omni-channels in today’s business.

In his presentation, Mr Ndlovu pointed out that the financial services sector in Zimbabwe had done a lot in terms of convenience.

He added that the phasing out of RTGS forms was a sign of more internet based transactions.

“Why the Omni channel? This is growing in terms of customer retention, the results are telling, 90 percent of the consumers jump from different devices throughout the day and you have seen it even with the small kids, you get home they want the iPad and the television at the same time,” said Mr Ndlovu.

Mr Ndlovu,in his presentation showed how international brands such as Nike , Foschini, Amazon among others were utilising omni-channels to sell and market their products.

“For example, Amazon. Their e-commerce. What are they doing? Not only do customers have access to their via the amazon people. We get some of the information via the channel like Alexa. The customers can take their amazon card with them everywhere and we also have Foschini deploying Omni channel solutions for its leisure brands sport scene and total sports. Visitors to these stores will be able to browse each brands and this enables them to carry solutions everywhere,” said Mr Ndlovu.

He highlighted that most of the international brands had multiple locations but they also invite customers to utilise their applications and they have led the way in terms of utilising omni-channels.

Coming back home, Mr Ndlovu explained how had utilised omni-channel especially since the outbreak of Covid 19.

“Covid 19 has been a wake-up call because we know that the most vulnerable people and because of that it has elevated our understanding of wellness. We want to preserve a life and make sure everything is there. The big thing about Covid 19 is that it has accelerated the use of digital channels.

We invested in the various facilities for example at St Annes and we put in a total of US$250 000 to make sure we get beds in various places. This was handy because we had beds in those places. We were the first Medical aid in Zimbabwe to launch Covid 19 benefit fund and in March 2020, Cimas doctors provided homecare and tele-consultancy,” he said.

Mr Ndlovu highlighted that through the use of digital channels, Cimas had greatly improved customer interactions and service as there were online bookings.

“We are now processing 80 percent claims via online and three years ago it was only 10 percent. We are now processing prescriptions sent via-online to our customers, they don’t necessarily need to come and get them physically,” said Ndlovu.

He said their experience so far is that they have experienced an increase in health care services, service provider portals assist in the customer journey and patients may use online bookings, and this has been very efficient.

In her welcome Remarks at the same event, MAZ Vice president , Mrs Emilliah Mabika said they were looking forward to an improved Superbrand process this yea.

“This year, ladies and gentleman, we are looking forward to an improved Superbrand process as last year our demographics were reduced due to the Covid 19 pandemic and as a result our reach was on the lower side but still I would like to thank everyone who participated in the research process for their responses,” said Mrs Mabika.

Mrs Mabika also took the moment to announce the death of the Superbrand research partners and initiators in Zimbabwe, Tov Manene.

A moment of silence was observed in his honour.

In her remarks, Mrs Mabika also welcomed the new Research partner, Expert Research Solution (XRI) who are taking over from Select Research.

In closing remarks, MAZ Executive Secretary, Mr Gillian Rusike in a speech read on his behalf by Head Operations and Marketing, Mrs Enia Zimunya thanked all brand custodians for the hard work they put in over the years.

Mr Rusike emphasised on the need to continuously improve brands.

“Ladies and gentleman, the issue of brand agility and innovation is cannot be over emphasized. I will not go into detail but we all have heard from the speaker the expectations of the markets we serve and we need to improve our digital channels,” he said.

He also thanked the adjudication committee, sponsors and all guests who attended the ceremony and others who followed virtually.