MAJORITY of you would agree with me that, ’even when you are in what so ever position,’ they are no short cuts in building a great brand and being accepted by your target audience, worse when infiltrating a sector dominated by a big player and a community with beliefs that partly doesn’t accept what you have to offer.
Nyaradzo was launched on the 1st of March, 2001, at a time where the sector was dominated with exotic names that have been existing for a while.
“At the time of launch, we were a no-name brand, a company with an indigenous sounding name when all others had or chose Caucasian sounding ones to satisfy the insatiable appetite of compliance with a colonial past that regarded everything indigenous as inferior.” Said Phillip Mataranyika in a statement.
However, throughout the period of 20 years Nyaradzo has mastered the art of doing business, infiltrating and dominating its targeted markets, what entrepreneurial lessons can be drawn from this? A lot!
Let us unfold them.
Branding is a thing that a company can’t afford to compromise especially in the infiltration phase. They are a lot of things that contributes to a good brand, starting with a name itself.
What does the name mean, what message does it sent to your targeted audience, is it easy to pronounce, would it not be misunderstood in other languages and does it leave room for expansion? All this are questions you should ask yourself when naming a company.
With Nyaradzo, all these were answered, meaning a comforter in your time of bereavement, sending a message of being a friend in a time you need it most, easy to pronounce even to foreigners and definitely left room for expansion.
EBay and Alibaba.com Inc. went into a business war over dominating the Asian Market. One of the competitive advantage Alibaba (operating as Taobao) had, was having a name that the China community could relate to and knew its meaning. EBay was just an exotic name that the Chinese population didn’t even know of its origins.
The same could have given Nyaradzo a competitive advantage from the beginning, competing mainly with Doves, which the name didn’t send a clearer message to its target audience. Obviously when both marketing to the general population of Zimbabwe, Nyaradzo could easily be understood than its competitors.
Nyaradzo went more than just choosing a great name, but went also for a motto that completed its marketing strategy. It came as a comforter “Sahwira Mukuru or Omngane Omkhulu” both which could easily be understood by both the Shona and Ndebele Community.
Offering quality services and fostering brand visibility is something a company should invest in, towards building a great brand. Nyaradzo didn’t compromise too on this, we could write a book on Nyaradzo’s Branding Strategy, let’s move on.
Nyaradzo has always been driven by the desire to offer convenience to its customers. Imagine, when you are in diaspora, you have a package that can bring you home to pay last respect to your loved ones, give you accommodation and a vehicle to use during your stay home. That’s convenience any other competitor of Nyaradzo hasn’t managed to offer. Think of the other package that can accommodate a couple and both the mother and father in-law of both parties on a one policy. Think of the fleet of vehicles, mobile toilets, tents and wide range of packages that accommodates clients from different financial backgrounds, that is a world class market segmentation.
Offer the customer what he or she needs and you will never go wrong. This makes me understand a quote by Steve Jobs more, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”
I think Nyaradzo is the most marketed brand in Zimbabwe, it has a lot of marketing channels than most large corporates doesn’t have. Nyaradzo has some agents in the streets, it has a strong social media presence and even a WhatsApp group for enquiries. You see it sponsoring a number of social enterprises and events such as Friends of the Environment, Virtual Marathons, Arts Events and Awards, Soccer Teams and recently Soul Jah Love’s Farewell Musical concert.
I have also seen or heard Nyaradzo’s adverts and or newsletters in WhatsApp Groups, some social media skits and radio stations or television.
Nyaradzo has continuously innovated so as to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors. It has been bringing world class infrastructure for the convenience of its customers as well as utilising technology to remove any possible barriers between the clients and the service provider. “Through SSDA, we have churned out ICT innovations that connect our strategic business units; automate our policy creation, premium payment, policy servicing and client servicing processes.
Customers are now able to access our services through gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal computers. Through our partnership with ZB Bank, we now have the Sahwira Connect Card which enables our clients to access their grocery allowances without delay. Our clients can now make payment of premiums through cash points in OK Zimbabwe, OK Mart and Bon Marche’ outlets, while also purchasing their groceries.” Said Nyaradzo C.E.O in a statement he issued today.
Out of my personal experience, I have seen talented individuals in the Nyaradzo Group. Sometime early 2020 I had a meeting scheduled with the Bulawayo Branch Administrator, Mr Benson Mukandiwa. So as to familiarise myself with the person I was going to meet, I googled him, I saw a world class profile that left me with so many questions, what is this guy still doing at Nyaradzo, if he is on this level, how about the national executives?
My questions where however answered by the conversation we had, Nyaradzo searches and nurtures talent. It also exposes and motivates its team. Above all, it gives freedom to its employees.
Nyaradzo also builds a clear succession plan, “Having started off with a small number of staff, our payroll now has more than 1,500 employees and still counting. These are evenly distributed by gender, with our graduate trainee programme helping in securing the Group’s future to transcend generations.”
Nyaradzo also heed to Warren Buffet’s advice, “Never put all your eggs in the same basket;” it has since diversified to finance, exporting furniture, tourism and hospitality, only to mention a few, “To meet the need for providing additional services and products to our clients, we transformed Nyaradzo from a Funeral Assurance Company to a Life Assurance Company (NLACO) which now has under its wings subsidiaries that are helping to advance our one stop shop concept.
Calundike Exports a member of the group which in the past was about the supply of coffins and caskets has now expanded its portfolio to include office furniture, custom designed kitchens, shop fittings, and other bespoke engineering projects.
Eureka Insurance Brokers is responsible for taking care of the market’s short-term insurance needs.
With the most recent additions to our stable being Sahwira Events and Lifestyle, Nyaradzo Asset Management and Sahwira Bureau de Change, which, apart from being part of the Group’s ecosystem, have incrementalism in their DNA.” Said Philip Mataranyika.
Wow, with 20 years in the market and dominating it, Nyaradzo has been consistent in service deliverance.
“Our recent award is that of the company with the highest customer satisfaction index in Zimbabwe. We have been awarded the Super brand crown on many occasions and we continue to fight in the corner of the customer.” Philip Mataranyika.
This signifies nothing else, but consistency. Congratulations Nyaradzo Group, To a brighter future.
Download the full statement by The Nyaradzo Group C.E.O below :