*Image used is a Faber-Castell ad.
*Mtumba – Kenyan coloqial for a second-hand clothes free market

Ever noticed how different brands receive different treatments from clients of the same demographic. Jane, for example, will spot an awesome handbag (the only one of its kind remaining) at a high-end shop, and immediately swipe her card to the eternal bliss of owning a classy handbag;

“Forget the price, this bag will make my girlfriends turn green jealous.”

Later that day, she will pass by Simon’s shoe shop (tongue twister), and somehow manage to negotiate the price of a pair of stilettos that match her new bag, down the price that is most comfortable to her. Price in this case matters, and ‘it better be fair to me’ she might add.



People who go to Mtumba carry proudly the ‘you need my business (read money)’ attitude. And they must, otherwise how else will they negotiate a bargain. However, the same people when visiting Woolworths to purchase a top or t-shirt, change their attitude to ‘I need that product’.

Same people different statements! What brings this difference; where on one hand, the statement is ‘your brand needs me’ and on the other hand the statements reads ‘I need your brand’. It is all about how you position your brand. Are you building your brand to world-class status? Do you believe in your brand enough to defend its value, and therefore its price? Or do you allow people to haggle the price of your brand (and therefore its value) down to what they believe it is worth.



Consider also that by allowing a haggler to control the value of your brand, you also empower them to begin dictating how to offer your product. This especially happens in the service industry e.g. the client will now begin to teach the barber how to shave his hair. Such changes may unfortunately alter the essence that defines your brand.

Now let us look at the other coin side; instances where the proverbial Jane walks into a ladies’ accessories shop and buys a handbag without a second thought to the price. Jane believes so much in the brand, she will gladly take what is served. And if the same brand advices her that the handbag she has just bought, is now out of fashion, she will quickly, happily, blindly change, dropping her priced possession like a hot potato. Now that is a brand commanding authority, and something tells me, it has to something to do with brand positioning . . . a little policy called ‘no-bargaining cause our products are that awesome’ policy.