Africa's foremost branding agency, HKLM, is celebrating two branding wins this month: Glo, Nigeria's second largest telecommunications operator (HKLM helped launch the brand 17 years ago and refreshed it last year) has been acknowledged as Nigeria's most popular brand in 2020 by Top 50 Brands Nigeria, and the 28th most admired African brand for 2020 in Brand Africa's annual survey.
HKLM conceptualised Glo’s original name, positioning, identity and visual language in 2003, overhauling most of these aspects in 2019 to deliver a new visual language that was fresh and dynamic, but still retained the valuable brand equity Glo had garnered over the years.
With representation in eight African countries, HKLM has helped establish and grow blue-chip brands like Glo in 20 of Africa’s 54 countries. Most of these have been indigenous brands that have taken on established global brands.
Gary Harwood, co-founder at HKLM, says it takes a special skill to build indigenous brands rather than coat-tailing big international brands across the continent. “To do this, you need to get out of your comfort zone and out of the major cities to really understand the market dynamics specific to different countries, different regions and the different cultures within specific countries. Brands are not built overnight; it takes persistence, tenacity and dedication to build a compelling brand capable of standing the test of time,” Harwood explains.
He likens the process to constructing a house, beginning with a solid foundation. “In branding, that foundation is what we at HKLM call the Brand Platform. The single most important part of a brand platform is the brand purpose, which is the deepest expression of why the brand exists. This purpose is then supported by the brand’s vision, values, positioning and personality,” Harwood notes of HKLM’s process of creating award-winning brands.
Glo is a wholly-owned Nigerian telecommunications company, and has been an HKLM client since its inception in 2003. HKLM was instrumental in positioning the brand as ‘proudly Nigerian’, and Glo has been widely recognised as being a major contributor to reinstating Nigeria’s national pride.
Glo’s brand communication celebrates every aspect of Nigerian culture, including sponsoring the national football team, the Super Eagles; celebrating the Nobel Laureate for Literature, Wole Soyinka; and featuring a multitude of Nigerian musicians, actors and comedians in marketing communications to showcase Nigeria’s rich cultural diversity. HKLM has been actively involved in all aspects of Glo’s marketing communication, from its print and digital creative executions to its built environment.
“These latest accolades bear testament to the solid brand positioning Glo originally adopted – one that neither us as the agency nor Glo as our client has wavered from over the past 17 years,” concludes Harwood. “This recognition further speaks to the power of a longstanding client-agency relationship that continues to grow from strength to strength, and their capacity to deliver branding communications that resonate with the people.”