Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) entered the marketon Thursday with a new corporate identity and values that were launched the previous night. Giving the background of the re-branding of the corporation, BHC Chief
Executive Officer, Reginald Motswaiso, summed up the exercise with a quote from a former American President, Abraham Lincoln, who once said, “public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.”
Motswaiso said it is these words of wisdom that encouraged them to undertake a rigorous image audit ÔÇô a process that commenced early last year.
The purpose of the image audit, he explained, was to respond to public perceptions about the Corporation’s mandate, image and how it generally conducts business.
“The review was also meant to position the Corporation in a better light before the eyes of the public by revamping the BHC brand to reaffirm our mandate and strategic directives. We had to respond to our stake-holders perception about us,” he said during the unveiling of the new logo.
He emphasized the importance of a better image, saying it is the sum total of beliefs, ideas and impressions that stakeholders hold about an organisation.
“It is, therefore, imperative that we, from time to time, appraise our corporate image and identity and modify as necessary to positively respond to the ever changing customer environment,” he lamented.
He said they engaged a consultant in the appraisal process to carry out an audit of their corporate identity elements such as the brand name, the logo, logo type, colours, slogan corporate wear. The aim was to identify strengths and weaknesses, perceptions by stakeholders, and to make reference to best practices, as well as proposing corporate identity options or models to close the identified gaps. The consultant carried out an attitudinal research about the Corporation’s brand within its customers and had mixed results.
“Some of the positive comments were that the BHC brand is warm and homely; it empowers Batswana through home ownership opportunities and that it provides value for money and basic housing to the nation,” said the CEO.
On the downside, he said some of the respondents said the Corporation provides sub-standard housing, communicates poorly and has a poor service culture, practices unfair house allocation, has abandoned its mandate, houses are over priced and that the Corporation is out-rightly inhumane.
“The underlying concerns here appeared to centre on issues of bad customer experience,” he noted.
The Corporation’s visual identity elements such as the logo, colours, and slogan/motto were also subjected to scrutiny through customers’ questionnaires. Motswaiso said some of the positive perceptions about the logo were that “it is okay, it is easily recognizable, unique, people are used to it and some gave it a passive okay.”
The negative perceptions were that “it looks like a CLIP ART from a computer programme; it looks like a drawing of a toilet, it has too many different versions with different colours; it lacks the human element, it is just unappealing bricks which mean nothing”.
It was also perceived to be outdated and out of touch and that it does not incorporate the latest technology and building methods.
He said the Corporation’s corporate colours appeared unpopular as people felt that there were too many (seven), ugly and dull.
“People felt that there was a need for earthly colours to relate the BHC to the traditional use of different types of soils for building houses. The Corporation considered the findings and recommendations of the consultant, along with an array of candidate logos an colours,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Minister of Lands and Housing, Nonofo Molefhi, said a new corporate identity usually raises public expectations and with BHC’s new image, the assumption is that things will now be done differently, efficiently and effectively.
He said by creating brand and identity “a promise is made to consumers ÔÇô a promise of a unique experience.
As that experience repeats itself, trust builds and loyalty in the form of purchase preference follows”.
The Minister said consumer loyalty generates recurring revenue through referral sales and that a company with a strong brand recognition is judged or perceived more valuable in monetary terms as opposed to a company without a brand.