What do Haile GebreSilassie, Omo, Apple and Italy have in common? Brand Equity.

You recognize them easily. You want to own some of them and want to be associated with the others.

Haile is so famous that his face is easily recognized and his name is among the first manyrecall with athletics across the globe.Omo, is an ideal example of having a strong brand value to a point it’ssynonym to powder detergent in Ethiopia. When Apple releases its products, people line up outside of its shops for hours in winter to buy it the same day. Italy is the number one tourist destination for several years that it’s stillin the bucket list of many.

Haile is not the only famous runner, and neither is Omo the only detergent. There are many other companies that have products similar to Apple and many destinations are in the world as attractive as Italy. These four are not the only ones but the most prominent ones in their brand category. Why? That is the power of a brand.

What does it take to build a strong brand that stands out from the crowd? How can we make our personality, products, companies and countries a global brand?

It seems like Branding is key in this time of business. From start-ups to multinational giants keep branding in the core their planning and execution.

What is the big deal about branding, anyways? Melissa Dawn Simkins, a branding expert and consultant, says that branding is everything. “Branding truly is creating a mark of value that says ‘I have to have this’”. And Haile GebreSilassie, a runner who turned his personal brand into multiple enterprises says “brand is not just about a logo; it’s the value that logo delivers consistently”.

So, the crucial question here is how do we build brands that are valuable enough for people to want to be associated with?

Branding is one of the areas AWiB would like to talk about in 2018 as part of its theme for the year, Visibility. In February, AWiB holds its monthly event under the title “Branding: What’s In It For You?”

On Thursday 1st February 2018, AWiB you 3 speakers to talk about Branding, to share their personal and corporate experiences around the subject.

Mekdella Mekuria, a marketing professional and branding advisor for various companies will cover the processes of building a brand as well as the techniques you need to use to take your brand from your backyard to a global scene. Mekdella will also touch upon aligning your personal brand to that of an institution you work with.

Haile GebreSilassie, with his 20+ years career as middle and long distance runner, has built a persona that is associated with endurance, tenacity and victory. An athletics legend turned entrepreneur, Haile will say few things about leveraging his personal brand to venture into different businesses. Haile will share his experience on maintaining and leveraging his brand, the challenges and opportunities that comes with his brand.

SelameKristos Belay, a Brand Building Manager at Unilever, will present about designing a brand-centric marketing strategy and building a purposeful business. SelameKristos will also reflect on Unilever’s new way of doing business: Sustainable Living Plan. On any given day, 2.5 billion people use Unilever’s over 400 brands in food, personal care, refreshment and homecare categories. With, founded in 1930, Unilever is a transnational consumer goods company with 169,000 employees and 52.7 billion Euro turnover in 2016. 46% of Unilever’s managers are women.


Haile GebreSilassie: Haile is a legend; the greatest long distance runner of all times who broke 27 records, won 2 Olympic gold medals in 10,000m, 4 times World Champion and finished 1st in several marathon races including four consecutive wins in Berlin Marathon. Since early 1990s, Haile had been adorning international long distance tracks with his winning tactics and putting Ethiopian flag on spotlight with his unmatched triumphs for over 2 decades. In 2001, he started the Great Ethiopian Run, a mass 10,000m run, one of the top annual races in the world. Haile is currently serving as a president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation. Since 2000, Haile and his wife Alem established Haile Alem International Plc. that ventured into various businesses including but not limited to real estate (commercial buildings and residential houses), schools, hospitality (Haile Resorts), cinema, gym, and agriculture (mainly Haile Coffee and Haile Honey). He’s a major share holder in Marathon Motor Engineering, an exclusive agent for Hyundai vehicles. Haile is also associated with other local and global brands to become their ambassador such as Zemen Bank, Total and Nido. Haile’s companies created over 2,000 jobs.

Mekdella Mekuria: Dynamic and self-motivated, Mekdella is a marketing professional, business and personal development coach and marketing teacher at St. Marry University. He’s currently a Business and Finance Coach at E4Impact and a board member of Ethiopian Marketing Professionals Association. He previously served the association as Vice President. In addition to teaching marketing, he was Marketing and Business Development Head of St. Marry University. With excellent management and people’s skills, Mekdella trains and advises on business development, marketing, branding, as well as personal and professional development. Among the companies Mekdella works with, few are Wabe Shebelle Hotels, Theo International Global Sourcing and Trading, Arc Printing and Advertising and Eazzy Media & Advertising.

SelameKristos Belay: A marketing professional with a career role spanning across different industries for over a decade, SelameKristos is a Brand Building Manager at Unilever. His track record and increasing responsibility encompasses customer service, operations, brand management, sales, marketing, relationship management and channels management. Prior to Unilever, SelamKristos has worked with DHL, Ethiopian Marketing Professionals Association and Greenlight Planet Inc.

Moderator: Meti Shewaye Yilma, AWiB President and TV Producer at Queendom.Media