Today is the final day of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) for 2019. Trade fairs come with lessons.

We saw companies all around the globe come to showcase what they had.

This is a great stage, and companies need to plan and prepare for it. Bulawayo comes alight, alive and vibrant.

Below, I bring 10 ways by which to make your company stand out:

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Clarity — Companies have to have great public relations personnel who know and are competent about what they offer. Everyone who represents a company must be trained and equipped enough in the areas of grooming and etiquette, communication and emotional intelligence.

Create content — Great companies create content. Local exhibitors must give us more than they show us during trade fairs. Some companies, including government institutions, only prepare for ZITF, but when you go to their offices, you will find a different story. Secondly, it’s surprising to find that some companies don’t update their websites. Companies must now use social media to project a great image.

Communication — Communication is a skill that every employee must learn. Corporate branding must communicate a clear and succinct message. Managers must use all available channels of communication to make people aware of the business that they are in. A company should be visible even after the trade fair event. A company might have a great product, but if they hide it, no one will see it. Attract attention. Grab attention!

Competence — During trade fairs, experts must be brought to represent the company in its entirety. I have noticed that some companies bring their CEO or a manager who just wants to enjoy the allowance for being out of station, although they lack requisite information for the public concerning their bubsiness. For trade fairs, companies must bring expertise, skill, and special abilities.

Consistency — Stick to something and let it be known. Be known for what you provide and be clear about it. Be compelling and convincing. You are not begging to be a market player. Other players are brutal and they are taking over, so if you play small, you will be forgotten. Big known companies such as Coca Cola are constantly pushing their messages through marketing and advertising. That has kept them competitive

Collaborate — Most companies have to engage an outside view. Success is when you are able to engage other people to help you build your brand. This starts with the training of staff and implementation of the brand strategy.

Competitive — Peter Drucker once said we live in an era of 3 Cs: Overwhelming complexity, accelerated change and tremendous completion. As I was walking around the ZITF stands, I noted that most companies are still talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4G). Do you know that the world is now getting ready for the 5G? I realised that even our tertiary institutions are still talking about 4G. 4G is what we have now, 5G is what the future holds. This is a world of competition and you have to stay on top of the game. Not only that, strive to get out of the red ocean into the blue ocean.

Change — I realised that some companies have been showing us what they always bring to the trade fair for years. That is not bad, but companies must show that they are creative and innovative enough to bring new things to the table. Managers should improve their brands. The first step to change is by challenging what you created yesterday. Never seat on your laurels.

Confidence — One of the stands I visited made a mistake by having students on attachment to man their stand. I asked questions and they had to confess that they had been sent and didn’t have background information about the brand on display. This is how some companies are selling themselves short. The students didn’t have confidence in what they stood for or talked about.

Commitment — Be committed to building a stronger brand. Giants are made through commitment. A great respectable brand does not come on a silver platter, or by playing small.

It needs serious investment of energy, time and finances. A great brand does not come easily, but you have to learn to fail and then try again.