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Building a Lasting Entrepreneurial Brand

  Sep 22, 2017
 

“Growth is the end goal of entrepreneurship and brand marketing is its driver.”

Peter Nduati’s long list of accolades in entrepreneurship, leadership and the insurance industry has granted him well deserving mentions as a pace setter in the Pan African insurance space.  A pioneer in Resolution Insurance and East African Entrepreneur of the year in 2013 CNBC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards; are just but a few of his honorable references.

Peter is a charted insurer, with over 20 years’ experience in the Kenyan insurance Industry, South Africa, where he formerly worked as the CEO Metropolitan Health Group and Tanzania, where he worked as the Managing Director of AAR Health Services. Along his ground-breaking interventions in insurance, he owns numerous business entities such as: Pine Creek Records, Brown Oak Ltd, Tru Blaq Limited, Phoenix Aviation, Home Afrika and Consumer Benchmark Kenya.

He shares his wealth of experience with the Master of Business Administration – Healthcare Management students on Entrepreneurial Marketing. The MBA in Healthcare Management is designed to equip managers with relevant skills for leading and managing the various facets and challenges that confront professionals in healthcare provision.

The Insurance Industry

Cracking open the insurance industry for Peter, has been clearly illustrated by his mastery of the field; his professional education, networks and what he classifies as his cherry – his marketing strategies.  “I cut my teeth into my career during my active years of managing Resolution Insurance Group. Although we had Managing Directors across all the East African countries we were operating on, most of the people associated me with the Group’s brand; which explains why I am still a big representative of the organisation.”

Building a successful household name in the insurance industry across East Africa, might have been quite a treasure to let go of. However, as any successful entrepreneurs would have it, a legacy can only be elongated by others.

“Resolution insurance has been a great part of my career development. It has been quite an  interesting journey to see it grow and mature into what it currently is. I am glad that at the opportune time, I was able to diligently step away from the day to day running of the company and let another, take on the baton. I recently sold 69% of my stake in the organisation. My philosophy has always been to create profit with purpose and to transcend from success to significance.

However, making a break into the sector cannot be likened to shooting fish in a barrel. “Making a significant break into the industry meant that I had to grapple with numerous shortcomings such as; building the trust into the eco-system, financial management, managing stakeholder expectations, compliance with regulators and standards, capital adequacy, managing healthcare professionals, the balancing act of impact and profit and most crucial, the transformation from being the sole owner to regulated ownership – the business and its strategy, largely identified with the founder.”

Thinking East Africa

What enhanced Resolution Health Insurance Group’s success was its impact in the East African market. Whereas Kenya had already been cut out for the experienced and well – muscled insurance groups, Resolution, had to set out to new markets. “East Africa has a market share of 133 million people with a cumulative GDP of USD 7.5 bn. The East African market records high population and economic growth, home to Africa’s emerging economies. I believe in Regional Integration and the power of East Africa as a trading bloc.  Currently, there are initiatives to harmonies tax regimes across East African countries. This will be favorable for businesses seeking to trade across the region. Cross border trade structures in these countries do exist,” he said.

The creation of a brand name

The significance of branding in establishing a business cannot be underestimated. It is important as the vision carrier to sell the vision to the rest of the team. “All your team members must know the vision to execute it effectively. I make it my task to ensure that everyone in the organization is a marketer. Not necessarily because they have sales targets to meet, but because they are a representation of the brand and hence they must know it. Inculcating a culture in an organisation is very tough, especially with the rapidly changing business dynamics.”

However, the challenges of doing business in East Africa are as great as its opportunities:  corruption, red tape on leadership, cultural Challenges, skills shortage and access to credit, mistrust, respect of contracts, No harmony in regulations and customary business courtesy. Amidst these and many other, Peter Nduati shares on his approaches to marketing which have been essential in growing his various brands.

Entrepreneurial Marketing

  1. Understanding one’s unique identity – We knew that marketing was one of the areas where we could define our uniqueness. Our competitors were strong in heritage, financial muscle and would easily come across as old and boring. Our strategy was to position ourself as young and vibrant as exempliefied by a young woman aspiring success. This was through the personification of the ‘Professional Female’

 

  1. Defining our Customers – We positioned ourselves as a retail and a family oriented service provider. We designed products to attract women who are household decision makers.

 

  1. Go to where the customers are – We sold directly to customers unlike other insurance providers. This ensured that we cut out the brokers who would rip off the profit margins and working with the clients directly gave us direct feedback to their reaction of the products. This one set us apart from anyone else.

 

  1. Offer new and exceptional services – Although we were not in the healthcare provision services, we offered 24 hours’ cover.

 

Click here to read about the Master in Business Administration – Healthcare Management



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