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What Are the Most Authentic Brands in the World?

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Which brands have your loyalty and trust? According to a new study, perhaps unsurprisingly, a certain Mouse has won over both consumers’ hearts and wallets.

In its fourth annual survey about brand authenticity, communications and public relations firm Cohn & Wolfe generated a ranking of the most authentic brands in the world.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur by Nina Zipkin

The agency polled nearly 12,000 people in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States and narrowed the list of 100 companies down from 1,600 brands.

See also: How to get your branding noticed

The study found that consumers say that a brand is authentic when the company consistently delivers on what it promises, protects consumers’ data and respects their privacy and interacts with their customers with transparency and integrity.

And the old aphorism that the customer is always right still rings true here — 69 percent of the participants said that how a brand treats and relates to its customers is more important than if the company is “clear about its beliefs” or the business’s environmental footprint.

The top of the list is largely a tech industry affair — with the usual suspects Microsoft, Amazon and Apple — but Disney took the top spot. Car manufacturers BMW and Audi cracked the top 10, as did Adidas and LEGO.

See also: Your profile picture is your personal branding

For more on consumer attitudes about authenticity around the world, check out the full study here.

Here are the top 10 most authentic brands in the world, according to the Cohn & Wolfe study:

  1. Disney
  2. BMW
  3. Microsoft
  4. Amazon
  5. Apple
  6. Intel
  7. Audi
  8. Samsung
  9. Adidas
  10. LEGO

See also: Your receptionist is a big representation of your brand

Source: Entrepreneur

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This is How Rewarding the Streets of Accra Can Be

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Make money in Ghana

You won’t find money lying in the middle of every street in Accra. Even after the 100th try, probably. However, there are many ways the busy streets of Ghana’s capital can reward you. The street is putting hundreds of thousands of cedis in the hands, pockets and purses of those who ply it diligently. Well, if you’re lucky you would come across a 1 cedi note lying on the floor of one of the many busy lorry stations in the city, but that’s not the focus of this article. For those who are still looking for an opportunity to make money in Ghana, here’s one of them.

On every stretch of Accra’s streets, tarred or untarred, you will find brisk business activities taking place. Thousands of people engage in buying and selling via small roadside kiosks, hawkers, food vendors and major shops along the streets. Now here lies the money.

Read: Start a roadside business today and you’ll be amazed at the profits

Businesses that have relied on the power of the streets have been duly rewarded. Rush energy drink, adinkra pie, nkatie burger, newspapers, fanmilk products, and quite recently A1 bread are among the many products which have enjoyed tremendous brand awareness and acceptance on the streets. They have become household names to the dwellers of Ghana’s capital city, Accra. A sure route to make money in Ghana, as a small retailer.

Business activities along the streets are quite enormous if you observe the zeal with which hawkers run along and across the major streets in the mornings and at evening rush-hour periods. Money is exchanged for goods at every second, enriching the owners of these businesses and the retailers who risk everything on the streets as well. Without taking a dive into the numbers, you would agree that this should have a positive relationship with revenue growth.

Read: The most profitable business in Ghana requires the least capital and skill

Contrary to the opinion of a minority section of Accra’s population, the products sold in or along the streets are not inferior. It’s often the same products you find in many supermarkets. You’ll have noticed that strong brands like Malta Guinness have in the past few years also invaded the streets of Accra. It is where the money is. To put this in perspective, consider a Nielsen survey, which found that majority of Ghanaians shop at general stores or from road side kiosks that sell almost everything from beverages to mobile recharge vouchers.

As entrepreneurs, new or seasoned, there are many lessons to pick from Accra’s street business. It does not seem like business in the street is coming to a close any time soon. Even though law enforcement agencies have at some points taken steps to drive hawkers –the main drivers of street business, away from the streets, the model keeps flourishing. Where there is traffic, there is money because it is where the buying and selling takes place. For those who find this retail model very dangerous (which it is), you can site your small shop by the road (having obtained the necessary permits), and this also, can be very rewarding. It is one of many ways to make money in Ghana.

Read: Majority of Ghanaians shop at General stores and road side kiosks

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The Most Profitable Business in Ghana also Requires the Least Skill And Capital

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According to a Nielsen survey, majority of Ghanaians do most of their shopping at general stores or from road side kiosks that sell almost everything from beverages to mobile recharge vouchers. The survey also found that only 11 percent of respondents use supermarkets or hypermarkets as their primary channel for groceries.

Retail shops are often the channel from which many Ghanaians buy the products they consume. For first time business owners, the retail business is one that I advise people to consider. It is easier to set up and comparatively easier to manage as well.

Read: Majority of Ghanaians shop at General stores and road side kiosks

What to Sell

The next question is what products exactly to retail for maximum return on your investment. To answer this question, I always tell people to take a look at the products they consume (or make use of) almost every day or at least once every week. From the time you wake up to the time you sleep, from Sunday to Saturday. Toothpaste, toothbrush, cups, plates and bowls, bread, sugar, coffee, tea, clothes, the saloon or barbershop, transportation, food staples, groceries, recharge cards (or the electronic form), and the list goes on. These are the areas where cash is exchanged on daily basis and your job is to place your business somewhere in that never-ending cycle.

Read: Fast moving businesses in Ghana that require small capital

Rewards

Let’s look at the numbers. Retailers of fast moving consumer goods often earn at least 5% markups on their products and this can go as high as 50% on products such as imported clothes, confectionery, agricultural produce (food crops, meat etc). At the lowest profit, 5% that is, given that you turnover stock once every week, your profit at the end of the year well exceeds 200% on initial amount invested in stocks. The operational costs associated with these businesses are not so high for small and medium-scale set ups. However, for bigger setups such as supermarkets located in major malls, the operational expenses (electricity, rent, insurance, salaries, etc) can be high.

Risks

Major risks associated with these businesses include perishability of products (those with short shelve life), theft and pilferage by shop attendants and consumers in limited cases.

Read: Profitable businesses in Ghana that require small capital

With as little as GHS1,000 you can start a retail business on a small scale, and grow it steadily. You may need a basic understanding of inventory management. I advise retailers to often stick to cash sales and avoid selling on credit as much as possible. Bad debts at this stage of your business, can spell the end of your small businesses if you are unable to replenish stock, because your money is locked in debts.

Other areas where we spend daily are communication, electricity, water and fuel but these setups require bigger capital, and so you may consider them when your pockets grow deeper. However, these seemingly big businesses also have smaller sections that you can consider investing in.

Read: 10 Low cost businesses you can start in Ghana

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The Free SHS Policy: A Perfect Initiative to Transform Ghana?

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free shs in Ghana
I have always prioritized the development foundation of this country on four major pillars;
1. Education
2. Health
3. Energy
4. Infrastructural and social interventions

Pillars of Development

The health of a nation represents its wealth. The future of this country will be predictably secured if we have an appreciable number of educated youth. Free access to quality education by all, irrespective of our social status is one of good ways to build a secured future.
Energy is the backbone of every economy. In this era of technological advancement, businesses ranging from Small Scale to giant corporations heavily rely on energy for production of goods and services. The country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) has a positive relationship with sustainable supply of energy and this explains why the previous government recorded the worst performance growth in GDP (that is; the Dumsor effect)
Infrastructure and social interventions is one major responsibility of every government. The tax payer must have access to basic needs. The government must invest in its people by creating value for the tax payer from each cedi received. Good road network/system, hospitals, schools, affordable houses, sanitation and environmental protection, etc.

Is Timing of Free SHS Right?

In as much as I believe all previous governments did their best to improve these four pillars mentioned above (Particularly education), I am much impressed by the current government’s policy of Free Senior High School (SHS) education. Of course, I have my personal reservations regarding the timing and the implementation of the policy. Especially when we (government) have not done much about improving the standards of our schools and living conditions of teachers, which should be the utmost priority.

The Debates

I have personally listened to debates from both experts in the educational sector and political pundits who defend or critic the policy based on their political colors/affiliations. However, what is undebatable is the financial relief this policy will afford the parents/guardians of pupils who will benefit from the policy. The number of students who drop out from SHS because of financial distress is also undebatable. The poor tax payer who cannot afford three square meals does not have anymore excuses to retire a 15yr old JHS leaver to the farm or trafficking them for some coins.
What we failed to address is the value the government will be creating with our taxes and the future of this policy. One major concern always comes to mind anytime I think of this sumptuous policy. That’s, financing and sustainability. I have not come across any contingency approach to financially sustaining the policy in case the current source of finance fails. The use of the Heritage Fund is still debatable depending on the school of thought you will refer to. But what is more dangerous is failing to address the potency of the fund to sustain the policy for the next 10years, 50years perhaps. We as a country do not control the prices of oil and the proceeds from the oil sector which the heritage fund heavily depends on. This basically must inform policy makers about the risk of failure hence the need to fish out other lucrative ways of financing the policy.
The first time I heard about the source of financing for the Free SHS policy was when the minister of finance Hon. Ken Ofori Attah presented the 2017 “Asempa” budget and stated categorically that the free ShS will be financed through the heritage fund. I was impressed with his submission on the policy. His demeanor alone signalled how optimistic the government was towards the implementation of the policy. However, I was troubled by the policy’s sustainability through the Heritage Fund. In fact, I became more troubled after listening to the views of some experts as well.
Just after he ended with the budget reading, a thought came to mind (A thought I posted on my Facebook wall).

Sustainability Options

Why don’t we levy the citizens with 2.5% indirect tax just as the NHIS policy so we can sustain the Free SHS policy for a life-long period. I perfectly understand the ripple effect and the politicization this decision will meet, especially introducing such a levy in an NPP administration. It is much evident that the NPP bitterly complained about nuisance taxes introduced by the NDC government and they promised to eliminate and reduce taxes to reduce the burden on the tax payer, if they are given the nod.
This Free SHS policy is best for the majority of the Ghanaian citizenry and I think irrespective of the campaign promises, the government must come clear on the financial sustainability of the policy. I was glad to hear the IEA in their recent presentation by Dr. Assibey on financing the Free SHS policy. The policy expert recommended a charge of one percent(1%) tax on goods and services to help finance the Free SHS policy. A recommendation that I perfectly agree with on the grounds of sustainability. Then again, something came to mind; will the 1% be enough? Especially when our major problem in this country is prudent financial administration. Is the Free SHS policy not going to be like the NHIS policy where service providers refused to deliver services due to failure by government to meet its financial obligations? Government must come clear on the financial modalities of this policy.

My opinion on Free SHS

I believe the Free SHS policy is one of the best policy initiative by the NPP government and if it must be done it must be done perfectly well. The policy must stay and improved with time. My children, grand children and great grand children must all benefit from this sumptuous policy. I want to see my country developed with positive attitude and change through access to free quality education. As we always say; Education is the key to success.
The politician must create value from the taxes of the citizenry and one of the best value any government can create is  initiating an access to a free quality education for all. Let us join hands irrespective of our political inclination to build this policy. Let us build our country together and create a better future for our unborn generation.
I believe in Ghana and I believe Ghana must work for the Future.
Citizen Kwame Nkrumah
0208603020
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