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Branding! One of the ways for being identified among all the other organizations providing the same service as you. The way you can be recognized by consumers and create credibility for yourself. For example, Coca-Cola can be recognized by billions of people all over the world. In my country, some people know Coca-Cola before even tasting it. They already know the shape of the bottle and the logo!

Brand, logo, image: everyday we are overrun with a lot of new images but they are always from the West and always commercial. In Burundi, we know Coca-Cola, Nike, Adidas, etc. better than our own brands and products. Everyone wants to drink a Coca or an Amstel, to wear Louis Vuitton or Gucci, to smell of Axe or Nina Ricci. Some socially conscious organizations are known by their branding. Burundians recognize the “UN” on the cars of the United Nations officers. In refugee camps, people know that food distribution is going to happen when they see the logo of PAM on big cars.

But, on the other hand, Burundians do not know their own brands. Some commercial organizations spend big amounts of money on building their image. These are the ones with big monopolies, such as the brewery BRARUDI with its campaigns for its “Made in Burundi” beer Primus. Other big organizations are in the most competitive field in Burundi- telecommunications.

The socially conscious organizations and associations in Burundi somehow neglect the importance that communication can have in their programs. Some of them don’t even have a communication team. They include communication fees in the budgets for their projects without having an idea of what communication they want. Some have logos but do not use them in an effective way! Their communication strategies are not aggressive.

The problem is that we still don’t realize that communication is one of the best ways to achieve more. Good branding is a way to make your organization well-known. Coca-Cola is a good example of this. Some organizations in Burundi suffer from not having enough funds for their programs. I am sure that if an organization is known, it can be easier to get funds for its programs.

These organizations need new images to build credibility and be known.

My placement organization is one of these organizations that needed a new image. SWAA-Burundi has dealt with fighting HIV/AIDS since 1992 and was the first organization to do so in Burundi. SWAA-Burundi helps PVVS and affected people by assisting them physiologically and psychologically. The organization has done a great job! But its image remains the same as it was at its creation. This is due to the fact that SWAA focused on clinical and administration work, but not much on communication.

The logo of the organization was very good, but there weren’t enough colors in it and it wasn’t attractive. My challenge as a communications manager, especially as a passionate graphic designer, was to make it more attractive. The original image was the map of Africa with the inscription “SWAA” in it. In the middle of the logo were the letters “SWAA-Burundi” and what they stand for. And last there was an African woman with a child on her back and a basket on her head. The image of all African women, symbolizing that they are active and caring.  The image was in black with the Red Ribbon, symbol of the fight against HIV.

The problem is that it was not attractive because there weren’t enough colors and it was not printed in the same way every time it was used. I retained the same ideas but made some modifications. In the original logo, the woman and the African continent were separated by “SWAA-Burundi” and the words of what that stands for. I brought the woman inside the map, redesigned the shape of the woman, and put the words “SWAA-Burundi” beside the map.

I shared it with my co-fellow and we showed it to our administration. Now it’s the official logo of the organization. The biggest challenge we have now is to implement this logo so that it is used in all the branches, for all the communication tools and the administrative documents of SWAA Burundi. We are not going to be Coca-Cola right now, but we are aiming high!