14 December 2012

Kenya: Brand Kenya Launches Identity Mark

Nairobi — Local hotels as well as consumer products and services will soon bear Kenya's mark of identity in a bid by Brand Kenya and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to market the country internationally.

During the unveiling, Brand Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mary Kimonye said the mark, which will be accompanied by the tag line 'A Touch of Kenya' is to grow key sectors of the economy and position products and services favorably across the globe.

"Once you brand your product they attract better prices because that mark connotes excellence and value. It also confirms that the government is behind what the exporters and traders are doing," she said.

The mark is a modernised version of the shield found on the nation's flag, which Kimonye said is necessary in helping Kenya's tourism sector diversify away from its traditional crowd pullers such as beach and wildlife.

Now that Kenya is no longer the only place of choice in the region for international investors, Kimonye adds that developing a mark of identity can elicit emotional ties between the product and the consumer.

KEBS Managing Director Evah Oduor said the agency had created a code of practice that will require establishments and products to meet a certain criteria to bear the mark of origin internationally.

"We are talking about putting Kenya out there at another level. We can no longer be satisfied with just marketing in Kenya," she said.

The Tea Board of Kenya launched the mark of origin last year to market Kenyan tea in the United Kingdom and soon the United States.

Kenya is the world's largest tea exporter, accounting for 26 percent of total volumes.

However, over 95 percent of what is locally produced is widely used as a hidden product for blending.

The need to operate higher up in the value chain and have a bigger share of the returns accrued from the final consumer, were compelling reasons to develop the mark for the tea industry.

In 2010, tea was the leading foreign exchange earner contributing Sh97 billion to the Kenyan economy.

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