Guests arrive at the opening ceremony for Habesha Breweries’s new brand souvenir shop.

As a move to push its presence in the market, Habesha Breweries S.C. opened an exclusive brand shop that retails souvenirs with traditional Ethiopian touches.

Inaugurated on September 18, 2019, the brand shop is located at the head office building of the company at Bole Medhanialem off Cameroon Street. To run the shop, Habesha partnered with Ke-Ha-Iske-Pe Advertising by entering a five-year agreement.

The shop sells apparel, hand watches, leather bags, t-shirts, scarfs, wallets, glasses, make-up mirrors and coasters. The price of the items starts from a minimum of 200 Br and rises depending on the type of items. It is open from Monday through Saturday.

The shop is intended to reach consumers using branded merchandise to increase brand equity and awareness by creating connection and brand association, according to Door Plantenga, commercial director of Habesha.

"We've got a plan to open a network of brand shops across the country, after assessing the progress and need of items," Plantenga said.

Ke-Ha-Iske-Pe Advertising, a local company that engages with printing, public relations, marketing campaigns and creative designs, will print the materials. The two companies will decide the types of items that will be sold in the brand shop.

The shop is not opened to make a profit. Instead, it aims to reach brand lovers, according to Zewdu Nigate, CEO of Habesha Breweries, a company that was founded in 2009 by 8,000 shareholders and started brewing in 2015. After three years of market experience, the company added Negus, a non-alcoholic beer.

“We're promoting our brand in the international market through the items,” said Zewdu.

The new marketing strategy of Habesha came onto the scene a couple of months after the country entirely banned the advertisement of breweries in the broadcast media. Habesha was one of the major advertisers on television and radio shows.

Drafted jointly by the Federal Food & Drug Authority and the Ministry of Health, the proclamation took three years to take shape and puts various restrictions and limitations on the advertisement as well as the sale and use of alcoholic beverages. Brewery advertisement used to involve an average of half a billion Birr in transactions a year.

Beyond not advertising the products in the broadcast media, the brewers are required to feature warnings on their labels that declare consuming alcohol is hazardous to health. Advertisement of alcoholic products must contain a message that says it is illegal to sell it to a person under the age of 18.

Getie Andualem (PhD), a lecturer at Addis Abeba University's College of Business & Economics, appreciates Habesha's new brand advertising strategy.

"Promotion is one of the key pillars in marketing," said Getie.

He also advises the company to be cautious about the content and structure of the message, demonstrating social responsibility when the company tries to promote its brand on easily accessible items.

"Some messages have ambiguous meanings, and they should consider this," he said.

PUBLISHED ON Sep 21,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1012]

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