Building the iconic Pan-African brand.

Position:Top Brands - Brand Communications

Ecobank was born out of a desire to establish a homegrown financial institution for the continent; a truly world-class, pan-African bank. One, that at the same time, would make a vital contribution to the continents economic development, bringing banking to the masses and enhancing regional integration.

Over the past 25 years, Ecobank has built the authentic pan-African bank, spanning 36 countries, and this achievement is increasingly being recognised internationally.

Brand Communications have been Ecobank's principal brand marketing partner since 2008. "We share the same commitment to, and passion for, the continent. Whilst our aim is to help our clients grow and win more business, we also recognise that by developing iconic brands we can help fuel African enterprise," says Terhas Asefaw Berhe, founder and MD of Brand Communications. "To attract investment and increase market share, African brands need be globally attractive and competitive," she says.

"One of the key attributes of successful brands is their consistency" argues Charles Walker, Strategy Director at Brand Communications. "The Ecobank brand operates across many markets and cultures. By speaking with one, consistent voice, the brand has deeper resonance with consumers, cutting through the 24/7 marketing 'noise'."

"Relevance is definitely the key. The first step is visibility, but it goes hand in hand with relevance," says Ama Okyere, group head of marketing at Ecobank. "During the Olympics," she says, "we were celebrating all the heroic athletes of today and yesterday, as many of our people had not seen these stars when broadcasting was new.

"So, we will always develop world-class banking, but also do it in recognition of our commitment, belonging and what we owe our continent"

The voice of the Ecobank brand matured during a period of aggressive expansion under the leadership of then CEO, the pioneering Arnold Ekpe. Arnold Ekpe was at the helm of Ecobank from 1996 to 2001 and then from 2005 to 2012 again. During this time he oversaw the expansion and consolidation of Ecobank's footprint across 33 African countries.

His foresight recognised that the 'African opportunity' extended beyond national borders and he was determined to capture this potential before larger competitors.

Few business leaders have left such an indelible mark on Africa's financial services. As the late Kaye Whiteman, a seasoned British journalist specialising in West Africa, observed, "Arnold Ekpe has been...

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