Some of the world’s most exciting growth markets are in Southern and East Africa. Urbanisation, digitalisation and global access are shifting mindsets and linking people to broader prospects and income potential. Out of this, a middle class emerges that is optimistic about the future, has access to more opportunities than previous generations, and is generally curious and hungry for exciting new offerings.

From a business perspective, there is limited innovation and little competition; in other words, the perfect set up for new brands to come in and take the lead. Building brands from scratch, testing and optimising these exciting opportunities is part of the speciality of branding agency, Epic Lion. By connecting to the beat, vibrancy and tempo of modern-day African markets, Epic Lion are uniquely placed to create brands that balance the magic with logic ensuring they always build brands that not only have a clear purpose but also drive commercial success.


SOGO: Designed to be dynamically different

When it came to developing the new fuel-stop brand for Zimbabwe, Epic Lion worked closely with the team on a brand strategy. Based on the insight that fuel stations in this market are typically functional with limited experiential extras, the brand was positioned to make refilling not only better in every way but also a feel-good experience. Delivering a fresh, friendly brand and bringing the concept of “service station” to life.

Epic Lion set about building a brand that is different to the existing brandscape. The name and identity link closely to the parent brand, whilst translating into the modern consumer space through a dynamic and contemporary design system. The identity extends to forecourts as well as a digital presence. SOGO gives Zimbabweans the service excellence they need to get ahead in life.


VIVI: Kenyan fragrance house, supporting local entrepreneurship

Kenyans love fragrances and see scent as an important part of personal care and self-expression but previously there are no mid-range everyday fragrance options available. Epic Lion and the brand team worked off market insights to generate a comprehensive brand strategy hinging on being accessible and affordable, offering long-lasting popular scents, evocative packaging and spreading the joy of fragrance.

The strategy provided a springboard for developing the name VIVI and a new vibrant brand identity; designed for Everyday Luxury. Beautiful packaging offers an unboxing experience without adding too much cost. This new award-winning identity included developing a sales platform that elevates local entrepreneurs by partnering small-scale business owners. They are the representatives of the brand and are highly valued and rewarded with a high percentage.


What’s new and next?

Branding for modern Africa means crafting distinctive identities that celebrate the vibrancy, innovation, and creativity of her people. Eager for new products and experiences, these markets respond to different brand cues and visual signifiers when compared to developed markets. They are optimistic and world-aware, and choose brands that help them project an image that reflects their sense of identity. Brands that work strategically to understand and design for African markets, confidently and positively, are making their own destiny and have a bright future ahead.


Epic Lion is a strategic brand and digital design agency founded by an experienced and internationally awarded team based in Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and London.


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