Don't Compromise On Quality- Unilever CEO

Mr. Charles Cofie, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever Ghana Limited, has called on companies not to compromise on quality of products in an attempt to offset loss as a result of the global economic downturn. He said, instead, companies must increase brand equity because even as disposable income for shoppers dropped, they would still continue to search for trusted brands to purchase. Mr. Cofie made the call when he addressed the 2009 Presidential Fund-raising Dinner Dance of the Rotary Club of Accra East to raise funds to undertake development projects in deprived communities. The projects to be undertaken include provision of potable water, education materials, healthcare facilities, polio eradication, career guidance and tree planting among others. He noted that consumers often associated with points of difference with brands on the market, and that in recession times, companies should offer strong, favourable and unique brands to satisfy their customers' demands. "It is not true that shoppers always go for the cheapest alternative, they balance perceived price against quality and affinity of brand," he said. Mr. Cofie said the current recession had changed the scope and content of marketing which was to change consumer behaviour and bring new users to appreciate brands to build the habit of regular use. He said the recession was unusually severe and that consumer confidence and trust in business were at exceptionally low levels. Mr Cofie said marketers should not panic when sales declined and suggested that companies should commit a substantial portion of their budgets to reinforcing the core brand proposition. He called on companies to regularly organise purchase and loyalty programmes to hold onto their customers and reward not just big-time spenders but also people who purchased small amounts frequently. Nii Afutu Neequaye, President of the Rotary Club of Accra East, reminded members of the spirit of the club to expand and offer relevant service to mankind locally and internationally. He said: "We must stand up and commit to doing the best job we can with all our minds, heart and soul to make a difference in our communities".