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Offering insights, expert tips and proven brand management strategies from experience we have gathered providing solutions for clients over the years.

Brand building tips for small businesses (1): Market strategy

For small businesses in Nigerian and pretty much everywhere else, being able to successfully differentiate yourself in the mind of your market can be the difference between life and death, literally.

The two key disciplines that executives (of both small and large businesses) constantly need to execute to achieve this are brand building and brand management. Many a-times, successfully applying the principles of these disciplines have been responsible for taking a brand from small to great.

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Want your brand to be hot? Be cool

"Today, business value and competitive advantage arise more often from consumer perceptions of what is "cool" than from physical assets or economies of scale." - Copenhagen Business School.

Companies need to make the right impressions in the minds of current and future clients in ways that will guarantee not just a one-time patronage, but the repeat patronage and referrals that will take their product/service above their competition.

Of course this means the on the road to building its brands, the company has to say, be and do market-defining and convincing things: identify its audience(s), define its visual imagery to give it a distinct form in the ‘mindspace’ of its audiences, craft and deliver key messages for different audiences that speak to their desires and perceptions of themselves, and consistently deliver on its promises.

Beyond all these, a new demand has been thrown into the mix: you’ve got to be cooolll!

Companies have traditionally plugged into the lifestyles and idiosyncrasies of their target markets. This is at the heart of every audience analysis exercise. What makes your audience tick? Well, in the 21st century, being cool makes your audience tick. It is the one underlying factor that quickly gets your product/service much-needed attention. Coupled with the social market’s increasing impact on market consumption patterns, it is becoming more imperative for companies to re-focus their products/services defining characteristics to include the need to be perceived as being cool.

Companies that have quickly adopted ‘hip and trendy’ personas have found themselves warming their ways into the hearts of not just the upwardly mobile generation but into the consciousness of the older generation. A few in the finance and banking as well as the telecommunications sector quickly come to mind. This is an interesting new dynamic.

The control the younger generation has over self-publishing has made them a demographic that shapes opinions in ways never before witnessed or imagined. Their perception of a product/service’s personality can define its short and long term success of in acquiring significant mind-share. In one word phrase, ignore being cool at your peril. The quality and values you stand for will pale in the face of a competitor bringing similar attributes to the table if they speak to this audience in the way that moves them.

When you throw in the consideration that they will be the generation that determines purchasing and patronage over the next 20 years, then you will understand even more why they have to be taken more seriously. For a country like Nigeria where this generation statistically outstrips the older generation in terms of numbers, their steady and sure penetration of every area of business interaction and how this will affect the future of brands is an interesting case worth studying.

So, maybe it is time you took a second look at your brand’s personality. Do you think it connects with the younger generation? Do you think it looks and speaks ‘cool’? Is it reaching out to them in the places they place interaction premium on or is it still hanging out with the old school?

While you may be operating in a conservative sector where your brand cannot ‘sag to show its got swag’, remember that the 21st century is the century of the trendy and fashionable. Explore every way possible to achieve cool.

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Building your brand (1): The power of narratives

“Branding is the ability to constantly create a perception in the minds of your audience/market that there is no product/service like yours that meet their needs and wants by providing distinct value”
― Bernard Kelvin Clive

Your product/service has to stand for something in the hearts of your customers. Take that away and it is lost in the sea of competition. Adrift, rudderless...hopelessly lost in the midst of thousands of other hopelessly lost brands.

Customers traditionally do not spend nearly as much time and effort searching for brand as brands do searching for them. In today's world, the competition is tougher as many brands have honed this art, easing the task of the customer and leaving brands who leave finding new business to chance, floundering.

The ability to craft powerful narratives around your brand's areas of strength and channel it with precision to your various target audiences consistently can both ensure you capture the needed territory in their hearts and maintain long term hold on it which is essential for repeat patronage.

- MR's ‪#‎HeartofYourBusiness‬ 20/1/15

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Never stop communicating!

“It’s not who you know that matters—it’s who knows you that’s important. ...branding builds up your reputation to the point where you have a presence even in your absence.”
― Jarod Kintz

Your 'brand' is more than your logo, name or call card. It is your core message, the value and promise to which you stay true to over time...the area in which you are ready to invest more and more in to stay ahead of your competition. It is the impact that you create through this service that leaves lasting impressions.

It is this core of your business that you can leveraged on for business growth by communicating what it is in memorable ways and how you are doing it.

And oh, never let up in communicating it...because 90% of your market will never stop being fickle. And even the 10% whose hearts you have seemingly captured forever, need constant reassurance from you.

Media Range's ‪#‎HeartOfYourBusiness‬ 22/01/1
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