Growing in today’s Nigerian business environment can be hard; frustrating in fact. But all the same, if you must achieve sustainable growth, you must do it right. Here, I share some globally accepted principles on how to build a successful brand in Nigeria and globally.
The Nigerian business landscape has over time become a beehive of activity and has witnessed drastic advancements. Those unaccustomed to adaptation have been rendered entirely useless and irrelevant for today’s era. The business environment has become so competitive that it has been difficult for unpopular businesses to thrive or even get off ground. Consumers have been exposed more than ever to a lot of alternatives and the rise of digital marketing, e-commerce and even e-payment channels have brought in new challenges to manufacturers, retailers and service providers alike.
These factors have made it increasingly difficult to distinguish one’s product or service from a million others or to attract and retain a consumer’s attention until a purchase decision is made. The challenge for 21st century businesses especially Small and Medium Scale Enterprises is being able to distinguish themselves from competition as well as how to attract the attention of consumers towards choosing and staying loyal to their offerings.
When we think about the most successful enterprises in the world today from the disruptive world of IT, we often cast our minds to companies such as Apple, Mercedes Benz, Amazon, Google, etc who have over time grown reputable images as the world’s most exclusive and leading businesses some amassing profits higher than the GDP’s of most third world countries.
These corporations have grown influence over time by delivering value in better and more efficient ways than other businesses in their category. They have been called innovative, consistent, creative, advanced, and different. They have been sculptured into marks of quality trusted and credible in the eyes of consumers.
The successes of these businesses have often been attributed to their visionary leadership, their passionate employees, quality products and services. The sum of all these factors is what’s creates the brands we know and love.
To most of us, however, a Brand is simply a product, or a service, or a logo, a name or some representation or product of a business, organization, institution etc. These notions are all correct as a brand is simply a non-tangible representation of some tangible asset which fosters a connection or communication between its owner and a particular or a varying audience. A brand can be a product, logo, a name, or mantra or even a person or anything that represents something to which it is attributed.
For you as a business owner, your brand is simply your message to your customers; communicating value and aimed at promoting loyalty, trust and patronage.
The fortune companies of our age have amassed this tool over the years to build timeless and indestructible reputations and maintain relevance as global leaders in their niche. With the right approach, you can harness this tool to build influence that can transcend decades, promote loyalty and ensure leadership.
What are the things that have made these brands so successful and can they be replicated in your business or brands?
Despite the unfavorable economic and political environment, Nigerian brands such as Globacom, Access Bank, Pay-stack etc have thrived and withstood the test of time. The process of building a successful brand in Nigeria can never be said to be easy.. You must put n extra time, effort, network, finance, luck and the grace of God to scale through. However, it gets easier if you have knowledge of the right principles to apply in building your brand.
Although there is no textbook formula for branding as each brand is unique, there are certain guidelines you must consider while setting out to build a world class brand. The few tips shared below are aimed at putting you through the process of positioning your brand for massive impact and growth.
Top 5 Ways of Building a Successful Brand in Nigeria
1. Define who you are
First, define the scope of your business operation and grow your business within that niche. This is your brand’s identity. You must ask yourself, “What do we really do?” We are often afraid of restrictions and boundaries and we want to be a jack of all trades. Being all-encompassing may be profitable for the short term, but to succeed in the long term, you must focus your energies on building competence around a particular niche and becoming known for that.
You would virtually control the market within that niche. You should be able to choose what you are best at doing and stick to it the entire time. This will be the back drop of your entire brand image.
2. Determine what you want to be known for
You must define both your current position and what you hope to stand for in the future. This is often captured in your vision and mission statement as well as your core values. Effectively communicate who you are; what you do and what you stand for, making a clear note of what makes you different from others doing the same thing as you are. A rule of thumb here is that it is better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver.
3. Build an image that depicts you
Having determined what image you wish you company to be known for, it’s time to create this image. This is known as brand positioning. Here you sculpt your business’ image the way you want it to appeal to the audience. This is done through the use of logos, taglines, colour combinations, tone of voice and style, language as well as a few other tools that best communicate your brand’s ideals to your audience. It is highly recommended that you contact a professional for optimum results.
4. Internalize your image and ideals
You must pay attention to the internal image and ideals that drive your brand. Consciously inculcate the ideals of your brand into the minds of your internal stakeholders. These include; your employees, shareholder, partners etc. The attitude and demeanor of your employees especially while relating with customers is paramount in giving them an experience with your brand which you can bet will with time become a reputation which can mar or make your brand.
5. Communicate your image and ideals
Having built your brand’s culture into your organization, you must communicate your brand. What’s the purpose of being the best if nobody knows you exist? The greatest brands have been known to dedicate a significant portion of their annual budgets to promotional efforts.
This is done by advertising, publicity, public relations, personal selling etc. You must take your brands message to your target market in an attempt to promote your brand’s position in the minds of your audience and increase preference while they make purchase decisions.
Remember, no two brands are the same. To be successful, you must avoid trying to look like or be like others. You will only create a confused perception of your identity. Understand what makes you different and flaunt it. There is no need basing your brand on the template of other successes as each successful brand is entirely peculiar to itself.
Celebrate little successes and give yourself time to bloom. Grow and maintain a distinguishing reputation of quality, customer satisfaction and progressiveness. Be consistent but do not miss turns when you have to take them. Always remember to measure your progress.
Please speak to a branding professional to get the best results for your brand.
Remember IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.