Positioning Your Brand Strategy for The Nigerian Market

Brand strategy is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your target market. The goal of every brand should be to be top of mind in their customers’ heads – that is whenever a customer thinks of your product, your brand should be the first name that pops in their head.

For instance, whenever you think of ordering a cab, the first name that comes to mind is usually Uber, or, if you want a cold, non-alcoholic drink, Coca-Cola comes straight to mind.

The aim is to be the top of the market niche of your brand, the customer needs to specifically identify your brand as distinct from others in the market.

Brand positioning occurs whether or not a company develops a brand strategy, for every market, there is a market leader and less recognized brands. Every company has to craft a brilliant and progressive approach to positively position its brand to grab the attention of its target audience constantly.

Basics of Brand Positioning

The basic four elements of brand positioning are:

Target market: Who are your customers? What is the major demographic constitution of consumers that your brand appeals to?

Market definition: What level is your brand competing for? How is your brand relevant to customers?

Brand promise: What is the most convincing, logical or emotional benefit to your target market that your brand has over your competitors?

Legitimacy: What is the most credible evidence you can present to confirm that your brand would deliver on its promise?

Brand strategy styles

There are four branding styles prevalent in Nigeria, choose the ideal strategy for your brand and implement.

The big bosses battle

This branding style is usually for brands that are in a prominent market category with the market leadership margins within fringes of each other.

Examples of these are Coca-Cola versus Pepsi and Jumia versus Konga.

These two categories of brands are very similar and are constantly competing to gain market share. It is honestly a battle for the big bosses due to the amount of money and time it takes to successfully attempt this strategy.

Big Fish, Smaller Pond

This idea is the basis of most specialist and personalized brands. It is based on the idea of creating a niche within an underserved market, which is basically identifying a sector of an existing market whose needs have not been met by market leaders and positioning your brand as the solution to this market gap.

For instance, there are several platforms that cater to needs of career women and female professionals, however not a lot are youth-focused, which is where She Leads Africa comes in. Fundamentally, this style avoids going head-on with the market leader but focuses on a specific niche.

Game changer

This brand positioning reframes an existing market in new ways. It gives customers new and innovative benefits that make market leaders and your competitors so irrelevant that your brand becomes the new market leader.

If the needs or expectations of your customers change, you differentiate your brand from competitors by highlighting its distinctiveness or marketing your brand in a revolutionary way.

Take Jameson’s foray into the Nigerian market, for instance, other drink companies brand their product as aspirational lifestyle brands or luxury brands, to be honest, aspirational branding is the de-factor brand strategy for products similar to Jameson.

However, Jameson took the alternative route and branded as an artsy, cool kids brand, which has sporadically fast-tracked its market penetration in Nigeria.

Another example is Wanneka Hair, the hair extension retailer that achieved Instagram fame by using unique brand storytelling, unique content, influencer marketing and several other techniques to achieve market leader status in a saturated market.

This branding strategy will highlight your distinctiveness and help you beat the market leader, however, your strength must be backed by good quality product and service. This style gives a feel of exclusivity, community and a unique experience for its customers.

First mover

When there is no other product or service like yours and you are the first of your kind, you have first mover advantage and you get to invent your market. This strategy is for brands that do not fit into any existing market.

Examples of this strategy are Uber and Printivo.

The taxi-hailing app market did not exist before Uber created it, so also a Nigerian online DIY print provider had not been invented before Printivo. The benefit of this strategy is that your brand would be the default market leader because you literally created this market.

However, this strategy can be risky because you might not find the right product-market fit simply because the market does not exist because there is no need for it. There are several brands that flopped in an attempt to fill a need that doesn’t exist, don’t join them.

This strategy comes with several copy-cats, nonetheless, patents and trademarking might help, but if your product can be easily imitated, ensure you get enough head start to gain as much market share as possible.

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Budding entrepreneur: Here’s why you need a Lawyer in Your Corner

Naivety and misplaced trust have seen many individuals lose money and opportunities they have worked for in business. Doing business with a friend can contribute to its success as there are cohesion and team spirit at work.

However, delve into a little research and you will realize that many have also been swindled by friends they considered family. When setting up a business especially a partnership it’s good to get your agreement in writing and sign contracts.

This will draw boundaries on which the business will operate.

A Lawyer brings perspective to your business. Click To Tweet

Most millennials excited by the start of something new forget that there are legal obligations that their businesses should meet. This is why it’s paramount to involve a lawyer from the onset of your business.

A Lawyer brings perspective to your business. Instead of seeing the business as a friends venture or a short-term money-making investment. Lawyers see the bigger picture and plan for circumstances that we may not foresee as we are busy trying to build the business.

Change is inevitable, mindsets change and people who were previously on the same page about the direction a business should take begin to disagree. This situation is dangerous as it can lead to the death of the business or the destruction of a brand if no prior steps had been taken to advise on what should be done in such a situation.

That’s why it’s important to involve a lawyer early on at the start of the business albeit the extra cost the lawyer will add to your young business. In the long-term, you will realize this is cheaper as opposed to calling on a lawyer only when things go wrong and you are in court.

A lawyer will go out of their way to ensure your company’s intellectual property is protected Click To Tweet

Our current world is such that you can do everything by yourself online including registering a company in a span of one to three days. You can draw contracts to use in your business transactions using templates provided online.

Such liberties are great but they should not delude us into thinking that lawyers are not key to our businesses success.

A lawyer will go out of their way to ensure your company’s intellectual property is protected. In a business partnership between friends, they will bring the law on board to ensure no one is cunning enough to overwork the other and still expect to reap from the others hard work.

Here are some reasons why motherland moguls should enlist the knowledge of lawyers in their businesses.

A lawyer is your voice of reason.

Most businesses sprout from our passions. This means we may not be very objective while making some decisions. We are tempted to use trust as a currency while dealing with our customers or partners just to get the business on its feet.

This means we may end up with bankrupting the business due to bad debts. Lawyers come in handy as they assert themselves and insist on contracts with suppliers and customers. This saves motherland moguls from cons as there will be no loopholes to be exploited in the business.

Lawyers offer security and protection

A lawyer’s roles are to pre-empt situations and ensure we are not victims of unscrupulous people who we are doing business with. In situations where certain circumstances cannot be avoided, they ensure the law is on our side.

Many times we are ignorant of what is required of us by law and lawyers protect us from our own ignorance.  

Lawyers have connections and a clientele base like you

The right lawyer will hold your hand and help you know the ins and outs of the business niche you have chosen to explore. They have other clients like you and so they have been on the journey you are just beginning.

Lawyers will offer insights that may prove very useful in the long run to a start-up. In addition to offering legal services, they can be a marketing tool for your business as they speak of your business to potential clients.

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Investment Opportunities in Nigeria: The Top 4 sectors

The past year has been one of economic progress for Nigeria, with Africa’s largest economy managing to crawl back into growth territory in the second quarter of 2017.

The Nigerian government has realized that they need to make the country as attractive and lucrative as possible for offshore investors to bring their capital, skills and business trade into the country.

The need to develop the Nigerian economy offers lucrative potential returns Click To Tweet

One way is to provide tax holidays to “pioneer companies,” who are engaged in the production of export goods, establishing new industries, or expanding production in vital sectors of the economy.

Pioneer companies that are eligible under the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act can enjoy an income “tax holiday” for a period of up to five years. In addition, pioneer companies enjoy other benefits such as the exemption from withholding tax on dividends paid out of pioneer profits.

Here’s a look at investment opportunities to consider:



Nigeria’s population is an estimated 186 million people. This population suggests a massive potential workforce as well as a consumer base. For a manufacturer this is an ideal scenario, not only do you have potential customers, but you also have potential employees.

The Nigerian government is eager to expand the manufacturing capability in the country, and to that end, they are offering incentives for manufacturers that are able to locally source their raw materials, for example, agro-allied manufacturers processing foodstuffs such as fruit juices and vegetable oils.

Any manufacturing industry that provides multiplier effect solutions for the economy is also looked upon favorably. An example of this would be machine tools, flat sheet metal, and spare parts manufacturing.

Finally, any investment in research institutes, especially those that focus on adaptive research and commercialization of local inventions, is looked upon favorably by the Nigerian government.

An organization that has seen the potential in Nigeria is US-based software trainer @Andela Click To Tweet



Nigeria is one of the fastest growing internet users in the world. According to Statista, a global statistics company, there are approximately 76.2 million Nigerian internet users as of 2017. This is an increase of nearly 50 percent from the 2013 figure of 51.8 million.

There are millions of Nigerians who are interested in involving themselves in Information Communications and Technology Services (ICTS).

This new economy does not require someone to be in a specific location to provide the service needed, rather they can be located anywhere in the world.


An organization that has seen the potential in Nigeria is US-based software trainer – Andela. The company offers learning programmes for young adults who are wanting to become computer programmers.

Nigeria is one of the fastest growing internet users in the world Click To Tweet

The learning programme is a 2-year practical course where the learner interacts with companies around the world and assists them in building programmes, websites, and mobile applications.

After the conclusion of the programme, the learner is able to provide remote programming support to companies that they have built a relationship with.

By tapping into the underdeveloped skills of the Nigerian youth, there are countless opportunities for new economy companies to develop technology leaders of the future in Nigeria and in the rest of Africa.

The Nigerian government has set up incentives to help modernize and mechanize their agricultural industry Click To Tweet



Nearly one-third of all employed Nigerians find themselves working in the agricultural sector, which is one of the country’s main foreign exchange earners.

The Nigerian government has set up incentives to help modernize and mechanize their agricultural industry. Not only will locally grown foodstuffs be promoted on behalf of the investor, business and enabling companies may receive the pioneer company status and qualify for tax incentives.

Subsidies on fertilizer and zero import duties on raw materials needed to manufacture livestock feed are some of the other incentives to attract investors to this sector.

Another is the release of grants from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council for research and development that leads to the greater domestic use of Nigeria’s raw materials.



The need for skilled tradespersons, computer programmers, and agricultural workers will only increase in demand as Nigeria transforms its economy and becomes an international economic power.

At present, there is an opportunity for private education to offer specific programmes that are in demand in the country. Nigeria is a country with vast underemployment and by offering distance learning or night schools, there is potential for strong investment returns in for-profit education.

As an example, one can look at the success of Curro in South Africa, which began as a private for-profit primary and secondary schools but now even has a post-secondary offering. If a Nigerian model were created that focused on skills development, the potential returns could be very lucrative.

Nigeria is in the fortunate position to offer investment opportunities to both local and international persons and companies. The need to develop the Nigerian economy offers lucrative potential returns for those looking to invest in the above sectors, including manufacturing and private education.

These areas are in some ways interconnected, and by increasing the investment and development in one area, there is tremendous potential for spillover into the other, sectors.



Food security: How Cassava is Positively Impacting Smallholder Farmers in Mozambique

Judging by its brown bottle packaging, Mozambique’s Impala beer looks just like any other beer on the market. Not until you have smelt it, will you realize it has an unmistakably mysterious taste to it.

Although it is brewed like a typical beer, Impala is made from cassava, a root vegetable that grows in tropical areas.

DADTCO has partnered with one of the world’s largest breweries, to create cassava beer Click To Tweet

There’s a quiet cassava revolution in Africa. Organizations and government are realizing the plant’s impact on empowering smallholder farmers in Mozambique and developing rural communities.

Mozambique is among the key players at the forefront of the growing buzz around cassava, having found a way to farm and process the plant on a large scale.

At the heart of this development is the Dutch Agriculture Development and Trading Company (DADTCO). The company has developed a mobile processing factory that is able to process the crop into cake and starch flour.

DADTCO’s invention has changed the perception around cassava and the way the crop is grown and processed.  It has also helped empower smallholder farmers in Mozambique, whom the company buys cassava from.

This breakthrough technology, they say, “bridges the gap between smallholder farmers and large food companies.”

The market for cassava is on the rise, as more uses for the crop are being discovered Click To Tweet

With the company sourcing the starchy root from more than 7,000 smallholder farmers, DADTCO’s innovation is enhancing food security in Mozambique, while also creating far-reaching job opportunities for rural farmers.

Better revenue streams are created and tens of thousands of dollars per month are injected into the local economy.

At the beginning of the initiative, farmers in Mozambique used to sell an average of 1.5 tonnes of cassava roots per year, but now the number has more than tripled.

This indicates the benefits of a steady market for those who grow the tropical plant. Before the initiative, cassava was nothing more than a subsistence crop for many smallholder farmers.

But now, with rising profits, it has turned into a cash crop.

With rising profits, cassava has turned into a cash crop. Click To Tweet

With cassava being the second-most consumed source of carbohydrates after maize in sub-Saharan Africa, it was the time the crop was commercialized.

Due to it being a highly perishable product, commercializing it has always been tricky – until now.

The root vegetable has a high water content and needs to be processed within 48 hours after harvesting.

To solve this problem, DADTCO’s mobile factories process fresh cassava on the farm or nearby in the village, eliminating the costly need to transport it over long distances.

Now, farmers only have to harvest their cassava when the Autonomous Mobile Processing Unit arrives. Once fully processed, the cassava starchy meal can last up to six months.

The market for cassava is on the rise as more uses for the crop are being discovered. In Mozambique and Ghana, DADTCO has partnered with one of the world’s largest breweries, to create cassava beer.

This has replaced the popular ingredient, malted barley with cassava cake. The plant can also be processed into ethanol biofuel, syrup as well as flour for bread.

“Substituting expensive imports with local cassava products like wheat flour has the potential to create a stable income for millions of farmers in SSA,” says DADTCO.



Why Sustainability Makes Good Business Sense

You’ve likely heard of business “going green.” From installing solar panels on rooftops, utilising recycling bins, and switching off lights after hours, there are a number of ways both employers and employees can adjust their behaviour to operate in an environmentally responsible way.

But that’s just one part of building a sustainable business. Along with environmental well-being, it’s also about social impact and economic viability. This could include skills training for employees, and improving the quality of life in the communities in which you operate in.


Sustainability at What Cost?

There’s often a misconception that sustainability initiatives are expensive and will erode profits. On the contrary, it has shown to be beneficial for business owners from the bottom-line up.

Using the example of Egyptian agri-business SEKEM, that used biodynamic agricultural methods to start Egypt’s first organic farm in the middle of the desert forty years ago, a Harvard Business Review article titled ‘Making Sustainability Profitable’ offers three approaches for companies  to ensure their environmental efforts pay off financially:

  • Many, like Sekem, took a long-term view, investing in initially more-expensive methods of sustainable operation that eventually led to dramatically lower costs and higher yields.


  • Others have taken a ‘bootstrap’ approach to conservation: they started with small changes to their processes that generated substantial cost savings, which they then used to fund advanced technologies that made production even more efficient.


  • Some have spread their sustainability efforts to the operations of their customers and suppliers, in the process devising new business models that competitors find hard to emulate.

You don’t need to incur high costs upfront, but rather adopt a model that works with your available resources, and adapt it to your sector.

That’s exactly what AccorHotels set out to do when they launched their internal sustainability management system, dubbed Charter 21, which recommends over 60 actions hotels can take to reduce their environmental footprint.

The French hotel chain group, that operates in over a dozen African countries, commissioned two independent studies to assess the financial return on a number of their sustainability initiatives. The first study focused on the corporate social responsibility expectations of the hotels’ B-to-B customers, while the second provided a statistical analysis of the influence of several sustainable development indicators on profitability and guest satisfaction. Both revealed that the more a hotel invests in initiatives that reduce their environmental footprint, the more positive its paybacks are, both in terms of (1) reducing costs of water and energy for example, and (2) increasing revenues partly due to enhanced reputation and guest satisfaction.


Other key takeaways:

  • Sustainability should not be viewed as a cost to the business.


  • Highly visible sustainability initiatives can be a very effective way to differentiate a company in the minds of customers and strengthen customer relationships.


  • Formal programmes that include specific, measurable objectives and a framework for managing progress towards achieving them are critical to making sustainability a core part of doing business.

Another core part is getting the buy-in from staff members. One of the key actions of AccorHotels’ Charter 21 is training employees in environmentally friendly practices.


Fostering a Culture of Sustainability

By encouraging employees to follow sustainable practices, it could soon become a norm that has a lasting impact in the workplace and in their private homes. Think about something as simple as using energy-saving bulbs at office desk lamps, or utilising reusable glass instead of plastic cups at the water cooler. Consider the possible knock-on effect if this results in a conscious behavioural change where the employee now turns the household water geyser off when not in use, or ploughs biodegradable kitchen scraps back into the garden instead of disposing as waste.

It’s this way of sustainable thinking that lead a turtle conservationist at Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium to start an eco-rooftop garden. Initially meant to feed the facilities’ green sea turtles, it soon evolved into a lush garden of waterwise indigenous plants and herbs that is shared among employees. Not a drop of water is wasted here, with the vegetation being nurtured by the condensation from nearby air conditioners. The sustainable rooftop garden now also functions as an oasis for employees during break time complete with recycled artwork, and a worm farm that feeds off lunch scraps which in turn becomes fertilizer that can be ploughed back into the garden.

Nurturing Community-Based (Business) Partnerships

Sustainability relates to the future of your company and the broader community. Consider the impact of procuring goods and services from local businesses, or spreading your sustainability efforts to the behaviour of your suppliers and customers.

Kenya-based ICOSEED (Integrated Community Organisation for Sustainable Empowerment and Education for Development) have successfully nurtured a mutually-beneficial relationship with local farmers. Winner of the 2017 SWITCH Africa Green-SEED Awards, they buy banana stems from farmers, process it into balls of fibre, and then use them to produce (biodegradable) products such as bags and table mats. They even take it a step further by giving the by-product (slurry) back to the farmers to use for biogas or compost. ICOSEED factors in all three key tenets of sustainability in that they’ve accounted for environmental well-being by producing environmentally friendly products and promoting the use of slurry for compost and biogas digesters; social impact by providing job opportunities for stem transporters and extractors along with an alternative source of income for hundreds of farmers; and economic value.

The company now plans to Increase the number of farmers supplying banana stems from 400 to 9,000 by 2018, scale up the production capacity of banana fibre by buying new machinery, diversify the product range, and establish two new production sites in key banana growing areas.

ICOSEED has adopted a sustainability model that works with their available resources. They’re now able to reap the rewards by funding the advanced technologies that will increase their production efficiency, while also spreading their sustainability efforts to the operations of their suppliers. They encapsulate the ideal of a sustainable business, where environmental well-being, social impact and economic viability are obtained, demonstrating that sustainability indeed does make good business sense.


Photo Credits:

AQUARIUM: Two Oceans Aquarium – www.aquarium.co.za

SEKEM: www.sekem.com

ICOSEED: https://www.facebook.com/www.icoseedkenya.org/