Nnanke Essien is a visibility strategist and business transformation coach. She helps individuals with awesome ideas, products and services to get seen and found by their ideal clients.
She does this using a 5 step visibility building process to build an effective and efficient visibility roadmap. Nnanke believes that the path to success is littered with awesome but poorly marketed ideas, hence her mandate is to support businesses find this sure pathway.
She is a John Maxwell Certified coach, a HR professional and a visibility builder round the clock. She has been supporting start-ups and businesses since 2007 even through college.
Why is it important to stay visible?
If nobody knows you exist, nobody will buy from you. It’s really that simple, you must always find a way for your ideal clients to remember that you exist. We call it top of mind awareness. In other words, if at any point your client has a need, your brand name should be top of mind.
How can brands stay visible despite strong competition on social media?
Truthfully, social media isn’t going anywhere and the earlier business owners understand this and take ownership the better for brands. Firstly, to stay visible, brands must adhere to a stellar mindset.
Beyond this, brands need clarity on why they are in the business. This is in terms of the business mission, vision, values, identifying their business playing field (niche), their core message and their brand positioning on the value chain.
Brands also need clarity on their ideal clients. Who are the people whose lives and businesses will be transformed by virtue of the fact that this business exists?
Understanding the client’s exact needs, desires, challenges, what they need to transform, lifestyle, spending power and motivation is key to business visibility success.Finally, brands can also stay visible by authenticating their authority in the market. Having consistent, attractive and meaningful bio’s on their social media platforms can contribute to this. Their bio must contain relevant information on who the brand is.
Also, nurturing communities i.e groups, leveraging on content and becoming an information reservoir for clients can be a great way of authenticating authority. In all of these, consistency and building revenue generating models, systems, processes and assets are key to success and visibility.
What are your top three tips for business owners to incorporate into their brands?
Have a consistent brand voice and visual appeal that is easy for people to spot and recognize.
Focus on building relationships using KLT (Know, Like and Trust) techniques like live videos, Instagram stories, guest appearances et al.
How can women balance putting themselves out there while not appearing too forward?
Woman know what you want. Don’t do things out of compulsion or pressure. The woman you buy shoes from didn’t shy away from her calling, the woman who sells human hair didn’t shy away from her calling.
Recognize your hustle. Validate it! Look for a group of persons or coaches and mentors who can help you identify your hustle, find your sweet spot, stay there, flaunt it and own it.
What do you wish more entrepreneurs knew about today’s changing marketplace?
I wish they would spend more time actually researching than copying and wasting endless time doing idle and non-income generating activities. Behaviors are changing. The spending power of your ideal clients is changing. Algorithms on all the social platforms you are using are changing.
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.
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.
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.
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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