Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli: Storytelling can Change your Business

Chidindu Mmadu-Okoli is a healthcare provider, content creator, and editor. She is the founder and chief storyteller of Story4Strategy.

Story4Strategy is a small business borne out of the passion to help individuals and small businesses create the most compelling brand narratives that connect them with their target clients or ideal audiences.


How did Story4Strategy originate?

Story4Strategy did not come to me by chance. I was inspired by my various experiences from the 13 years where I worked as a secretary, writer, editor, PR officer, and as an inbound healthcare marketing executive.

Currently, the business offers content creation, content editing and content marketing strategy services for individuals, startups and small businesses.

Until the lion learns to tell its stories, history will always glorify the hunter - African Proverb Click To Tweet

Why is storytelling a key component of business in today’s world?

Any business currently operating without a storytelling strategy is like the lamp hidden under the table. The question is, how can any voiceless business make the desired impact?

Any modern day business seeking to build visibility or awareness, influence, and profits must first connect to the minds of their ideal audiences. The only way to achieve this connection and
to build customer-centered relationships is through genuine and persuasive brand narratives.


How can our Motherland Moguls incorporate storytelling into their businesses to give them an edge?

Africa’s history or backstory has propelled a lot of young women to fearlessly pursue lofty dreams that they are neither afraid of nor ashamed of. But, how do we validate these efforts

Young women building great businesses on this continent should see business storytelling as
the tool for showcasing Africa. They can use written, visual or spoken content with calls-to-action, to tell persuasive brand stories. Though, they have to ensure they develop a unique content strategy that aligns with their business goals.

Secondly, through effective use of internet, social and traditional media, women can constantly connect, engage, convert and nurture potentials who will become loyal followers of their brands. Through all this, we inspire, educate and drive positive change.

Attention is the new currency. You have to tell it, to sell it - @iamchidindu Click To Tweet

Can storytelling be applied to young ladies building their careers? 

Of course, it can! In this day and age, where Thought Leadership is ever-thriving, young career women ought to see storytelling as a means to stand out.

Also, young women growing in their careers have a lot of stories to tell based on their gifts, skill sets, knowledge, and experience. Therefore, storytelling becomes a wonderful tool for grooming other young women who want to follow their paths.

As long as someone is telling stories that are connecting and helping people, they will always remain relevant.

 

What careers can young women find in storytelling? 

Storytelling is broad. Business Storytelling and Content Marketing are just the tip of the iceberg. Most of these career paths are wrapped around (brand) journalism, mass communications, theatre and filmmaking, arts and literary studies, information and communication technology.

Young women can then take up specific roles such as content creator, editor, speechwriter, graphic designer, film and even research writer among many others. These different roles allow them to solve problems and create value.

What excites you about using storytelling as a strategy? 

The first thing that excites me is that storytelling is human. I do not need to go develop complex machines as well as specific instructions to give them. It’s a way to connect effortlessly with people and travels faster than formulas or data.

Wrapping data in a story makes it easier for people to understand a difficult concept. After all, people think in stories and not figures.

The great thing about storytelling it that it’s transgenerational. It’s a strategy that worked for our forefathers and still works in the business world. Businesses can use storytelling to change people’s attitudes about a product and even the culture.


What advice would you give young women trying to carve a niche for themselves? 

Every dream is valid! You are the one who validates the dream. When you are persistent enough to begin producing results, others will then start to validate you. So, start small, aim limitlessly. Nothing good comes cheap.

If you show up to your life’s path, life will show up for you - @iamchidindu Click To Tweet

 


Does the intersection of helping women live their best lives, and telling their stories through the media, events, technology, and data-driven thinking sound A++ to you? If so, think about joining us at the SLA HQ. See Job openings here.

Scale your Business in 2018 with Midridge

Midridge offers bespoke solutions to small and medium scale businesses who are looking to master their financials, make quantum leaps in their business and need to make pivotal and strategic decisions, driven by financial indices.

They are positioned to help businesses maximize their economic potentials, and deliver enhanced, long-term value to their stakeholders. 

The financial advisory offerings help business owners to find a solution to business finance problems, create the desired business transformation that helps them scale in profitability and operate more effectively.

Finance expert, business strategist, freelance writer and managing consultant of Midridge International – Abiola Adediran, shares some insights and tips on how to scale your business in a new business year.


 

Deep down, you have a bigger vision for your business and yourself, as an entrepreneur and woman of impact. Your smart, bold choices and hard work have paid off with the business of your dreams.

But when you get a moment to reconnect with your big vision, you see the potential for your profits and impact to be so much more. You were meant to lead. But the realities of running a business, and juggling the offline demands of life have kept you at status quo for far too long.

Behind the scenes, there are essential shifts that must happen in order for you to grow., and your calendar and time management systems need a serious reboot.

You might want to leverage a team, but you’re spinning your wheels when it comes to hiring, delegating, and leading others well. Other people manage your money, but your black-and-white financial picture is a blur, and those “tape-and-glue” systems you set up on a whim are now costing you time and money.

If you’re honest with yourself, you haven’t fully stepped into the driver’s seat in critical areas of your business.

As women, we have enough on our plate. Stepping into the “driver’s seat” sounds like more work and even less “me” time.

In my experience working with women entrepreneurs, I have come to realize that what stops women from being true leaders is not a lack of drive or determination to step into that higher role. Instead, it’s letting the same old systems and routines run you and your business–which keeps you satisfactorily underperforming, year after year.

It’s no wonder so many women entrepreneurs shy away from taking on the title of CEO!

But until you say YES to working in your genius as the visionary leader of your business, you will remain stuck in the status quo.

You have to make a very conscious decision: Either let the business run you around in circles and into the ground, or, take ownership, and really adopt the mindset of a leader.

You need to truly step into the driver’s seat of your business, you MUST

  • Let go of the same old systems and routine that are not working for your business.
  • Get aligned with your vision as a leader, entrepreneur, and woman of impact.
  • Get strategic and open yourself up to the big 360° view of your business.

All successful women at the top of their game today know that THIS is their ticket to freedom.

As you map out and implement your strategy for the year, you will need tactical inputs to help you stay grounded and connected to important challenges and considerations, uncover profit gaps in your business and proven tactics and processes to help close those gaps, work smarter and double your productivity, to think strategically and stay focused on the big picture.

As a CEO, it is important that you identify the main business drivers to pay attention to, in order to increase cash flow.

What’s really happening in all areas of your sales cycle—are you maximizing cash flow or are there bottlenecks?

How do you weigh out your current opportunities and determine which ones align well with your long-term strategy, and which ones are better left alone?

Your commitment to scaling your business in 2018 and stepping into a higher level of profitability and business success requires that you do a business diagnosis, evaluate your strategy, understand your financials, maximize your profits and identify means of creating consistent cash flows in your business.


Sponsored post

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.


Got an article you’d like to share with us? Share your story with us here.