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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Nomvelo Chalumbira: There are endless possibilities available to millennials now than there previously were

‘Lazy…entitled…’? Enough with the name calling!

Because some bold young ladies are challenging the way some describe millennials, and Africa is already celebrating their work!

Nomvelo Chalumbira, 23, recently graduated from Wits University where she studied journalism and is currently interning at Reuters Africa.

She is also the co-founder of Melenial Media, a digital-content platform created by two young black women, for young black women, with the aim of empowering them and supporting the great work they are doing in different spheres of society.  

What started as a blog is growing into a great media brand, and with a prestigious award already on their shelf, we thought we should get into the psyche of this aspiring media mogul, and also asked her to share some of her work with us.


What made you decide to start early, co-founding Melenial Media while still studying?

I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do after university and felt that my degree had not prepared me for the job market, but I was always interested in media, and after doing a blog with my friends for a year, I wanted to start something that represented me and other black millennial women.

My passion was to be a part of the change of the media landscape in South Africa and not rely on building a career at already-established media companies.

In my third year, my current partner and I saw a huge gap in the market of voices of millennial women of color, and thus Melenial Media was founded.

There is no set path to success Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millennials have been called many (not so great) names, such as ‘the Me, Me, Me Generation”, as expressed in an article by a reputable magazine. What are your thoughts about this?

Times are very different and things are being done very differently. Many traditional industries have been disrupted and altered to suit the needs of the current generation.

For instance, the media industry is becoming more digital and fast-paced. We must all keep up with the new.

As an article in the Atlantic put it very well, “every generation has been a me, me, me generation”, so what is new?

How did you go from blogging to having an award winning media brand? What drives you as an entrepreneur?

It hasn’t been easy! Building a business has taught me discipline and perseverance, especially juggling studying full-time and doing Melenial. But, I absolutely love what I do and having the privilege to do what I love every day is a great blessing.

That has helped me get through the tough times, knowing that the reward is sweeter than the sweat. We try our best to be consistent and put out the best content.

Entrepreneurship is challenging but I have a great family support system. What’s even more exciting is being able to be a part of the advancement and empowerment of black women.

Please share some of your photojournalism work with us:

 

More Than a Barcode: Like identity, our sense of place is fluid; it changes as the place changes and as we change. One’s sense of place becomes part of their identity, and one’s identity affects the ways we define and experience a place. Therefore in the construction of identities, part of what one does is to instill place with meaning by attaching memories and experiences to the place.

 

Serene yet Strong: Mammy Setshogo fulfilling her regular duties of looking after and running a tavern household in Soweto. Here she is washing the household’s clothes and she looks serene, regal, strong and beautiful whilst doing a mundane chore.

 

 

 

How does Melenial Media aim to empower millennials and change such narratives about them?

Melenial Media showcases a diverse range of women doing great things in their respective fields. We are breaking down the stereotype and notion that there is one type of black woman.

The content you find on our site is interesting, fresh and relatable – not only to millennials but to any generation. We showcase that there is no set path to success.

Melenial Media shows that anything is possible if you believe enough in your vision.

We are breaking down the stereotype and notion that there is one type of black woman - @nomvelo_c Click To Tweet

From the work you have done so far with millennials, what potential do you think they have to make Africa even greater?

There are endless possibilities available to Millennials than there previously were. This makes the potential to do great things even greater.

With information, access, and opportunities available at our fingertips, millennials are creating their own opportunities and path.

Africa is a wealthy goldmine of opportunities and it’s all about seizing the moment and just going for it. And that is exactly what millennials are doing. They are not afraid to take a chance and create their own realities that suit them.

Africa is a wealthy goldmine of opportunities and it’s all about seizing the moment and just going for it. Click To Tweet

You won the ‘2016 Top Youth Culture Blog in Africa’ award in such a short space of time. What does the award mean to you and Melenial Media?

It was a humbling milestone to have reached in such a short time. It has made us realize that we are creating a sustainable business that is making a difference and contributing positively to society.

What we have created is something quite relevant in the current South African media landscape. We have started something unique, which I am extremely proud of.

...anything is possible if you believe enough in your vision. Click To Tweet

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Traits to Consider Before Settling on a Business Partner for your startup

You have been working for five years, in this time you have set out a plan to help you become a Motherland Mogul. The plan is getting into the business. You have gone as far as saving up for a couple of years to finance your to be start-up.

Recently, you have been toying around with various business ideas, the idea that encompasses both your passion and need to make some extra cash on the side wins.

You have looked at the various ways you can implement this business idea and realised you need a partner to do so. This could be because you are a good accountant but for the business to be a success you need a partner who will be the face of the business.

Or you are the sassy lady who is good at communication and drawing in the customers, and a manager is needed to make sure all that money you are raking in is properly managed. So currently the idea and the money are in place the only thing that remains undone is getting a business partner on board.

What are the things that you should consider to ensure you end up with the right person as a partner in your business?

Sharing the Vision of the business.

At the beginning, the business is usually just an idea. If implemented correctly, it could impact your lives and those of your clients tremendously in a positive way.

The person or people you choose to work with as partners in the business must own the vision of the business as much as you do. If your partner does not agree with you on the levels to which you want to take the business. They will always have negative vibes on the job that will result in your business losing money.

A partner is part of management, and if they are pessimistic with regards to the business, the employees will notice and get demoralised. The vision is the business. It’s what positions you strategically against competitors.

It is thus a prerequisite that before you decide to partner with someone on a business, be in sync on where you see the business going to in three months’ time or in five years’ time.

Honesty and Transparency

Honesty is a virtue that is a must-have in business. Individuals who are shrewd and unscrupulous ruin your business. You could have been saving for a really long time to start off this business or you got a loan from your bank to get it running.

Therefore, you cannot afford to lose the money or destroy your business name. It is therefore necessary to vet the person you intend to partner with. Inquire into the person’s character from others who have worked with them prior to you considering to partner with them.

If the feedback is positive you have a partner. If not, find your business train another station to disembark, as this one is a definite NO!

Hard work and Resilience

Start-ups are a mountain to climb on their own. The faint-hearted cannot survive this climb. Setting up a business from scratch is not a walk in the park. A partner will share in the business profits. This means they have to put in the work and the time needed to get the business to the top in your chosen field.

There are qualities that you will compensate for each other but working hard and smart is not one of them. One could be unquestionably talented but if they never take time to create and get their skills or work to the market no one will ever know of their talent.

Moreover, if you partner with a lazy person you will shoulder the whole burden of the business which beats the logic of having a partner in the first place.

Resilience is also key in your partner. Quitters run at the first sight of trouble. With new businesses, you will meet challenges that you never anticipated at the start of your journey. This will not mean that you quit.

Overcoming this challenges is exactly what you will need to do to solidify your position in the market.

Want your business to break out? Create a whole new market

Uber Woman Driver

As entrepreneurs already know, finding clients can be a long, frustrating and expensive process. When you have little or no brand recognition, you have to work so much harder to get noticed in the market. I recently read in Entrepreneur Magazine, that “it is so important to prioritize future-minded strategy over short term opportunism”, and I completely agree with this.

So what does this mean for a young woman who wants to set her business apart? To me it means that this is the time to look for new business opportunities which typically haven’t been as welcome or open to women. While we may be more familiar with industries like beauty and fashion which are easier to start from home, developing a future-minded strategy requires us to look at opportunities beyond ourselves such as construction and heavy industries. It is with such opportunities that we must understand that the only limitations we now have, are those we hold on as truth in our own minds.

Being in the industrial sphere does not even always mean that you would have to get dirt under your fingernails; the takeover of technology in almost every business sector has opened up so many doors that the line to what is possible, and impossible has become almost invisible. Many entrepreneurs and CEO’s know that competing head-to-head with other entities can become daunting and cutthroat, more so when markets are slow and quite flat. All leaders in any business would agree that if there’s an easier alternative to get out of the head-to-head competing, and instead find a clear opportunity that has not yet been tapped; they would opt for that direction. In a world with hundreds of thousands of different products & services, innovation has become central to the survival of any new of mature business.

Creating new markets for your entity requires just that, INNOVATION’.

An article published by Harvard Business Review titled ‘Creating new markets’ stated that,

‘Most companies focus on matching and beating their rivals, and as a result their strategies tend to converge along the same basic dimensions of competition. Such companies share an implicit set of beliefs about “how we compete in our industry or in our strategic group.” They share a conventional wisdom about who their customers are and what they value, and about the scope of products and services their industry should be offering. The more that companies share this conventional wisdom about how they compete, the greater the competitive convergence. As rivals try to outdo one another, they end up competing solely on the basis of incremental improvements in cost or quality or both.’

So, the first thing to understand about creating new markets is that it requires a different pattern of strategic thinking. Instead of looking within the accepted boundaries that define how we compete, entrepreneurs should look systematically across them. By doing so, you can find unoccupied territory that represents a real breakthrough in value.

Let’s have a look at UBER, a company that, instead of buying a fleet of cabs and competing head-to-head with other cab companies, decided to do something completely different. The founders of UBER could have innovated and stopped at how they could get hybrid cars as part of their strategy or maybe even offer more comfortable vehicles with WIFI connection and well-trained drivers. Instead, the founders looked at how to make the process easier for customers and developed a tech friendly solution that provides lower costs through accurate monitoring of the distance travelled and drivers trained to a standard level of service. 

By looking at the problem and the industry from another angle, they have created an entire market for themselves and disrupted an entrenched industry that had little innovation over the past 50 years. I doubt any of the UBER founders had ever driven a cab for a living or dreamt of being a cab driver. However they were able to capitalize on this opportunity because those who had been in that industry were very comfortable with the same old way that they had been operating for years. They couldn’t see the way technology could disrupt the industry and they missed the opportunity. 

When thinking about creating a new market the popular question “What are my competitors doing?” should immediately be followed by the question “What should my competitors be doing?” Or more bluntly, how can I bring those who could be my head-to-head competitors to my mercy?

If you already have a product line, maybe look into a second generation product to help the financial standpoint of the company by creating a new market altogether. Finding secondary marketing can be as easy as adjusting packaging. Look at Coca-Cola or Kellogg’s, these companies have an array of products which aren’t worlds apart where taste or ingredients are concerned. Exhibit A would be the much loved amongst women market, the Special K cereal. Special K promises health benefits & sells fitness indirectly to us and what woman doesn’t want to be fit or at least healthy? Then have a look at Coco Pops, same company, different branding, a bit more sugar and even a cartoon character to attract the kids market. 

All these have proven to me that as an entrepreneur, your perspective seldom matters above that of the market. You may as the entrepreneur see things ‘Ok as they are’, but one thing you should always bare in mind is that you’re not selling these to yourself, so get into the mind of the market. Think the unthinkable.

Now here’s the challengeGo back to your businesses. Identify your ‘old ways of doing things’ and see how you could catapult yourself to being an industry leader by offering an entirely new way of doing business. Don’t lose sight of your original product or service but explore ways that you could make a similar product that’s targeted at a whole new market.

A new market demographic could be a simple as age group, gender or even race. Start innovating. Research how you could infuse technology into your new or existing business. Technology is on the rise, you may just be a tech pioneer in the industry you’re in; simply by understanding the challenges faced by your sector counterparts.

Remember that in order to adjust your perspective, you must see through the eyes of the consumer. Seek to address a problem and people will pay you for solving their problems.