Vera Adu Amani started her fashion company with no capital, no showroom and no PR services. All she had was a vision, talent and a voice which she used as a strong marketing tool on social media to build her brand.
As the face of Adu Amani Klodin, she used her hairstyle (popularly described as Adomi bridge) to promote her brand at the 2015 Chalewote Arts Festival. This hairstyle went viral and led many clients to her company.
After this great exposure, Vera’s brand story has been used as a case study in Professor Ato Quayson’s book “Globalization of Oxford Street”. She also won the 2015 urban designer of the year at the West African Fashion Awards; has gained recognition as influential designer in Africa and is currently a mentor/judge at the Ghana Coalition entrepreneurship leadership challenge.
How did you discover social media as a great marketing tool?
When I started the company, I had nothing! I had no money, no showroom, no team of marketers working for me. All I had was a vision, talent and a voice so I started sharing my work online just to showcase what I could do.
As I connected with many people who reacted positively to my work, I became more active on the social media platforms. That was when I realized that social media is easy and a cheaper way to reach more people.
After this realization, I equipped myself by reading and researching on digital marketing strategy and other social media materials to brand my company online.
I then created my own style, my own platform to inspire, educate my followers and promote other brands.
After your discovery, what steps did you take to use social media to build your brand?
The only way your work speaks for itself is if someone is listening. When it comes to business you need to make some noise to get your message across so I started making so much noise about my work to get the attention needed.
The steps I used to build my brand are as per below;
- I chose a memorable brand name which is easy to remember, pronounce and spell. I used the name on all of my social media networks. This makes it easy for followers to search and find my company.
- I repositioned myself, developed my voice and built my social media presence. I focused on one network (Facebook) which worked for my brand from the beginning since I didn’t have a team working for me.
- I adapted a social media marketing strategy plan. Thus a monthly calendar list where I created features like Facebook trade.
- I used visual marketing like videos and photos to promote my work. I engaged storytelling which has always been my number one key. It is one thing describing a product and another selling a product.
- I shared and commented on interesting articles, works by other people and trending issues.
- I asked questions; read and learnt from others especially brands/people I look up to. This was to help me distinguish myself from the others.
- I also engaged my followers, answered their questions, expressed my gratitude to them and sorted their opinions on things. I used their opinions to create content which they shared with their friends.
- I learnt to communicate with my followers effectively. For instance; I can’t use the same language and tone [contents] I use on Facebook /Instagram for Linkedin followers.
- What you say on social media will go a long way to affect you so I learnt to let certain comments roll off my back. You should know when to shut up.
Which marketing tool skyrocketed your brand?
I will say my hairstyle to the 2015 Chalewote Arts festival popularly described as Adomi bridge skyrocketed my brand. The plan was to look different, unique, to stand out, and have fun.
As the face of my brand, I take every opportunity to promote my brand so the Chalewote Arts festival was a great place to showcase my work. I did not think the hairstyle will get such attention but it did and since then, my brand has been on the lips of many people.
How has social media affected your company’s growth?
Everything that I am now and have now was gained through social media. Through social media, my brand has gained exposure, income, clients, jobs and followers.
Social media boosted my brand visibility, and boosted my self-esteem personally. My brand was unknown but now I don’t have to introduce myself anymore, there is this phrase I usually use; ‘Google my name’.
Social media has connected me to people that I wouldn’t have been able to meet in real in life.
Now that your brand has gained the exposure you wanted, what is next?
Well, my brand has gained digital exposure but not physical exposure so my team and I are working on traditional marketing and building relationships outside the internet.
I also want to develop, expand and own a successful fashion design business. Not just a onetime wonder but a sustainable, profitable fashion design company.
I am hoping to rewrite the African story. When a person thinks of Africa, it shouldn’t be a story of slaves, monkeys, ugliness or violence, it should be positive. Beautiful kente shoes/bags by Adu Amani should come in mind.
So I will say I am working on making the brand a vehicle to communicate the beauty of Africa to the world through fashion. I want to leave positive digital footprints.
What is the most outrageous marketing tool you had to use to get your followers attention?
I have used many funny strategies but the funniest was the one that skyrocketed my brand. This is the Adomi bridge hairstyle. I knew I would get some attention but did not expect the photos going viral.
The hairstyle attracted both positive and negative reactions. I was made fun of when the photos went viral. Some comments were very mean and hurtful but I joined in the fun and used it as an opportunity to promote my brand. This had many people sharing my brand all over social media.
I never thought the bridge on my head would gain such massive audience but it did and was worth it.
Your Adomi bridge hairstyle was imitated by many people at the 2016 Chalewote Arts, how do you feel about it?
I feel very inspired. It makes me know that I am an influencer and whatever I do affects other people so I am more responsible for others and not just myself.
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