By Maple Dappa.
The question of whether you should write a business proposal or not is one that only you can ultimately answer, but I hope that the thoughts shared in this article will provide insights to guide you.
Let me first share an experience with you to lay the foundations and framework for my thoughts.
In 2020, a potential client requested a meeting with Mapemond Brand Consulting
They have been into oil & gas services and chemicals but wanted to diversify into the FMCG and e-commerce space.
They got a sole distribution deal with a foreign company to import certain products into Nigeria.
The task was to create a strategy that will be fully and seamlessly integrated into the parent company.
When we arrived at the meeting, the CEO handed over the proposal document of another competing firm to us. He said we should study it and come up with our own proposal of what we could do better. Due to the body language, we knew what was at play.
Typically, there are three different reasons why a client may request a proposal:
1. To get an articulated breakdown of what you can do for them and the cost implication.
2. To get you off their back.
3. To steal ideas from multiple sources and attempt to solve the problem by themselves.
This client belonged to category number 3.
The other firm did a great job with their proposal even though we had a far better edge when it came to distribution strategy, market penetration, access to resources, existing network, and brand strategy.
We asked the client what was his concern with the firm’s proposal, he was evasive with his response.
We wrote the proposal but withheld the key details and quoted higher than the other firm.
We were not keen to work with the client because the harmony needed between us and the client was already questionable from what we perceived and other pointers I can’t mention for confidentiality sake.
By the way, the other firm spent huge funds to do awesome graphic designs and top-notch printing of their proposal!
Several months have gone by and the project is yet to take off since the last we checked.
Anyway, if you have to submit proposals, don’t be desperate, read between the lines and protect your ideas.
Now to the question of whether you should write business proposals, note the following and decide for yourself.
1. Proposals are best for situations where you already have some form of contact with the client or you have an insider or a strong referral (except for instances where the procurement/contracting policy abhors such contact).
2. Unsolicited proposals are time wasters to a large extent, it’s best to invest more time in networking your way to the people you want to submit the proposal to.
3. If you are seeking sponsorship, get started with the project on your own first and gain significant traction with some level of media exposure. This is especially for NGOs and social impact ventures.
It works the other way round too, but give thought to these and apply as you deem fit.
Yes, we didn’t really answer the question, but if you ponder on the thoughts, you will decide what is best for you and your business.
In 2020, when we came across the report by Brand Africa on the Top 100 Most Admired Brands in Africa, we published an article stating that African brands had all it takes to do better but we needed to take branding more seriously.
You can read the article here: TOP 100 BRANDS IN AFRICA 2020
Two years later, African brands are proving us right as their share in the Top 100 Most Admired Brand in Africa 2022 published by Brand Africa increased from a two-time 13% to 17%.
We had 9 African brands in the first 50 brands and 8 African brands in the second 50 brands.
Taking into consideration that Africa and the world at large are still recovering and adjusting from the effects of Covid-19, it is commendable that Africa increased its share in the Top 100 Most Admired Brands in Africa from 13% to 17%.
In this category, we had 7 South African Brands (10th, 37th, 51st, 52nd, 64th, 65th, 87th), 4 Nigerian Brands (22nd, 32nd, 42nd, 75th), 1 Ethiopia (24th), Ghana (31st), 1 Zimbabwe (50th), 1 Kenya (63rd), 1 Uganda (72nd), and 1 Tanzania (86th).
In another survey of the Top 25 Most Admired Finance Brands in Africa, Africa was leading with a share of 68%, proudly headed by GTB of Nigeria. There were 8 South African brands, 5 Nigerian brands, and 2 Kenyan brands.
The next category is the Top 10 Most Admired Media Brands in Africa. It was led by South African DSTV, but sadly only 2 African brands were listed.
The last category that we will discuss here is the Top 20 African Pride Brands. It was led by Dangote (Nigerian) followed by Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia), MTN and DSTV (South Africa). This category had 4 non- African brands.
In conclusion, this 4% increase is commendable but African brands should not rest as we need to put in more work to take our rightful place as the leading brands in Africa.
Investments will range from a minimum of NGN500k to NGN5m or more depending on each business case.
Interested investors will indicate to ask questions, pledge funding amount, and engage further with any business that gets their attention.
Investors are individuals seeking to get their money working for them while making an impact on small businesses seeking to scale up. ROI will be short and mid-term.
Only one business owner will be in the room per time.
There are three selection stages and we are targetting just about ten finalists.
Written by Robinson Tombari Sibe (originally published on Facebook)
There was a time when the Apple iPod was the most desired gadget anyone could wish for. Gradually, it began to diminish in market dominance, until two days back when Apple announced the discontinuation of iPod production, after 21 years in the market. This was a classic case of creative destruction, for students of strategy.
Coined by Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, the term creative destruction refers to “the incessant product and process innovation mechanism by which new production units replace outdated ones.”
Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder was a master of this strategy. Not only did Apple’s rapid innovation creatively destroy other competitors’ products, but they also applied it to themselves as a survival strategy.
Apple knew that with the technological trends, iPod was going to suffer and lose the battle eventually. Competitors were already incorporating music download and play functions on smartphones and gadgets, and it was only a matter of time before iPod will lose its charm in the market.
Rather than wait for that moment when the competition will drive the iPod out of the market, Apple decided to creatively destroy it themselves, by using another innovation. This birthed the iPhone.
The iPhone had not just the capability to download and play millions of music but could do more. It was a mobile computing device, with internet connectivity and massive processing capabilities. Why have an iPod when your iPhone can do much more?
In the rapidly evolving technological landscape, you either innovate or die. iPod is dead, but it is gratifying to note that its funeral was not organised by “strangers”. In Africa, it is said that it is better for a child to bury his parent than the other way round. iPod died a fulfilled gadget. It was given a befitting burial by its offspring, the iPhone. It will be missed, but the music plays on through iTunes.
So long, iPod.
Photo Credit: Pexels.com
Our favourite synonym of the word branding is marking.
Marking on the surface level seems like the names, symbols, and physical attributes we use to identify one thing from another.
We see it in our villages how livestock owners mark their goats, chickens, etc. That is branding in its basic form.
We see it in the story of Eden how Adam marked the other creatures by name. What we know as a lion today could have as well been known as an ant if Adam named it so. That is branding in its basic form.
It is the same thing with the logos, colours, and designs on our phones, cars, gadgets, etc.
But then, marking goes beyond just physical attributes to internal characteristics.
Your voice is part of your mark.
Your belief system is part of your mark.
Your culture is part of your mark.
An Ijaw man cannot become an Ijebu man just by taking on the Ijebu tribal marks. There is more that defines an Ijebu person beyond the tribal marks.
An Asus laptop cannot become a Macbook by sticking an Apple logo on it.
A Keke napep cannot be Mercedes because one Keke Rider fixed a Mercedes Benz logo on it.
If no be Panadol, e no fit be like Panadol!
Some Chefs have a signature meal because of the mark they have given it (the recipe).
The Chinese and Japanese have an architectural system unique to them because of the mark they have given to it.
The face of the person in the image attached to this article is not clear but you can most certainly guess who it is…that is the power of a mark!
Points to note in summary:
1. Branding is the intentional marking of a product, service, city, person, etc
2. To give it a uniqueness and identity
3. That differentiates it from others and creates the right impression
4. In a manner that shapes the desired perception
5. And draws people towards it for patronage (as loyal customers, fans, tourists, etc)
The question for your business brand and even you as a personal brand is WHAT IS YOUR MARK?
Note: The mark is plural – the summation of everything internal and external that makes you different.
What makes you unique?
There are many bakers out there, what makes you different?
So many schools out there, what makes yours different?
Many hotels out there, what makes yours different?
A lot of service providers and contractors out there, what can stand you out?
Figuring it out may not be easy (we can help you), but it changes your course and yields better results once you get it right.
Take branding seriously.
We read the employment letter of a certain business some time ago and it sounded more like a court judgment sending someone to imprisonment.
No life in it, no line saying welcome, not to talk of the company’s vision and how new recruits fit into it. Basically, it’s a “this is what we employed you for, just come and do it daily and have your pay” kind of letter, not bad at all if that is how the business wants it.
However, we once had a discussion with the owner of the same business and she was lamenting how the employees weren’t diligent enough. They quit without prior notice a lot of times. She had lost a lot of good hands, “just like that”, and the process of rehiring for the same positions was draining.
Reading through the employment letters she issued, we saw exactly what the problem was for many other businesses. It’s the hiring process and how we onboard those we expect to “own the business”.
Many business owners don’t realize it, perhaps due to the prevalent job scarcity, but you also have to market your business to potential recruits, especially millennials and generation Z. You have to give them reasons why your business is a COOL place to work and WHY they should give their best to it beyond just earning their monthly pay.
Recruiting, motivating and retaining good talents is serious work. You don’t wish it into existence.
Written by Comfort Adebayo, Janefrances Ibezim, Esther Julius, and Blessing Kamanu.
The hotel industry is one of the many industries that has witnessed a lot of transformations in the past decades. Globally, there has been tremendous growth in the hotel industry and this has helped in promoting tourism to a large extent.
Before we go further, what is a hotel?
A hotel is commonly defined as an establishment providing accommodation, meals, and other services for travellers and tourists. A hotel is a place where one can sleep away from their home. This could be for a holiday, business purposes, or convenience when travelling for other reasons such as a hospital appointment in a different area. Hotels are also establishments that provide paid lodging on a short-term basis, which ranges from one night to a few weeks and even months. Hotels take all shapes and sizes and there are varieties of them found throughout the world today.
FROM WAY BACK…
The first hotel in the world named Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan was established in 705 AD in Japan but before that time, it was recorded that inns were opened by most people in different towns to accommodate and keep guests or travellers but it was mostly businessmen, travellers, and mail carriers that patronized these places as of then, because of the difficulties while travelling and safety too. These were predecessors to the modern hotel we have today.
The different technological, economic, and social development in the world around the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries led to huge changes in the hotel industry. The advent of leisure cruising that started with the formation of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company in 1822 led to growth in the hotel industry. The company started as the shipping line between European countries but grew quickly and cruised to other continents as well. Transatlantic liners made the travel industry richer and hotels more sought.
Travelling also became more accessible and appealing as a result of the industrial revolution that brought about regular but structured work, more income and more time off. The increase in the number of people travelling led to increasing in the demand for suitable hotels, and as their social statuses differed, the hotels were also created to suit the different social classes.
EVOLVING WITH TIME…
At the beginning of the 1800s, the Royal Hotel was built in London. Holiday resorts began to flourish along the French and Italian rivieras. In Japan, Ryokan guest houses sprang up. In India, the government-run Dak bungalows provided reliable accommodation for travellers.
Mivart’s Hotel opened in London in 1812 (later becoming Claridges), In 1822, in Venice, a certain Giuseppe Dal Niel transformed an old palace into a hotel and gave it his name, “Le Danieli”.
Tremont House in Boston, USA opened later in 1829 and it was an American architect Isaiah Rogers that designed and constructed this luxurious hotel in Boston, Massachusetts USA.
It was the first hotel with a private attached bathroom and lock on the doors. “Tremont Hotel” had set a benchmark for luxurious hotels in those days. It was the first hotel to have indoor plumbing with toilets and baths, as well as free soap (a tourist favourite) and a proper reception desk area that did more than just take payment.
The Holt Hotel in New York City was the first to provide its guests with a lift for their luggage.
The invention of trains and cars also contributed to the fast growth of the hotel industry because there was now an easier way for people to travel, visit friends, explore the world and also have fun at their leisure.
THE EMERGENCE OF MODERN HOTELS…
By the 1900s, there were many hotels around the globe. The hospitality industry had by this time expanded and also recorded continuous growth, and had more modernized hotels.
There were changes from Europe to America to Asia and the rest of the world.
The introduction of Funiculars (the ropeway) made high altitude mountains accessible, leading to the growth of many hotels in the Alpine ranges. Burgenstock and Giessbach are among the hotels in Switzerland that owe their existence to the development of the ropeways.
The two world wars, especially the second (1939-45) took their toll on the hospitality industry. The massive destruction caused by the war and the resulting economic depression proved to be a major setback to the travel business, but the post-war consumer boom brought some growth to the travel industry.
The 1950s brought the Club Mediterranean SA and this company was selling all-in holidays in exotic locations.
The coming of the jet aircraft in the 1960’s skyrocketed the evolution of the hotel industry.
International and even intercontinental travels were significantly shortened and that gave the visitors more time to explore their destinations and created income for the hoteliers. Passenger flights were now common, and throughout the years, became cheaper and available for wider traffic of travellers.
In 1983, the hotel real estate market came to life, more people were interested in building and buying hotels. The interest in creating more of them grew and hasn’t stopped growing ever since. That is why today we can choose from over 17.5 million guest rooms all around the globe.
One big move for the hotel real estate industry was the sale of the Intercontinental Hotels to the Japanese Seibu Holdings, Inc. by the Grand Metropolitan. It was one of the first major acquisitions that started the trend.
The inception of the Internet in the late 1900s also contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.
This global system of computer networks changed the World. It was the beginning of the hotel websites. Hotels could now promote themselves and as a result, gain more guests. Also, the guests could rate their stay and either warn other travellers or persuade them to go to give it a try.
It was easy for people to find the hotel they like, in the perfect location, and even make the booking without leaving the comfort of their own house. The birth of smartphones and tablets in the 21st century made the booking process even easier. People could now control almost every aspect of their journey from any place and at any given time. Each day new apps emerged, not only for the hotels and Online Travel Agencies but also to proffer innovative solutions for travellers and guests. They make trips easier and solve a myriad of problems.
The often-exaggerated expectations of guests in this present century have led to the creation of new hotel types. Modern hotels are bigger, more technologically advanced and even extravagant. You can now enjoy your stay in a designer hotel, an overwater bungalow or even an ice hotel or glass igloo. Recently capsule hotels are a novelty. These tiny rooms, called capsules or pods, are perfect for travellers seeking a cheap stay, without excessive luxuries.
We may actually observe a duality in the industry. With the rising popularity of both budget and luxury hotels. It is the answer to the division between the travellers. While some want to save as much as possible, others like to use their holidays as an excuse to splurge on anything they want.
We’ve discussed the past and present of the hotel industry, but what could be its future?
The answer is automation!
Machines will become a vital part of many hotels and with time we believe they will be crucial for their growth.
Today we can already see robots as receptionists and janitors They can give you fresh towels, bring your food, or greet you at the entrance. The hotel rooms themselves are also technically advanced, with voice detection devices and advanced electronics.
The only logical next step is the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is already happening in some top range hotels in places like Dubai. Although technology may probably not take over completely, it will be the major driver of future hotels.
We certainly look forward to what’s next for the hotel industry in the coming years.
Written by Veronica Johnson
In this competitive digital arena, businesses have to do everything in their capacity to stay at the top. When you are trying to establish a new brand in the market and extend your products/services, you need to be ready with plenty of things.
Today, creating a unique brand identity has become more important than ever. How would you make your brand get recognized in the market? Will you start a marketing campaign? Will you create a website to attract online traffic or try to engage your audience through social media?
Yes, yes, and yes, you have to do it all eventually. However, the first thing you need to do before starting anything is creating your company’s logo.
Undoubtedly a logo is the first point of contact for any brand, and it is meant to identify. Your logo must be something that makes your audience instantly recognize you in the crowd.
Let’s take the example of Audi’s logo-the iconic four intertwined rings. You don’t need Audi written along with the logo to understand it is an Audi car. Well, that’s the power of a logo.
What Is A Logo And Why Do You Need It?
A logo is basically a combo of text, images and sometimes animation. It is more of a symbolic representation of a brand that helps create an identity and attract customers.
A logo is the first impression of a company, and it has to be powerful. It should depict the core objective of the company, yet at the same time, it should be human-centric. Using emotion in logo design has also become a popular option for many companies to establish a human connection.
Without a logo, you would not be able to establish an identity in the market. Irrespective of the size, structure, and goal, every business needs a unique logo to stand apart. Without a logo, you will possibly get lost in the crowd, and all your efforts will go in vain.
#1 As Simple As It Can Be
You would not want your customers to get confused about your logo and not be able to register in their minds. If you want to make a lasting impact, you need to keep your logo as simple as possible.
You would notice that most of the successful and impactful logos in history are super simple. For instance, the single swoosh of Nike or the bitten apple design of Apple. These logos get instantly picked up in the crowd and become easy to remember.
Hence, simplicity should be the key ingredient while you are creating logo designs. Indeed, a simple design can depict your brand voice and become easily recognizable in the market.
#2 Make It Relevant
Apart from using simple text images and colors, relevance in your design is the most important characteristic. You cannot go with a design that is extremely opposite to what your brand does.
You need to communicate the personality and identity of your brand through the logo. Like the use of the right fonts and colors in the logo will compel the customers to connect with the brand.
For instance, if a company is selling kids’ toys, it should not create a logo with monochrome colors; they would need to use bright and multiple colors to depict the fun, energy and excitement of childhood.
Your logo is the visual anchor for your customer, and it is essential to make it relevant by adding appropriate font, symbols, texts, and colors.
Can you ever forget the logos of Windows, BMW or Starbucks? No, right? The designers have made these logos memorable for us, and that should be your next motive.
A key aspect of a successful logo is making the logo memorable. It should instantly register in your customers’ minds and stay there even after a quick glance.
Your aim should be to connect with customers and kindle their interest in the brand. When they are able to recognize and recall your logo, then it becomes instantly memorable.
You must use all the above-mentioned ingredients in the right way to make your logo stay afresh in your customers’ minds.
#4 Remain Timeless
A successful logo is something that remains relevant and fresh in the minds of your customers. Your logo should be timeless and remain effective for years and more.
The first instinct while designing a logo is to use current graphic trends, but it may not be effective always. You might have to redesign them in the future according to the changing scenario.
For instance, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola’s logos have remained unchanged all these years. These logos were timeless and able to connect with customers irrespective of the timeline.
Timeless logos generally include effective and quality ingredients. It does not focus more on quirky ideas that may easily get outdated. It should be timeless and unique.
#5 Versatile Like Anything
Last but not least, your logo must be versatile. It should be used in different varieties of formats and shapes. A logo that can be used in only one online size is not going to work.
Your logo must be flexible and expose your brand on different platforms. It should be compatible with printing resizing and ideal for different media.
Even your best logo can become useless if it shrinks or becomes illegible while resizing. The key is to keep it simple and save it in different formats.
The Bottom Line
Have you ever tried to shoot without a target? Running a company without a logo and expecting customers to pay attention to your brand is exactly the same way.
You cannot expect your customers to recognize your brand in the cut-throat competition without having a digital identity. Right, when you brainstorm ideas for your business, you need to formulate a logo design that will work amazingly for your brand.
Creating a logo is not a walk in the park. You need to consider some important factors to create an impact. The above mentioned were 5 must-have characteristics of a logo that you should keep in mind.
Veronica Johnson likes reading, writing and exploring through her travel. With her freelance guest writing, she hopes to achieve both her passion and career in online content marketing. She writes on topics like business, advertising and digital marketing.