November comes with so many pointers; like the slight signs of harmattan reminding you that the year is almost gone, the early signs of Christmas whispering to you about upcoming festivities and most crucial is the Black Friday rush informing you about all the things you need to shop for. At the sound of it, the crowd literally goes wild! When lots of people flood into malls and over surf the internet just to get products at reduced prices, then you can bet the Black Friday promos have begun.
For most consumers, it is the season of ‘no dulling’ as they try to take advantage of this period, grabbing as much products as they can while the prices are still slashed. Some customers practically anticipate for periods like these when they could get more with little cost.
However, there is a twist to the proposed promos as some customers display their dissatisfaction on their social media platforms. In particular, some referred to the promos in the largest mall in Port Harcourt, SPAR, as scam. Most customers had gone hoping to get some products for a lesser amount only to be told otherwise at the counter and as expected, their disappointment knew no bound. During a visit to the mall, we approached a couple of customers and one of them claimed she observed that the prices of some products were raised a few months before Black Friday began and then slashed down to the original price when the promos started.
Due to the thread of bad report about the SPAR Black Friday deals from some customers, the Mapemond team thought it wise to hear the side of the management at SPAR shopping mall. Speaking to one of the in-house staff, who said they always kept their words and would never put out a promo they wouldn’t adhere to. Though he mentioned that sometimes they could make the physical changes on different aisles, and then the systems retain the previous prices of the products. He said all a customer needed to do was to lay complaints regarding the situation and be rest assured that there would be refunds.
Following the outcome of events, a few consumers have concluded that the mall is not trustworthy since they breached their promises. Nevertheless, the mall remains filled with flocks of customers who continue to enjoy the rush of excitement that accompanies Black Fridays.
Well, having heard from both sides, we can’t help but draw some insights about how bad publicity can spoil many years of good reputation of any brand. However, we believe that if a brand is built firmly on a solid foundation of some core values, such as integrity and transparency, then regardless of any bad report, the firm will definitely pull through and stand tall. When core values are strongly held by the organisation, customer’s trust grows and is sustained. This is because most customers feel safer with your brand if you have remained consistent in words, actions, products and services you rendered over the years.
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From the well sliced Nibbles’ bread to the full Market Square loaf and down to the new Dome’s dough, consumers have a lot to keep their taste buds going. The flooded bread market continuously serves its consumers with different varieties to choose from. Whether it is sliced or whole, one thing most consumers can’t resist is bread oozing with freshness.
Since its emergence in our society, bread is one staple food that has gotten itself rooted in our homes, offices and eateries; the classic breakfast meal. Different consumers like their bread served in different ways; some with a cup of tea or coffee, some smoothened with butter, some eaten with a chilled drink, or dipped into wine for a holy communion, and the list goes on. Even though it is preferred and served in different ways, bread remains one of the most popular foods around the world. Due to its multiple serving options, the demand for bread keeps increasing daily. Most people, literally, can’t do without it.
While consumers continue to test the waters in search of the ultimate bread brand, bakeries are on a quest to make their brands stand out. In the city of Port Harcourt, the craving for bread never ceases and new bakeries keep springing up each passing day. Unlike the days where brands like Wilson Teamate and Gibsco bread had little or no competition asides the smaller and informal players, these days a new brand must have to push its way through the competitive market. Old guards like Big Treat and Genesis who have remained in the market for years keep dishing out the best off their ovens and rebranding their products to fit current demands.
Without much advertisement, brands like Nibbles keep gaining more consumers through word of mouth endorsements. For some brands, spreading their bread through vendors and supermarkets has been their market strategy; they could literally be found at every nook and cranny. While major malls like SPAR, Market Square, and the latest NEXT Supermarket in Trans Amadi, who never take their products out, keep pulling people to queue up in front of their oven waiting for the hot freshly baked bread. However, there is high tendency that new bread brands, like The Dome, would attract more consumers with their uniqueness and packaging concept. They started out with paper bags instead of the traditional nylon, but we noticed they no longer use the paper bags due to customers preference for the nylon packaging, according to them. Meanwhile, their bread is slightly more expensive than Market Square but customers seem unperturbed with the price difference as they troop in there to pick up loaves.
Though silent to consumers, the war between bread brands has steamed up as the demand keeps increasing. The signs are written all over the place and every corner we turn. At the Ada-George axis of the City, Market Square opened a branch which will definitely contend with Happy Food Bakery. At Peter Odili Road, Trans Amadi and environs, the war is going on between Market Square, Next Supermarket Bakery and the newest entrant, Dome Bakery and Creamery which is next door to Market Square. Meanwhile, the venerable Eastern Garden Bakery is very much in the market as well.
Whether they distribute their bread to shops in town or they bring the customers to their own outlet, each brand continues to search for ways to outshine the other with special ingredients. Some brands keep opening new stores at every corner. Still, some brands like Willson Teamate have faded into thin air and left memories of what a good old bread it was. Nevertheless, some brands keep fighting and conquering the battles in the bread world.
Whilst the bread war keeps getting louder among brands, there is still so much indecision among consumers. Some consumers remain faithful with the ones that suit their taste buds; others keep waiting to taste the newest bread in town, in search of the “supreme taste”. We are left curious about which bread brand the majority prefer and which of the brands could actually be crowned the King of Bread if at all that is possible.
Hey! We were playing in the office and made a little video on this bread matter, just for you….
So, what’s your take on this bread matter? Please drop a comment!
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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With over millions of consumers all over the world, the franchise chain; Domino’s Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery and Pink Berry Yoghurt continue to pitch their tent in major cities across the globe to spread their reach. From a small Pizza store in America fifty seven years ago, Domino’s Pizza has consistently broken new grounds and produced ripples of quality products and services all over the world.Just few days ago, the brand made its entrance into the garden city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria; this has made waves in the famous oil city. Although the brand is already established and running in other Nigerian cities like Lagos and Abuja and has stolen the hearts of many customers, the people of Port Harcourt simply could not contain their excitement that this beautiful bride now also dwells in their City. As the official hash tag puts it, #WeDonLandPH Following the impact they’ve made so far in several parts of the world, Port Harcourt is certainly in for some taste of awesomeness. Already from the first day, as soon as the doors were flung open, the restaurant began to receive a high traffic of excited customers. Everyone was eager to have a taste of this new rave in town.
The excitement here is quite amazing! 😋😋😋 sweet tooth gang be chilling 💃🏼
— Elsie Godwin (@ELSiEiSY) November 7, 2018
However, this may stir a shake-up for some pizza, ice cream and yoghurt outlets that have been in the city. While the market is still large enough for the different players, it seems to be gradually heading towards a case of survival of the fittest knowing that the arrival of Domino’s, Cold Stone and Pink Berry will most likely keep the older guys in the city on their toes. Check out the tweet reply from @aeleagu below:
Nice.. sweet tooth will have a rival😂😂😂
— Queen Esther (@aeleagu) November 7, 2018
What do all these signify to businesses? Consistent delivery of quality pays. Over the years, brands like Domino’s have been known for quality products, satisfactory service delivery, and the right ambience for customers. If you desire to have the crowd on your side, never take a break from delivering service that will excite them.
The right brand experience always has a magical effect.
When customers are satisfied with the quality of service a brand offers, they could pay any amount or travel across borders just to patronise that brand. This has been the case for Domino’s Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery and Pink Berry. They have been able to build a strong brand and Domino’s Pizza in particular is considered as the number one pizza brand in the world. It is safe to say they are living up to their expectation as an organisation and also that of their customers.
Will the excitement in Port Harcourt be sustained? Will Domino’s open more outlets in the City beyond the flagship outlet located at Olu Obasanjo Road in Port Harcourt? Well, time will tell. For now, it’s all fun and yumminess all the way into the yuletide!
See more reactions and photos below.
Cold Stone Creamery
Cold Stone Creamery
The new bride…
Array of options for tasty delight
Christmas came early!
— Elsie Godwin (@ELSiEiSY) November 7, 2018
Port Harcourt Mall has always been overpopulated during festive seasons, but it looks like the options are increasing with the arrival of the newest rave. See @Miz_Impeccable’s tweet below:
At least ph mall will breathe this festive season.
— Amara (@Miz_Impeccable) November 7, 2018
However, some persons feel slightly different about the diversion of crowd from Port Harcourt Mall and other places.
The place is not that big
— A + Visuals (@A_plus_visuals) November 7, 2018
There won't be sitting space funny enough!
— Obani sophia (@Perfectswitzy) November 7, 2018
Got thoughts or experiences to share? Please leave a comment below!
Written by Jennifer Amadi
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The story was told of a man who was completely unconscious and hospitalized at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital [UPTH]. His Wife didn’t have a penny on her, but she had her husband’s ATM Card with her; that would have been helpful, right? Wrong! She could not use it because she did not know the PIN. So the man’s own money couldn’t rescue him when he needed it most. His Wife had to ask other people for money or possibly borrow.
Another story was told of a Carpenter who lived somewhere in Port Harcourt. The Carpenter lived in a compound with his wife and children. The compound had two plots of land with an uncompleted building inside it, but the man built a makeshift home with wood by the fence where he lived with his family. As time went by, it was gathered that the man was once a laborer in the said property which his “Oga” was developing before he died. The story had it that the original owner of the property was building a house as a surprise gift for his girlfriend; he was married and of course his wife had no idea about this. So when he died, both girlfriend and wife didn’t know about the property. Carpenter positioned himself as custodian and gradually started claiming ownership. He was the one who attended all meetings of Landlords and even Tenants.
Some level of secrecy becomes foolish if the right things aren’t done.
Why do folks treat even the concept of writing a will with levity until some terminal disease or helpless situation comes lurking?
Why are folks so adamant to think that nothing bad will happen to them, so much that they never bother about succession planning even in their business endeavors until it is perhaps too late?
Why is the concept of passing the baton even in the realm of political and social leadership such a big issue in Africa? Why do we like to sit on things till we kick the bucket and we deny generations of what could have been a blessing to them?
If you are the only one with the password to your business email accounts, there’s a problem, start working at fixing it. I guess this is why the request for next of kin is mandatory in most legal transactions, whether you like it or not the system compels you to present someone else to stand in should anything happen to you.
If you have no one in this whole world to trust with your ATM Card pin, you probably will need to re-evaluate your relationships.
Branding is much more than identity and marketing communications, it also has to do with how your business or organization is structured.
Written by Maple Dappa
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So you had an idea with a plan and some resources to make it a reality, you then delved in with all you had; the zeal, the excitement, the knowledge from research, and so on. In a great feat of anxiety, you hastily rented a space, employed a number of staff and at some point; some years after you founded the venture, you begin to lose sight of it all because it seemed like only you could really make sense of your dream. It was quite obvious that your staff team always struggled with work and rarely got it right.
The list of issues you get to grapple with is quite long…
You begin to realize that beyond having an idea and drawing up a plan; there are several factors to consider and put in place from the onset, as much as possible.
First, what is the mission of the venture you seek to create, what is the vision? What are the guidelines to help you stay on the right track of your journey?
This is what branding is about, putting the essentials in place and engraving it into the regular activities and operations of the venture. In order to build and maintain a successful brand, you have to ensure that your employees are aware of the true essence of the business. Also, you have to make them understand that each of them in their different departments and roles all contribute to making the vision attainable.
Most times, business owners and organizations concentrate only on the external aspect of branding that they forget about the internal aspect which is the most vital part of branding because one person cannot successfully grow a business alone to its peak, a good team with great internal coordination and cohesion is mandatory for success.
A personal experience…
I was in my early 20’s, still in the university. I remember then, after the day’s lecture, my clique and I will head to “The Corner” – that was the name of the hangout. We had just found out about it in the first semester of our final year and decided to make it our hangout spot.
The scenery was so beautiful and peaceful; it felt like heaven on earth at the time. It was a garden with many seating corners, each of which had well set tables and nicely arranged chairs. Once it clocked 7pm, they’d turn on the lights around the fountain – they had a fountain at the center of the garden, where everyone at every corner could get a beautiful view – it was surrounded with beautiful and subtly colored lights which gradually brightened and faded within intervals, soothing music and a memorable Suya spot. It was a cool place to spend your evenings but one thing always bothered me each time we visited there. It was usually scanty, and we were about the only ones that patronized them regularly. However, we thought that since it was new, perhaps it has not gained much popularity yet, but each time we tried mentioning the place to friends or colleagues, we’d get responses like “hmmmph”, “they are on their own”, “they will close down soon”, “they don’t know what they’re up to” and when all of this began to make sense to us was after we had visited there every evening for a whole week and met with the same attitude and response.
Whenever we got there, we had to wait close to 30mins for someone to take our order, this happened every single time. They were always lagged about everything, we apparently didn’t notice this disposition of theirs during our initial visits because we were busy trying to take pictures and were carried away by the scenery but I guess “nasty” just couldn’t hide under any disguise. When they eventually came to attend to us, they did so with the meanest facial expressions. Even after placing our orders, they would delay for another twenty to twenty five minutes with no apologies whatsoever. At some point, I began to wonder whether the actual owner of the place employed these people with intentions of growing his business and attracting customers or just for the purpose of keeping them busy, for nothing.
Although the place was sleek and sophisticated, we just had to caution ourselves to stop going there because in the end, the whole experience will end up ruining our entire day.
And before long, guess what happened??
You guessed right, it shut down. It was quite sad.
The point here is to help drive home the importance of internal branding and creating values that will guide your every decision making process and daily operations, down to the kind of people to employ and the orientation to give them.
Written by Nneoma Chikeka
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Starting a business is one thing, building a business that not only stands the test of time but leaves lasting positive impressions on your clients, is another. My colleagues and I went out for some drinks at a new spot one of us had discovered; we decided it will be great to give it a shot. We all got there and sat back to take in the space; cool spot, great brand name. They took it up a notch by incorporating the name in their choice of materials for the interior design. Ingenious! The attendants were all smartly dressed in lovely branded T-shirts and the setting had a lovely rooftop view.
Generally, they had ticked off a few boxes on my list of what a great brand should be, but in a few minutes I was forced to rethink my review. More than 20minutes after our arrival, no attendant had come to take our order and efforts to call their attention were futile. So much for a great space, hmmm!
Eventually, we caught the attention of one of the attendants and a plain, ill-crafted menu was given to us. We expected that a menu befitting the space and design flow will be presented, but it was a mere A4 sheet with black print. No lamination, no art, nothing!
Anyway, we placed our orders but were gobsmacked at the cluelessness of the attendant when one of us had a few questions about the meal she intended to order. The platter of surprises was far from full as they kept serving more disappointments. After the stipulated time that they gave for our meals to be ready, we neither saw Chinaware nor silver cutlery and none of the waiters had the courtesy to apologize for the delay or affirm the food was getting prepared. After a prolonged wait, the food was served and it took complaints from us to elicit an apology from the attendant, who obviously had little or no training or knowledge on the rudiments of customer service.
Though the meal and ambience were wonderful, we had definitely struck off coming back to the establishment neither were we going to recommend it to anyone we knew. We were put-off by the poor service and nonchalant employees so much that we had no good reviews to put up. What’s the point in this?
At times, people think once you have a building with aesthetics and can afford some labour, your business is set. Not so! Branding a business goes beyond the buildings, aesthetics and employing people who wear uniforms; a distinct personality has to be created for your business in every way possible. Though the establishment in our aforementioned story had a desirable ambience (first impression), the services failed to portray a good ‘personality’ (character and conduct). If they had paid some attention to adequately training their staff to understand the importance of quality service as well as the vision, mission and core values, maybe the outcome would have been different.
Once the basics are addressed, your business will be sure-footed on its way to becoming a brand in every ramification; from name to service delivery. Once your customers are pleased with what your brand offers, ALOHA! to awesome reviews and customers that know your worth and will gladly pay for your services while they invite others to drink from the fountain of your proven brand!
If you will remember one thing, it is this;
Branding begins its journey from internal coordination before it gets to external communications.
Written by Kosisochukwu Ikeme
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The importance of branding is no longer a subject of debate, but it appears some persons still wonder if branding is really necessary?
Do you remember those times where you just had to try out a new product because you fell in love with the packaging? Think about the times you chose to ride in a chartered taxi instead of a public one because you wanted a comfortable experience.
The point is, consumers are increasingly craving better experiences with the brands they buy and any business that doesn’t satisfy the craving may be out of business. Branding is the vehicle that moves a business from being ordinary to creating unique experiences. So think about it for a moment, how visible is your business and is it a choice brand?
Branding defines and projects what your business stands for; its values and competitive advantage. It is a promise that your business makes to both its employees and consumers, without forgetting the future aspirations.
It is a crucial aspect of marketing. Your style, communication, culture, and identity all come together to keep you distinct from your competitors and gets you your own crowd of loyal customers.
So do you think branding is a necessity in business building? If yes, then go beyond knowing and start doing the required things to make your business stand out as a brand.
Written by Ediomo Abikpa
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We’ve encountered these stories severally in the course of our work as a consulting agency and it was only recently we decided to start sharing the stories with the rest of the world. So here is our first attempt at sharing an impact story. We invite you to Meet David and his friends!
These are young guys in their early 20’s, they haven’t had the privilege of attending any tertiary institution as they desire. We recently had to customize hundreds of coolers for our client and it was an opportunity to impact lives while making profit. We engaged David and his friends to lead the art work at the client’s warehouse and it was heartwarming watching them demonstrate great skill. Their zeal and commitment to work instead of staying idle and seeking pity touched a spot in our heart.
We believe that if business organizations become more intentional in impacting lives while making profits, our immediate communities will be a lot better. We all have what it takes to make impact, no matter how little. At MAPEMOND, we continually look for ways to engage kids like David (who are willing to work) off the street, so by extension, our clients through the jobs they give us to handle are impacting the lives of these kids and their families. So when putting together a team for your next project, make the conscious effort to impact lives as well.
We hope you found this insightful in some way. You can leave a comment to share your thoughts.
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We are your guys! Send us an email via email@example.com
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We came across this pack of writing notes on the table of a top level business executive.
It got our attention severally and we are certain it gets that of other visitors as well.
We call it brandcasting; souvenirs like this are not mere gifts that we give away, they are transmitters we strategically place at the right places for our brand to be silently announced to more people.
Invest in souvenirs that folks will really use, we recommend items that other people will also see and get curious about.
Is your brand presently sitting on people’s tables, walls, cars, keyholes, etc?
We refer to it as the stickivity question, when customers eventually need your product/service, will they remember your brand?
If you need help with making your brand memorable, we are here to provide custom solutions. Let’s hear from you, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org