A major problem business owners have with branding is that they delay the need for it. “I will start the business first and brand it later”, they say. But that’s like brushing your teeth without toothpaste and licking toothpaste later to make up. I know that illustration is a bit too extreme so don’t try to wrap your head around it.
Anyway, practically speaking, when branding is shoved aside or kept at the bottom of the to-do list in business that could be classified as one of the most unwise business decisions. For anyone venturing into the competitive world of business, the first thing on your mind should be how to stand out from others who have been there. This is not to exaggerate but no business would stand out without slight touches of branding.
No matter how basic, branding should be an intricate part of your business plan. For example, when thinking of your business name, also ask yourself if it will make a good brand name. Consider how the name will flow on marketing materials, souvenirs, stationery, and so on. It can be that basic and simple, even though branding runs much deeper than visual identity and communications.
Though branding is a broad topic and sometimes seen as complicated, it is still doable and never farfetched. I’ve observed that some people try to avoid it with lots of excuses to give, from limited resources to lack of time. In fact once a conversation about branding is stirred they literally begin to enumerate all the challenges that would prevent them from taking actions towards branding their business.
You may not have the funds, time or requisite knowledge to effect a full scale branding from the onset, but you should think ahead and lay the right foundation that you can build on later. I think it all begins from our understanding of what branding really is and that is why I urge you to learn more about the subject, by any means possible.
One thing you should understand is that branding affects every aspect of your business – visual identity, product development, customer experience, employee relations, organizational structure, office administration, marketing communications, and so on. You cannot afford to take it for granted if you really desire to grow a sustainable business.
When you lay a good foundation, you stand a better chance to survive the challenges that come your way. A whole lot of setbacks in business can actually be prevented from the beginning if the right branding strategies are employed. Wait no longer, now is the best time to start branding your business.
Written by Maple Dappa
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If asked to narrate the history of your brand, would you be able to walk prospects through your timeline without skipping a vital detail? Have you ever really taken quality time to ponder on your brand’s story? Do you have an archive dedicated to keeping record of your brand’s progress? There are numerous questions pertaining to proper documentation of an organisation’s history that most founders hardly consider.
In researching different brands for our weekly ‘brand review’ column, we discovered a trait common among over 70% Nigerian based brands, poor documentation of their history. While surfing most of their websites for relevant information related to the general structure of their organisation – brand history, core values, vision and mission statements, brand culture, etc – we found too little or no helpful information. Some business owners may consider the information as private and never see the need to share with outsiders, maybe they fear being copied by opponents, or they simply lack the skill of tracking progress.
In contrast to this norm, we also observed a common practice among most foreign-based companies with branches all over the world; they have a keen interest in history. They could dedicate a whole page on their website to their company’s journey that they update regularly whenever the company accomplishes a milestone. Occasionally they boast of their history being their heritage and often urge prospective clients to study their different timelines in order to get a clearer prospective of the company.
Asides this historical approach by great brands being beneficial to strangers, staff are daily reminded of the company’s history as well. They believe having a firm understanding of the past would inform present decisions that would in turn reform the organisation’s future. To them, every milestone is a dot that connects and leads them to their desired future.
The basic essence of creating an accessible rich historical archive for your company is to gain more connection. The more people, both customers and staff, understand and connect with your brand’s story, it makes it more likely for them to stick around much longer. Studies have shown that most brands with in-depth history tend to last longer as they continue to strive to live up the legacy left by their founders. These companies seek different avenues to introduce an innovative idea as a means of staying relevant.
Apple Incorporation is a perfect example of a company with a detailed historic background which is cherished by every employee. From when it was founded in 1976, by Steve Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak, the company continues to thrive in the world of technology. Despite the death of its founder, Steve, the company with relentless effort towards innovation runs with the same vision but with an improved and modern sight.
When you begin to see your business as an entity of its own, that its progress needs to be recorded per milestone, you evolve your business into one that should indeed be taken seriously. It is not enough to wish for a brand that will outlive you; you must make steps towards documenting every stage of the business with new improvements, as this would eventually form the company’s legacy over time. Start writing your history today!
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Reputation is something that sticks longer with humans and it’s usually difficult to correct whether good or bad. In business, a first mistake could be pardoned and considered an oversight but when it becomes a reoccurring event, it becomes your company’s reputation. Once people get to know your brand for a particular thing, negative or positive, that image stays glued on your business until you’re able to create a stronger impression that is remarkable enough to replace the former. A bad reputation therefore tarnishes the image of your business.
The fact is customers never forget the kind of emotions they felt when they encountered your brand, how fast or slow you delivered, the process in which you got the work done either efficiently or otherwise. If they had a terrible experience caused with your brand, they would always remember.
Following the recent event of the Ethiopian Airlines crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, we realised the magnitude of a bad reputation. The Boeing 737 brand that had also crashed five months earlier during Lion Air flight generated a lot of bad publicity for the airplane manufacturer, Boeing. Due to the reoccurred misfortune, some countries have grounded the plane, labelled it unsafe and it has already cost the company its shares valuation, which dropped to 13% with the snap of the finger, in the stock market. It is a thing of certainty that people whose families died in the plane crash will always relive the grief anytime they hear Boeing 737. This has automatically put the Boeing brand on the black list of many potential passengers and even shareholders.
From the event, you would deduct that a brand’s reputation creates a certain perception of it among clients, stakeholders and its target market. Unconsciously, the type of reputation you have could stir several emotions in customers who try to patronise you. What they feel becomes what they would associate with your brand and eventually would turn out to be your brand identity.
Companies with bad public image run at loss and never make high sales most of the time. They are usually seen as not being trustworthy or reliable and also lose customer loyalty as time goes by which affects their relevance in the society they operate. It obviously points out that a bad reputation is one of the fastest ways to ruin any business even the greatest of them all.
For any business to thrive in its sector, it must pay attention to the kind of reputation it has earned from when it commenced. People would either connect or disconnect with your brand based on what you have been known for as a company’s reputation always guides the decision of prospective investors or clients.
For the Boeing brand, we think it would take a lot of product re-engineering, rebranding, remodelling and reassurance for it to gain back a good public image. What’s your take, do you think it still has any reputation left to build on?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Earlier this week, whilst thinking of a brand to review – particularly brands which had made significant impact using Port Harcourt as a launchpad – the brand CypherCrescent came into mind. For many of us in Port Harcourt, more especially those who aren’t into the Tech business – this brand may seem foreign to us. Nevertheless, this same brand is well-known in the oil and gas industry particularly in Nigeria.
Cypher Crescent was established few years prior to March 2015 when Mr. ThankGod Egbe, a mathematician and research enthusiast, resigned from Shell after eight years of dedicated service to the company in both Nigeria and the Netherlands. With over 5 years of doing business and adding value to the oil and gas industry, Cypher Crescent has since seen expansion of its business beyond the shores of the country to Aberdeen, United Kingdom, Homan, and Houston Texas and all over the world.
Cypher Crescent Limited is a research and software development company, which utilizes mathematical models to proffer creative, innovative, and effective business solutions to the engineering problems encountered by clients/companies in the exploration and production of oil & gas. They also provide consulting services in oil and gas asset management and as such, help petroleum production and exploration companies better manage their well and reservoir assets in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Their flagship tech innovation – SEPAL – a business intelligence tool for well and reservoir management has so far seen major successes in acceptance and is highly sought in the industry by both government-owned and private oil & gas firms. SEPAL (Structured Engineering Presentation and Analytics Library) help oil and gas exploration and production companies remain competitive more importantly in these times of constant oil price fluctuations in an industry which contributes over 90% of the country’s total export value and revenue.
In the recent past, this alluring brand collaborated technically with NNPC Research and Development Division in the use of technological innovations in enhancing the production of oil and gas in Nigeria. In a country that depends majorly on the revenue derived from its oil & gas economy, you could guess what significant measure this implies on the overall growth and development of the Nation.
To show their love for research and the development of the oil and gas sector, Cypher Crescent donated twenty-four SEPAL licenses (its debut product on well, reservoir & facility integrated asset management) to the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), University of Port Harcourt in 2018. The previous year, it donated fifteen of similar licenses worth over US$1.5 million to the African University of Science and Technology (AUST). They also recently sponsored some indigenes of host communities in ICT training as a way of enhancing the human-resource-base capital of the society.
To be a leading provider of world-class oil and gas asset management solutions.
To safeguard oil and gas asset integrity and enhance production through innovation and cost-effective business intelligence solutions
Their core values
Integrity, Respect & Innovation
Excerpts from their website states:
Our clients are international oil companies (IOCs), NOCs, independent and marginal field operators seeking to maximize value from their oil and gas assets. We also provide technical expertise and support for servicing companies involved in turnkey projects.
Our team of experts are drawn from diverse backgrounds, with skills and experiences garnered from both the E & P industry and the academia. The team is motivated by their constant desire to continuously innovate and create value that address existing gaps in the E & P business. The team’s experience covers areas such as geosciences, petrophysics, reservoir engineering, production technology, well completions, production operations, mathematical modeling and software development.
SEPAL – Structured Engineering Presentation & Analytics Library
- Mathematical modeling
- Engineering Software Development
- Asset Management Services
- Technical Support and Training
Cypher Crescent is committed to collaborating and assisting their clients to gain valuable understanding of their assets through the integration of acquired data and in-depth technical insights.
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As the earth revolves around its orbit every second, so does the world evolve with constant innovations at the blink of an eye. Rarely does any day pass without something new being introduced to the ever-hungry market. There appears to be a new or modified facet to everything, from trends to market approach, to technology.
Due to this endless craving for modern ideas, both customers and organisations providing products and services have to remain abreast with the slightest new development springing forth globally. Sometimes keeping up with current innovations could be quite overwhelming; nevertheless, to prevail in the tight competitive business world, entrepreneurs and those in corporate firms are without a choice. This therefore means to gain dominance in any field; business owners must remain up to date with innovative events.
In order for enterprises to stay relevant, they must serve the customers with fresh irresistible innovative ideas. Since consumers don’t stay satisfied for long, there is a demand on businesses to consistently feed them with things that would improve their lives no matter how little. While trying to satisfy consumers, enterprises increase their profitability and efficiency. This further implies that innovation breeds advancement for any business.
Whenever innovation is mentioned, most entrepreneurs suddenly feel pressured to invent something new that has never been seen before. This is only a one-sided definition that limits the concept of innovation. Being innovative does not necessarily require new inventions, however, it requires regular brushing, polishing and recreating of old and existing ideas. Entrepreneurs need to seek ways to improve, making their products or services more appealing and value-added.
In pursuit of innovations, entrepreneurs must first study their target market deeply. This analysis enables them identify the needs of their old and prospective customers. It helps them discover opportunities they could leverage which puts them on a leading edge compared to their contemporaries.
This explains the reason why phone brands like Apple, Samsung, and Techno continue to modify their brands, adding new features other brands must have not thought of. For this reason, they give their competitors a fierce race, which may seem unbeatable for now until a new brand develops something strikingly different. Brands like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google keep improving their user interface, making it more user-friendly. That way their users have, a better experience, which makes them the preferred option. This means entrepreneurs have to keep in touch with their customers to know what their needs are and how to meet them.
While great brands endeavour to create novel or ameliorate existing products or technology, smaller brands remain complacent in their same old way. For the desire to succeed and retain dominance, every business should be driven by constant innovation and include it as part of their business strategy.
So we ask today, what innovative ways have you implemented to improve your business?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Unilever is unarguably one of the prominent brands that has added value and impacted the world through its numerous products. If you take stock of the products you use ranging from tea to detergent, bath soaps, seasoning cubes, and so on, you are very likely to discover that Unilever is very much present in your home.
Particularly in Nigeria, most of Unilever’s products are recognised leaders in their various market segments since they have become preferred and trusted brand in the heart of a great number of consumers. With over 400 brands under its umbrella in more than 190 countries, Unilever has strategically stamped its name in the sands of time and has become a legend as a consumer goods company. Follow through as we explore the different aspects of this universal brand.
Unilever’s purposeful journey started as far back as 1800 as a merger of many small family businesses. The company leveraged different commodities starting from butter the Jurgens started in 1860 in the Netherlands. In 1927, the company merged with another thriving butter company owned by a Dutch family, Van den Bergh. Together they worked to develop and trade a new product, which we know as margarine, a more affordable substitute for butter. Their business was called Margarine Unie.
In 1884, William Lever who started his business under the name, Lever Brothers, had produced a new soap he named Sunlight. This distinctive soap, made up of copra or palm kernel oil had the ability to lather easily unlike the soap brands before it. To add to its uniqueness, Sunlight was packaged differently and eventually became one of the first brands to gain visibility through advertisement. These adverts were done using creative mediums such as small cards inserted into soap packaging, featuring the Sunlight brand in cartoon drawings or calendars.
The Lever Brothers and Margarine Unie merged in September 1929 to form Unilever. In a bid to increase their market options, in 1943, Unilever acquired T. J. Lipton, Batchelors Peas, and then Pepsodent in 1944.
Moving forward, the company launched new products and acquired more companies like the British-based Lipton Ltd, Brooke Bond, the maker of PG Tips tea, Chesebrough-Ponds the maker of one of their popular brands, Vaseline. It also acquired the enterprise Ben and Jerry, Slim Fast, Knorr, Hellmann’s and a whole lot of others. These acquisitions have all combined to make Unilever the empire it is today.
While Unilever was deepening its root overseas, it also launched its brands in Africa in 1923. In that year, Robert Hesketh Leverhulme started his trading business under the name, Lever Brothers (West Africa) Ltd in Nigeria. The business focused mainly on soap trade and subsequently in 1925 opened a factory in Apapa. The company’s name was changed to Lever Brothers Nigeria Limited in 1955 and while it expanded to food products, another factory was launched in Aba in 1958.
After the introduction of Omo detergent in 1960, Lever Brothers got more attention as it met the need of many consumers. This achievement led to the commissioning of a manufacturing factory, in 1964, for the Omo brand. Unilever became a publicly listed company in 1973, due to the indigenisation decree made in 1972. This saw the company selling 60% of its shares to the Nigerian public making it a Nigerian owned company.
The company continued to broaden its range of products and began to source for its raw materials locally. In order to achieve their new venture, the company invested in crop production, oil palm milling and tea plantation. In 1995, Unilever merged with Unilever Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of the Unilever U.K. This merger gave Unilever a certain level of control in the Nigerian market. However, in 2001, the company was changed to Unilever Nigeria Plc. Since then, the company has continued to evolve and expand.
Unilever is a purpose driven brand that has operated with a clear vision which is basically to make sustainable living commonplace. This vision has transcended in all aspects of their operations
In every region, Unilever combines its multinational expertise with local cultures in order to blend with consumers. This way it continues to penetrate deep into its target market. Its long-term strategic choices range from an active portfolio management, a focused approach to innovation, investment in digital marketing. Adding to this, they have employed consistency, competitiveness in innovations, profitable improvement, and social responsibility as their major market strategies.
Unilever operates with simple core values such as;
- Integrity and
Unilever has some sets of clear priorities, which guides its campaigns and operations;
- A better future for children
- A healthier future
- A more confident future
- A better future for the planet
- A better future for farming and farmers
Unilever has proven to be a people centred brand from its approach of executing its operations from manufacturing, down to distribution. It seeks for the healthiest alternatives when producing its products.
One visible way they have made impact over the years is by initiating transformational change in the society through ending of deforestation, improving the quality of water people use, heading agricultural enhancement programs, increasing sanitation and hygiene, training small holders to farm sustainably, and women empowerment etc. They have accomplished most of these projects through partnership with government and NGOs
For its quality and consistency in pursuing its purpose, the brand has received several recognition, which include:
No.1Top spot in the Personal Products sector of the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index
No.1 Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017 Globe Scan/Sustain Ability annual survey
‘A’ Grade for Climate Change, Water, Forests and Supplier Engagement in CDP’s 2018 Global Supply Chain report.
With its wealth of experience, in depth market strategy and clear vision, Unilever will continue to be an acceptable and remarkable brand.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Many businesspeople in Nigeria and most parts of Africa habitually measure their wealth based on the amount of profit they make daily. This ideology could be due to little or no knowledge in wealth evaluation. It could come as a shock to an average businessperson in this part of our continent that the standard for evaluating wealth is one’s net worth.
Nevertheless, in that cluster of wealth cluelessness, some African entrepreneurs like Aliko Dangote, Nicky Oppenheimer, Johann Rupert, Nassef Sawiris, Natie Kirsh and Naguib Sawiris keep challenging the status quo and have grown their net worth into world standard. They have diligently built enterprises that maybe based in Africa but compete globally.
According to Bloomberg Billionaire Index, as at 25th of February 2019, Dangote’s net worth was reported to have increased to 17bn USD. This retained his position as the richest man in not just Nigeria but in Africa as a whole.
Bloomberg, stated that the net worth figures on their platform are updated every business day after every trading day in New York, with assets categorised as publicly traded companies, private assets like businesses, art and real estate, cash and other liquid investments and liabilities.
The above explains net worth a bit but let us simplify the term. According to Wikipedia, net worth is the value of all the non-financial and financial assets owned by an institutional unit or sector minus the value of all its outstanding liabilities.
The net worth of a business captures its financial health, which consist of assets and liabilities. Your net worth indicates the financial performance and valuation of your business. Your net worth is one of the determining factors that either encourages investors or stops them from investing in your business. In order to stay abreast with your financial growth, you must constantly analyse your net worth.
To analyse your net worth, you must differentiate what your assets and liabilities are. They are the two factors used to calculate net worth. Let us quickly define what these terms mean.
Assets are valuable items that increase the inflow of cash in the organisation. While liabilities are items that add debts to the business, thereby decreasing the flow of cash. Calculating the net worth of a business or person involves subtraction of the total liability from the total asset.
A clear representation of the above is; NET WORTH = ASSETS – LIABILITIES.
Observing the net worth formula closely, you will understand that more effort needs to go into getting more assets than liabilities. When your assets are greater than the liabilities, the net worth is a positive number.
Increasing your business’ net worth never happens overnight. Before one can accumulate wealth, it is more rewarding and sustaining to acquire financial knowledge and discipline. Still building your net worth is not an impossible task.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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The effects of nepotism on the growth of a business can never be overemphasized. Actually, it has been a clog on the wheel of most businesses. It is painful and discouraging when a loyal employee, due for promotion, is relegated in favour of another who is not qualified for that particular position but is accepted because he or she is the Boss’s relative.
Unfortunately, most business owners are not aware of the far-reaching consequences nepotism has on their business growth. Indirectly, this scenario encourages what we call ‘eye-service’ in the workplace. Every employee wants to be in ‘Oga’s good books’ by behaving a certain way in his presence – to get his favour – and in his absence, act in a certain way which on the long run affects the business negatively. They do this not because they hate the organization but because of the insecurity they feel with regards to their being promoted based on their efforts in growing the business and not the bias that comes from their Boss’s nepotistic tendencies.
Nepotism affects employee’s psychology making them feel that since they don’t stand a chance of being promoted or their efforts being recognized, they shouldn’t bother working hard or putting in their best; having it at the back of their minds that their Boss’s relative will always be preferred over them. Over time, employees’ passion for the job declines and everyone tends towards ‘eye-servicing’ because they feel that no matter how good they are and what values they have added to the company, their efforts will go unrecognized.
When employees do not give their best to the organization, it negatively affects the quality of the service rendered and in time, customers complaints starts soaring and subsequently a withdrawal in patronage occurs and this causes the business revenue to decline because income is generated when money is exchanged for products or services offered by the business to their customers. When there are no customers or a few customers, you know what that implies.
In addition, most business owners should take the bull by the horn to put an end to this workplace mayhem since this problem largely stems from them. Employees love to work in an environment where their career advancement prospects is certain against an atmosphere that stifles their potentials. As much as we love our relatives, if they aren’t best fit for a position and you have a loyal staff who is due for that position, why not allow him or her occupy that position?
Although we have looked at nepotism as it concerns promotions, it also plays out in other areas at the workplace like when taking disciplinary action to staff for unruly behavior. Everyone should be subject to same rules and principles, and not selective administration of penalties.
Written by Rejoice Emmanuel
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A phone brand with variety of ringtones almost half of Nigerians cannot forget is Nokia. With its different models that came in different shapes and sizes with different abilities, Nokia sure did leave a mark on the walls of the telecommunication market in Nigeria. It had a grand entrance into the market and enjoyed a good season of dominance.
Interestingly, with time and as new brands emerged with different technologies and innovations, Nokia began to lose its stand and at some point was wiped out of the Nigerian market. Determined to spring back to its feet, Nokia through its partnership with Microsoft produced new products to satisfy the ever craving Nigerian market.
Regardless of what must have gone wrong, it is undeniable that Nokia is a remarkable brand and there are many lessons to learn from its brand story. So brace yourself as we dissect one of the historical brands ever – Nokia.
Nokia, what we now know as one of the most popular multinational telecommunications brands in the world went from one industry to another before venturing and becoming known for production of mobile phones. Here is how it transited.
In the early period of 1865, May 12th precisely, Fedrik Idestam, a mining engineer, founded Nokia in Finland. In that year, the brand did not start as a telecommunication brand rather it commenced as a single paper mill operation. The company went public with the name Nokia Ab in 1871 when Leo Mechelin, Idestam’s friend joined hands with him.
Like most partnership, Idestam and Mechelin did not agree on everything. At some point, Mechelin wanted to expand the company into the electricity business but Idestam declined the idea. In 1896, Idestam retired and Mechelin became the company’s chairperson. Nevertheless, after Idestam had retired in 1896, Mechelin pushed his idea to the company’s shareholders and eventually Nokia became an electricity company in 1902.
Due to its near bankruptcy after World War I, Suomen Gummitehdas Oy, popularly known as Finnish Rubber Works, acquired Nokia. It was a company founded in 1898 by Eduard Polon, a business leader. The Finnish Rubber Works subsequently acquired Suomen Kaapelitehdas Oy (Finnish Cable Work). This new company was into the production of telephone, telegraph and electrical cables.
While Nokia Ab, Suomen Gummitehdas, and Suomen Kaapelitehdas were under the same roof, they did not merge legally but became a viable group.
However, in 1967, the three companies merged to form Nokia Corporation. This new establishment manufactured products like paper items, car and bicycle tyres, rubber boots, communications cables, televisions and other consumer electronics, personal computers, generators, robotics, capacitors, military technology and equipment (such as the SANLA M/90 device and the M61 gas mask for the Finnish Army), plastics, aluminium and chemicals.
The company ran for close to fifteen years within which it experienced loss at some points, giving birth to a new focus on mobile phone technologies. From the merger between Nokia and Salora, in 1979, the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) network called 1G, which became the first fully automatic cellular phone system, was developed.
In order to create better phone models, Nokia purchased Salora in 1984. Following the success of this, in 1987, Nokia launched its first mobile phone “Mobira Cityman 900” for NMT– 900 networks that was able to accommodate data.
After gaining its ground in the mobile phone industry, Nokia commenced operations in over 130 countries connecting millions of people all over the world.
Nokia explains its vision simply, “we create the technology to connect the world.”
The brand has operated with solid values over the years. Here they are;
As more competitions arose among the mobile phone brands, in 2008, Nokia’s market share fell to 40.8 percent. Even though Nokia tried to get back its position in the market by releasing new models like N97 touchscreen device, it still experienced some loss in 2009.
Even with the losses, Nokia refused to give into the pressure to switch to producing Android based smartphones and continued to focus on producing more Symbian based smartphones which were no longer selling in the market. This again saw their market shares drop further in 2010.
In search of a remedy, Nokia went into partnership with Microsoft. Because of this partnership, Nokia adopted Windows Phone as the operating system for the smartphones it produced from 2011. Nokia took a more courageous step on the 25 April 2014 to sell its mobile phone business to Microsoft for £3.79bn.
Despite all the pitfalls, Nokia continues to bounce back, proving itself as a hard nut to crack. In recent times, it has embraced new technologies, thereby enhancing the quality of its products. It has made its return into market with more vibrancy, and has gained back its visibility.
DID YOU KNOW
- The name Nokia was coined from a town called Nokia and the Nokianvirta River.
- By the end of 2013, 10,000 employees had been dismissed
- In the 1980s, Nokia’s computer division “Nokia Data”, produced a series of personal computers called the “MikroMikko” in the 1980s
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If we compile all the names of different enterprises in this world, they could sum up to over a billion. The whole word could seem too farfetched so let us bring it home; walking along a busy road here in Nigeria, there is a high probability you would see at least twenty different names of businesses at every turn of your neck. Though each of these twenty try to make a statement of their own, only a handful, if at all any, will succeed in communicating with you.
Bringing it further down to your neighbourhood, can you remember all the names of the little shops on your street even after residing there for many years? The answer is likely a no! You might put the blame on your memory or accuse yourself of not paying attention to details. The truth remains; the names of these little shops did not leave an impression on you and could not register in your mind.
However, the light bulb in your brain practically turns up when you hear names like MTN, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Indomie, Microsoft, DSTV, Toyota, Samsung, Google, SPAR, TOTAL, etc. You might conclude that these are big brands that are well recognised. Yes, this is true but do not forget that they were not as big as they are when they started. The difference is the names of these popular brands have continued to speak loudly for everyone one to hear.
Choosing a business name is an imperative criteria for any enterprise and it is not as simple as you may think. Merely picking a name that sounds good to your ears might not be a wise business choice. Deciding on a business name requires a lot of brainstorming and deep research in your chosen market. It demands you devote quality time defining each term you wish to use to ensure it connects with your business or the kind of brand you want to build.
You may be asking why you should go through so much stress for a brand name and fail to realise one fact, a business name, in most cases, is the first thing potential clients would meet before they encounter the owner. The name of a business becomes its identity and carries the brand’s message. It is the voice that gently calls out to customers beckoning on them to patronise the business. Now let’s look at a few steps you could take to give your business name a voice.
Firstly, do not think you know it all, consult professionals. Most people consider consultation a waste of time and money, and move straight into making decisions that end up marring all their efforts. With the right strategic advice and plan from a professional, you can be sure that every aspect of your brand will stand out from the crowd.
Secondly go for a name that is easy to remember. Simple names stick longer in the minds of people and communicate to them better. So avoid any name that is too complicated and hard to remember. Also, before you settle for any name, do a proper check to ensure no other company has used that name before.
Thirdly, add some creativity to the name that leaves people curious to the name. Don’t mistaken plainness for simplicity. Keeping your business name, short and simple doesn’t mean you should go for a plain name that literally gives your business away or sounds too mundane. Depending on the nature of your intended business or brand personality, you could also introduce a little mystery to the name that stirs up curiosity in the minds of people.
Lastly, be certain the services or products your business offers lives up to its name. It is not enough to have a brilliant name and then deliver poorly. Customers will always link your business name to the quality of your services. So whilst you have a striking business name, it could also have a bad reputation.
Extra Tip: A name is not merely about the alphabetic letters, but about the reputation, perception and values it represents.
With these simple steps and a strong publicity to increase the visibility of the business name, you can be rest assured that your brand will not just be in the minds of people, but also in their hearts.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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