When you have a really good product or service but it seems the connection you want with customers is not happening, it may be that you are yet to identify the form of relationship they have with your brand. Identify the relationship, understand it very well, and position your brand accordingly from your sales strategy to marketing communications and so on.
Knowing the relationship that applies to your business should guide you on whom to target, how to reach them, what to say, etc. Don’t leave your marketing and sales to chance, be intentional, and keep tweaking. Winning and retaining customers should not be a game of chance.
When we took over the management of a restaurant brand, most of the staff were problematic and gave the outgoing manager headache, particularly the cleaners and cooks.
Over ten months after, the same workers are mostly well behaved and improving daily. What changed? Leadership style. We will use a story to explain what we mean.
A few years ago we had a conversation with a restaurant owner who was frustrated by the attitude of her workers. When we inquired to know the grooming process for her employees, she revealed that they were trained by an international expert. We got further information and discovered what the problem was, the workers were trained with the standard template, not bad, but not enough.
These workers live in ghettos and slums. They fight to use the bathroom every morning. They even quarrel to empty their bowels. Then drama with yard people, keke driver, bus conductor that abused them that morning, and the underlying challenges of life they grapple with.
You cannot rework their attitude without addressing the underlying influences of their background. What works in Milan, Madrid, or Copenhagen, will not work the same way in Nigeria. You must adapt to local realities.
So for our restaurant client, we paid close attention to the background and environmental influences on the workers and gradually established a new way of relating to them.
One thing that provided this insight to us was a song by Phil Collins titled “both sides of the story”. In one line of the song, a ghetto kid with a gun grabbed a passerby by the shoulder and asked “would you respect me if I didn’t have this gun?”
We’ve had very personal experiences with three ghettos and could relate to that question, it is the same mindset behind most low cadre employees in businesses. They want to be respected, they want to be heard, they want to know that they matter, they don’t want to be trampled upon, that desire for dignity in humans is also in them.
When next you feel frustrated by your workers, also do a self-evaluation on yourself.
Do you treat them with disdain or respect?
Do you let them talk or you always hush them?
Do you pay attention to where they are coming from or it doesn’t concern you?
Their presence WILL rub off on your brand, it is a guarantee!
This matter is a major hindrance to the transition of many businesses into fabulous brands. You are putting in the effort but workers are messing things up, it is a real struggle and you have to find a way around it if you want to grow. Some of these workers are set in their ways and I advise for such, you work towards easing them out of your system.
We hope these perspectives will enable you to handle your workers better.
“Opposite yet Complementary. In 1988, we challenged the idea that shoes must be identical by designing a pair where the right shoe was different than the left. Since then, TWINS has been revisited each season through new typologies, treatments, and materials that continue to play with the idea of mismatched design.”
In your effort to market your business, one of the things you can do to gain better visibility and attract your desired target audience is to have what is called a big idea.
A big idea is commonly used for marketing campaigns. Every professional marketing campaign you see has a big idea that drives it whether it is expressly communicated or not. However, a big idea is also used to engineer and drive your entire business or organization.
We all love Nike’s “JUST DO IT”, that is a big idea in itself derived from “Nike pushes your athletic boundaries beyond what you thought was possible, so you can win on your own terms”.
Unilever’s Omo and Persil ran a marketing campaign themed “DIRT IS GOOD” and it was derived from the ideology named “Modern Parenting” which submits that children learn more about their environment and things as they explore their curiosity and mess their clothes up. Therefore, let the children play and as they get dirty, Omo helps you make the clothes clean again.
Because our businesses are often set up for survival, we dismiss these things, but the foreign brands make billions with it from our own pockets. Even in survival mode, you will survive better if you sell better.
Lately, a lot of people are talking about Burna boy in relation to his positioning in the music industry beyond Nigeria. Burna boy is entrenching a strong ideology into his brand that has to do with the African narrative. It gives him access to a far wider audience and makes him hard to ignore even if you don’t enjoy his music or like his personality. Remember Wakanda? The ideology weaved into the narrative, though fictional, was magical.
Once you articulate a significant ideology into your brand – something that affects the story, existence, history, aspirations, desires, or challenges of a people (your target market), your brand immediately begins to stand out from the lot. There are so many bakers out there, not a problem, but WHY do YOU bake? What is it about your own cake business that makes it different from all others? It may not even be about cakes directly, but that thing that drives you internally each day. Capture it, articulate it, and communicate it.
Defining a simple ideology for your business will enable you to get better results with your small efforts.
Through your big idea, you craft strong messages that resonate with your target market and you grow a loyal tribe of customers.
Through your big idea, you attract team members who want more than just a monthly salary. They want to be a part of something remarkable.
Through your big idea, you become more purpose-driven.
Your vision and mission statements (if you have) will stop being fancy statements you display on your walls or wherever.
We can build amazing brands in Africa.
Let’s keep doing it from our small corners of the continent.
We can do better against all odds.
A few weeks ago, we spent some time with the CEO of Fifi’s Food House, Onimim Fifi Karibo, at her kitchen hub in the city of Port Harcourt where she treaded us to a three-course meal. While we sat in her office, we noticed her people were at work preparing the meal. At some point, a customer called to order a meal, Fifi was still with us all the while as her people brought the message that the meal was ready. Evidently, she had taught her people how to prepare the meals the same way she does.
About a year ago, Mapemond had multiple training jobs at the same time for various clients. We delegated different team members to each of the training and they all did a great job. One of the training had about a hundred and fifty participants and it was handled by a Staff, not our principal.
Even if you are a one-man business, for now, develop the consciousness of raising others to do what you do because you cannot keep doing it all by yourself and you cannot be everywhere at the same time. Yes, some people you train will disappear without first giving value to the system that raised them, but that is not a valid excuse to not raise others at all.
Some people you train will falter and make mistakes, especially if you have the traits of a perfectionist, but be patient with the grooming process and they will become well-primed. Instead of finding reasons and justification to do it all by yourself all the time, fight those excuses and raise your army unless you are fine with being a one-man business perpetually.
If your dream is to build an amazing brand, you cannot escape building people, against all odds.
Build your people. And trust them with the work.
What is the market craving?
What will make the market flow like rushing waters in your direction?
One day at a time.
It may be costing you money, but consider it as an investment in ‘research and development’. You will recover the money at the snap of your fingers when you hit that spot.
We came across a Facebook post suggesting that certain businesses perform better when they are unstructured compared to when they are structured. The person asserted that a renowned Nigerian blogger, Linda Ikeji, is struggling ever since she became structured, but that is quite a baseless assertion without specific indices or metrics to measure the performance of her business. The argument had so many holes in it, we didn’t even know which one to address or ignore, but our take away was that many people do not understand what structure means.
Here are some insights on structuring your business:
1. Structuring does not mean leaving your product-market fit. If you were doing very well by selling food to Tricycle Drivers and then you go build a gigantic edifice with air conditioners in the name of structuring, you are just burying your business alive. The drivers won’t follow you but will switch to another option.
2. Structuring does not mean leaving what is working and going to experiment with the unknown. If Linda Ikeji leaves what has been working for her to new terrain, she may struggle before getting it right again, if she does.
3. Structuring does not mean you stop innovating. If you become relaxed simply because you got structured, you will lose out. The more structured you become, the more you have to be on your toes innovating.
4. Structuring does not mean fancy offices and glam. It is not about “I have arrived”, you will be pushed over to the sideline.
5. Structuring is about becoming BETTER ORGANIZED as the business grows gradually. When a bukka woman teaches her daughter to cook the meals as well, it is structuring. When she teaches her Son how to go buy foodstuff from the market, it is structuring. When she keeps proper inventory of the foodstuff to check them against daily sales to ensure there is no theft or unrecorded debts to customers, it is structuring. When she can take a break and business is still ongoing, it is structuring. The list goes on.
6. Structuring is about creating systems and processes, no matter how basic. You cannot seek a serious business loan with your personal account, you need to open a business bank account and that requires BVN, a registered business, Tax identification, etc.
Our investor at Mapemond asked us, “what if I die, what will happen to my investment in your company?” our answer was all around systems, processes and ultimately, structuring.
You cannot desire to be another Dangote, Otedola, Elumelu, Jason Njoku, Ibukun Awosika, and all these people and not be thinking in terms of structure over time.
Davido and WizKid will direct you to their managers if you want to do business with them, even personal brands have their own approach to structuring. That is why they create DMW, Mavin Records, and the likes.
We have to break the fetters and manacles holding us spellbound to the hustle and survival mentality while thinking that we can build a big business by staying unstructured and evading FIRS and the rest perpetually.
Global Ventures that…
All the fancy desires will not happen by mere wishes, you have to build structures diligently and consistently for several years.
If your clients’ work will be on hold because you have malaria, your business is an endangered specie.
We don’t like to think about it, but what if you die? What happens to the monies you collected from people? Pending salaries? Etc?
Please share this, let’s empower more entrepreneurs with the right knowledge.
If you think otherwise, then this post is not for you.
We wish you well in your endeavors.
Blessed are those whose business is approaching a time when sales will be made without personal posts on social media, for they shall know sustainable growth.