- Your brand should be used by management to drive the company: There is no tool better than the brand for uniting the forces and the stakeholders inside and around your company together. Managing is all about focusing mental energies. Any leakage of energy or unproductive connections will cause a loss of voltage in your branding efforts thus adversely affecting your brand in the market place. The good news is that brand builders have control to act or not to act. They can kick-start the process from the inside rather than waiting for something to happen first.
- Your brand should be crystal clear about its role in the marketplace: There was a time when you could manufacture or produce a little of everything. However, internationalization and tough competition have brought this to an abrupt end. Brands must be focused. You not only have to focus on which business you are in, but also what role in that business you wish to play. Pin-point a niche and stay there! Stray not!!
- Let your brand encourage creativity amongst your customers: Interactivity and creativity are necessities, not occasional indulgences. A brand has to encourage a feeling of ownership amongst its users. The customer must feel as though they are a brand’s creators, a sort of beta-tester playing a vital role in helping it achieve constant improvement. Your brand should be a gigantic creative joint venture involving your critical stakeholders.
- Let your brand enjoy alliances with other brands: Traditional brands are very anxious not to involve themselves with other brands, but those are yesterday’s brands, or will soon be. Brands of the future must be strong, distinct, stand for something special – based on deep values – and have nothing to fear from connecting themselves to other brands. Sharing common ground can make everybody a winner. Indeed, a strong brand might gain even more strength through co-branding with an apparently weaker brand or in other cases, with an even stronger brand. Every brand has everything to gain by connecting itself to the right alliances, in the right environment, and with the right people.
- Your brand is best protected by the brand itself: Traditionally, trademark legal protection has been central to brand protection. Now, thanks to internationalization, and the transparency of the web, it is very difficult to control all the aspects of a brand. Great brands need not fear however. If you have a deep relationship with customers, bad copies and imitations hold no fear for you. Actually, in a lot of proven cases, fraud against a brand that maintains a base of loyal customers, will probably further strengthen the bond between your customers and your brand, maybe even garner you new ones from the fraud or imitation.
- Your brand must be a vehicle for the transfer of both value and values: The brand transfers value and values from one product generation to the next, from one product to its derivatives, and from one kind of a product to another kind. It transfers value between company and product, and vice versa. The brand is not simply an economical mechanism; it is also a philosophical mechanism. It’s not just about money anymore; it’s about culture and humanity as well. A brand of the future will need philosophical strength to gain economical results. The value chain will give way to an even greater chain of values.
- Discover whether you and your potential customers are a good fit: Let go of forcibly trying to close a deal or by all means getting the appointment and you will discover that you don’t have to take responsibility for moving the market process forward. If you simply focus your sales conversation on problems that your brand or services can help potential customers solve, and if you don’t jump the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you will find that customers will actually bring you into their buying process.
- When you lose a target, it is usually at the beginning of the marketing process: If you believe that you lost a customer because you made a mistake at the end of the process, take a look back at how you began the relationship. Did you start with a presentation? Did you use traditional marketing languages like “We have a solution that I believe you really need” or “others in your industry have bought our solution, so you should consider us as well”? When you use traditional marketing language, potentials can’t help but label you with the negative stereotype ‘marketer/salesman’. This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to your position of trust. And if trust isn’t established at the outset with honest communication about the problems your brand is trying to help them solve, then you have lost the customer.
- Pressure is the only cause of rejection; rejection should never happen: Rejection happens for only one reason – something you said, as subtle as it might have been, triggered a defensive reaction from your potential customer. Yes, something you said! To eliminate rejection, simply shift your mindset so that you give up the hidden agenda of hoping for a sale rather than build your brand. Everything you say and do should stem from the basic mindset that you are there to help potential clients. This makes you able to ask the kind of question customers wish to hear: “Would you be open to talking about issues affecting your bottom-line?”
- Never chase a potential customer, you’ll only trigger more marketing pressure: Chasing potentials has always been considered normal and necessary, but it’s rooted in the old ‘macho’ selling image that “if you don’t keep chasing, it means you’re giving up, and that means you’re a failure”. This is dead wrong! Instead of chasing potentials, let them perceive that you would like to avoid anything that involves the old cat-and-mouse chasing games by arranging quality time for your meeting. Build a bond, and the money will build the bridge.
- When a potential client offers objections, uncover the truth behind them: Most traditional branding and marketing programs spend a lot of time focusing on overcoming rejections. These tactics only put more marketing pressure on potential customers and fail to explore or understand the truth behind what the customer is saying. When you hear “we don’t have the budget” do you think you are hearing the truth, or do you suspect that these are polite evasions designed to end the conversation? Rather than trying to counter objections, you can uncover the truth by replying, “That’s not a problem” – no matter what clients are objecting to – and use gentle, dignified language that invites them to reveal the truth about their perceptions of your brand.
- Never defend your brand or what it has to offer; it only creates more pressure:When a potential client says, “Why should I choose your brand over your competition?” Your first instinctive reaction is probably to start defending your brand or service because you want to convince them to buy. But what do you think goes through your potential’s mind at that point? Something like, “This marketer is trying to sell me on why what they have to offer is better, but I hate feeling as if I’m being sold to”. Rather than defending your brand, try suggesting that you aren’t going to try to convince them of anything because that would only create marketing pressure. Ask them about the key problem that they are trying to solve, and then explore how your product or service might solve those problems – without ever trying to persuade. Let potentials feel that they choose your brand without feeling sold to.
Put these 20 suggestions into practice and your brand will be walking on water even when others seem to be drowning.
Best of Luck!
Written by Brain Essien
How to register for FG’s N75 billion MSME survival funds
FG released guidelines to access the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund.
The Federal Government (FG) has released the guidelines to access the N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund and Support Initiatives, which took effect from September 21, 2020.
The scheme, which is the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan includes the N60 billion MSMEs Survival Fund and the N15 billion Guaranteed Offtake Schemes.
This disclosure was made in an official statement by the Federal Government through a series of tweet posts on its official Twitter handle.
The statement from FG read, “As the portal for the registration of prospective beneficiaries of Survival Fund opens, interested Nigerians in the Payroll Support Scheme are to note that the site will be open from 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020.”
The statement says that the registration for the payroll support will start with the educational institutions at 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020, and will be followed by businesses in the hospitality industry by 12am Friday, September 25, 2020.
The portal will also open for other categories of small businesses from 12am, Monday, September 28, 2020. It should be noted that the scheduling of the registration for prospective beneficiaries is to ensure that the process is seamless and hitch-free. The registration of every sector is to continue until Thursday, October 15, 2020.
To register for this initiative, the Federal Government has also provided a portal for entry. Potential beneficiaries are advised to log on to https://survivalfund.ng to complete their registration.
As part of the registration process, the beneficiaries are expected to provide personal registration details, activate their account, register their organization after they have successfully activated their account.
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Number, Bank Verification Number (BVN), SMEDAN Number, a Tax ID (optional) and the organization’s bank account details will be needed.
Completing the Payroll Support Registration, beneficiaries’ first name, last name, email, mobile number and Password will be required. Also, their Date of Birth, residential address and residential Local Government Area will also be provided.
These 2 MSMEs initiatives namely MSMEs Survival Fund with payroll support track and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme were introduced by the FG as part of the efforts to support businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is expected to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per state.
The scheme will be implemented over an initial period of 3 months and is targeted at employees of MSMEs and self-employed individuals with 45% for female business participation and 5% for special needs participation
The Guaranteed Off Take Stimulus Scheme is expected to perfect and sustain the income of vulnerable micro and small enterprises from the economic disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic through the implementation of various initiatives aimed at boosting the production capacities of small businesses as well as the provision of grants.
The duration is also for an initial period of 3 months and is targeted at micro and small businesses registered in Nigeria.
Registration for #PayrollSupport will start with educational institutions at 10pm on Monday Sept 21, 2020, and will be followed by businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday September 25 beginning from 12am.
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) September 21, 2020
FG to provide financial support for 1.7 million businesses, individuals in next 3 months
FG had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
The Federal Government has announced plans to provide financial support for 1.7 million businesses and individuals across the country within the next 3 months.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, at the virtual commissioning of the Fashion Cluster Shared Facility for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) tagged, Eko Fashion Hub, in Lagos.
Katagum disclosed that the initiative is borne out of the Federal Government’s continued commitment to helping cushion the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy by saving existing jobs and creating new job opportunities.
The minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, through the Economic Sustainability Committee, had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
She said, “The Federal Government is fully committed to empowering Nigerians; more so in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In this regard, the government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
“These programmes include among others, the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes of which I have the honour to chair the Steering Committee for the effective implementation of the projects.
“The project, which will run for an initial period of three months, is targeting 1.7million entities and individuals and has provisions for 45 per cent female-owned businesses and five per cent for those with special needs. The registration portal for the schemes is set to open on Monday 21st September 2020 and I urge you all to take full advantage of the schemes.’’
The Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan which was produced by a committee headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is a response to the health and economic challenges which foisted on the country by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from developing robust monetary policies and fiscal measures to enhance oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending, the plan also includes a N2.3 trillion stimulus package for the economy.
Katagum said that the schemes were at the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package being implemented by the Federal Government. She said that the commissioning of shared facilities was also expected to provide succour and relief to the teeming micro-businesses in need of space and infrastructural support
NSE, IFC promote participation of women-owned and run SMEs under the Nigeria2Equal programme
The NSE and IFC hosted the webinar to review support for women-owned businesses.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt economic activities all over the world, the informal sector (specifically small and medium enterprises, SMEs), have been at the centre of the crisis.
In view of the strong representation of female entrepreneurs within the SMEs space, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) hosted a webinar in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation to address the theme, Supporting SMEs and Women-Owned Businesses in Corporate Value Chains.
Speaking at the webinar, the Divisional Head, Shared Services, NSE, Bola Adeeko noted, “Entrepreneurs in Nigeria face significant challenges in accessing finance to sustain or expand their businesses. With the high level of female participation in entrepreneurship (OECD in 2019 puts female participation at 58% compared to male’s 45% male), experts anticipate that the COVID-19 crisis will hinder the progress made in advancing women’s entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
“To this end, we are pleased to have brought together an expert panel of discussants who have made an indisputable business case for gender-inclusive practices in corporate value chains and highlighted strategies for improving the participation of women owned and run SMEs.”
Looking at the current SMEs landscape, the Executive Director, Fate Foundation, Adenike Adeyemi indicated that, “When we look at the micro segment, we see that the number of women-owned businesses is equal to men-owned businesses.
“However, as we move on to the SMEs segment, we see a drop in female participation to less than 25% which suggests that women are either dropping off or not growing as quickly as their male counterparts.”
In identifying some of the constraints female entrepreneurs face, Nigeria Country Director, WeConnect International, Yeshua Russel said, “While it is imperative that concerted efforts are made to link women to the value chains of large corporations in order to empower them, there are barriers that must be addressed which include inadequate technical capacity; low level of collaboration among women-owned businesses; and lack of access to finance.
“Consequently, we need to create more structures and systems that can educate and incorporate women to raise their level and quality of participation.”
The Director, Corporate Affairs and Sustainable Business, Ghana and Nigeria, Unilever, Soromidayo George further expounded on this saying, “From our experience with Ebola and other epidemics, the economic impacts of a health crisis will have a disproportionate impact on women which will widen the gender inequality gap.
“This is particularly attributable to the harmful social norms that limit the expectations of what women can and should do especially along familial and business spectrums. We must, therefore, articulate organised ways to tackle these expectations and lay the right building blocks to achieve gender equality.”
All the panelists during the session agreed on the fundamental needs of businesses, particularly women-owned businesses as articulated by Executive Director, Business Banking, Access Bank, Ayodele Olojede.
She noted that, “In building and nurturing women-owned businesses, it is important to adopt a holistic approach that focuses on the four fundamentals of finance, information, market and technology.”
Taking this a step further, the Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Lagos Business School. Peter Bankole emphasized, “Capacity building must go beyond training in the development of women-owned businesses. Women are fast and adaptive learners but must also be given the support of mentoring and hand-holding to reach their highest potential.”
In closing out the event, the Head, Corporate Communications, NSE, Olumide Orojimi emphasised the need to continue the conversation beyond the webinar.
He said, “Bridging the gender inequality gap is a journey and it is one we must all contribute to actively. We at the NSE are proud of our efforts at advancing female participation within our operations and our ecosystem and our collaboration with IFC is one of the efforts we are truly proud of.”
It would be recalled that The Nigeria2Equal initiative was kicked-off in May with a webinar that explored the gender implications of COVID-19 for women as employees.
The conversations that ensued during that webinar highlighted the differential socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on men and women, with women predicted to face more negative impacts.