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Making business future-fit: The new marketing realities facing business after Covid-19

Andisa Ntsubane discusses the challenges businesses now face as they navigate through the COVID-19 era.

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The year 2020 will be remembered as the ‘Year of the Great Pause’. It has been a period in which perceptions changed, boundaries moved, and businesses shifted on their traditional, comfortable foundations. Brands have been left battling with the reality that the unexpected had indeed happened and leading companies in Africa have lost an estimated US $ 60 billion off the value of their brand equity according to the recent Top 150 Most Valuable Brands in Africa report by Brand Finance

As normality slowly returns, marketers are left with the certainty that although a new dawn is breaking, they have a scant three months to begin recovering lost ground. They have to compensate for the time when business was paused, and marketing investments were pulled back.

While getting to grips with these hard-short-term facts, those at the heart of marketing will also be acknowledging that significant, permanent shifts have occurred in the ground below their feet.

There can be no denying that the COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the dire economic and social challenges that the continent faces. There has never been a more opportune moment than this to accelerate the Shared Value Agenda and engage on how there can be an increase in the introduction of business models that address social issues.

The path ahead will be challenging to navigate because it means that brands will have to move decisively to regain customers’ trust in the roles that they play within communities, countries, and the continent at large.

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After all, our brands are our promises to the markets. To move forward, we will have to emphasise the positive influence that brands can have on people and societies.  Those that lead and prosper will deliver tangible value and help to resolve cultural and social tensions in society. This means that brands need to be connected and responsive to the lived experiences of people.  Brands must understand and be connected to the anxieties that people face. Above all, they need to be the agents helping to re-energise people and contribute towards creating a sense of optimism about the future.

These actions will become necessary because there has been a profound shift amongst our customers, our communities, and the continent at large as a consequence of this watershed moment

Traditional, disconnected, overt sales messages have been relegated to the past. People now expect their brands to have a purpose. More significantly, as we move towards a brighter future, people will support brands that were perceived to have done something positive when times were tough.

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Pushed aside will be those brands that have not realised that relating to their customers is not about making promises; it is now about tangible actions that deliver on the business strategy and brand promise.

Ultimately, brand leaders have to learn the lesson that although times change, the things that matter, seldom do.  This means connecting to the things that people care about, to what they value and hold dear. Families, relationships and wanting the best for your children as well as a brighter future will always remain fundamental concerns. The brands that understand these needs and cater to them will be brands that succeed. Brands have to be able to demonstrate that businesses do not just look at making profits or for economic opportunities.

This new approach will also involve understanding societal issues and then building business models that help address these issues. The key is to simultaneously achieve economic and societal value and help move the business and customers forward.

Creativity will play a central role in the transition from frivolous or hard-sell messaging to a more concerned, empathetic and understanding brand persona.

There has never been a better time for brands to deliver on their purpose. Now is the time to deliver on what we say. Covid-19 has been the perfect opportunity for brands to practice what they preach.

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Disruption is becoming increasingly important. In these times if you are not disrupting your industry and yourself, you will be left behind. Strategies must not be built on the principle of being developed to last, but rather to accommodate transformation.  The world is changing around us, and we have to construct models that help our brands respond to the ever-changing demands of the external environment.

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Medium-term five-year business plans and strategies will inevitably become a feature of the past as timelines shorten. We will increasingly find ourselves living in a world where agility and responsiveness will become the watchwords.

Brands and businesses being responsive will require moving beyond just hearing consumers. There is a plethora of databases and social media listening tools available, but we must ask whether we are really listening, engaging and responding to our customers.

Consumers today recognise authenticity and true purpose, and both are going to be critical ingredients for building brands in the post-pandemic world. Meaning brands will now have to act more like people. A few ways we can activate the change are:

  • Play our part: Show up and use all resources and creativity to build a better world.
  • Act together: As the wise African saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together”. Recognise the strength in collaboration, to truly help people requires working in solidarity with likeminded entities.
  • Solve instead of selling: Be more comforting and less promotional. It is about finding meaningful solutions to problems people are facing.
  • Be human: Show empathy for the contemporary situation while retaining brand relevance. People are reassured by positive actions and communications.

As purpose is put to the test in the midst of the global pandemic, marketers who have not been able to translate their brand promise into actions and drive meaningful connections with consumers through presence and differentiated positioning might have missed the biggest opportunity.


By Andisa Ntsubane Interim Chief Marketing Officer, Old Mutual Limited

NM Partners represent articles published in paid partnerships with corporate organisations. They include press releases, targeted content, and other forms of corporate communications on behalf of our Paid Partners.

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Ikeja Electric bags Most Philanthropic Disco award

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Ikeja Electric signs pact with Onigbongbo Residents Association

Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), Nigeria’s biggest Electricity Distribution Company has been adjudged the 2020 Philanthropic Electricity Distribution Company of the Year, at an Award Ceremony organized by CSR Reporters, a specialized news publication with concentration on how organizations and well-meaning individuals are giving back to the society.

According to the organizers, the award was given in recognition of IE efforts to give back to the society in which it operates. The citation read that Ikeja Electric was selected because it demonstrated integrity and transparency while engaging in several corporate social responsibility interventions in 2020.

“As you may know, many other companies were also nominated and because of the high caliber of the nominees, the Selection Committee deliberated long hours and gave careful consideration to all of them. Ikeja Electric stood out as a leader who exemplifies dedication to CSR,” the organizers said.

While thanking the organizers for the recognition, IE’s Head of Corporate Communications Felix Ofulue reiterated the company’s commitment to continue giving back to host communities through its Personal-Corporate Social Responsibility (P-CSR) interventions.

According to him: “We will continue to intensify efforts to make meaningful in the lives of the people and the society. Our P-CSR platform enables the company and employees to carry out charitable activities aimed at making considerable impact on the different levels of the society. Under the P-CSR programme, we also have a Volunteer Scheme (EVS) which enables our employees to voluntarily contribute their time and resources towards the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate. These goodwill activities further corroborate our commitment to touching lives in the environment where the company operates. No doubt, this will further strengthen the trust and mutual relationship between the company and communities.”

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He also urged the CSR Reporters to increase awareness in CSR activities as it will encourage other companies to recognize and contribute immensely to the development of communities where they operate.

In the recent past, Ikeja Electric has been carry out sustainable CSR initiatives, aimed at enhancing the quality of lives, in the key areas of Youth Empowerment, Healy and Primary Education

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Here’s why Leadway Pensure PFA should manage your Retirement Savings Account

With several pension fund administrators to pick from, here are 4 reasons why Leadway Pensure PFA Limited should be your first choice.

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Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders with Leadway Pensure have every reason to smile as the firm continues to deliver excellent customer service and more importantly, high yield on investments.

In October, for instance, all RSA funds across multiple investments in the company outperformed their stipulated benchmarks. RSA I had 32% annualized return against a 25% benchmark; RSA II returned 25% against a 23% benchmark; RSA III returned 20% against a 15% benchmark, and RSA IV returned 18% against a 9% benchmark. This is really impressive, especially during this time of economic uncertainties.

Interestingly, the National Pension Commission has just opened the transfer window for RSA holders to freely transfer from their existing PFA to another one.

This transfer between PFAs can only happen once a year and is designed to help RSA holders assert the right to choose a Pension Fund Administrator with excellent service delivery and great returns.

What this signals is that there is absolutely no reason to keep a fund manager that does not offer competitive returns or does not give you a wholesome pension experience.

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With several pension fund administrators to pick from, however, it could be daunting deciding on which administrator to go with. You need not be flustered!

Here are 4 reasons why Leadway Pensure PFA Limited should be your first choice.

  • Brand Heritage – Leadway Pensure is part of the Leadway Group, a strong brand that has led the non-banking financial sector for 50 years. You see? Track record is top notch! Beyond that, Leadway Pensure is one of the most capitalized PFA’s in Nigeria with an authorized share capital of N2.0 Billion and shareholder’s fund in excess of N4.0 Billion, unimpaired by losses.
  • Competitive Returns – Leadway Pensure has consistently delivered returns above the inflation rate, thereby preserving the wealth of its customers. If you care about the returns on your investments, then Leadway Pensure is the right place to be
  • Customer Service – Leadway Pensure has won the best PFA in customer service back to back. Talk about excellent service delivery? Simply unrivaled!
  • Accessibility – Online Enrolment Portal, Mobile App, Interactive SMS, Pensure Online (P-Online), SureCal (Pensure Calculator) are all platforms that give you transparent access to your funds and your manager.

With Leadway Pensure PFA, you are assured of returns on investment and value protection from economic downturn.

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Need we say more? Choose Leadway Pensure PFA – choose comfort and wealth!

Visit https://joinus.leadway-pensure.com/ to learn more about how to move your Retirement Savings Account to us.

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Visa report highlights ecommerce as key to unlocking merchant revenue growth during the festive season

According to the VCA report, most small businesses have taken bold steps to prepare for the seasonal sales activity that kicks-off with Black Friday.

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If small businesses can provide easy access to information, frictionless payments, a simple returns policy, and personalized shopping options, they are likely to have an immediate advantage in the marketplace.

This is according to Visa Consulting & Analytics (VCA) report titled Accelerating the shift to eCommerce, where 81% of customers indicated they are willing to pay more for a good customer experience.

“Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) that leverage eCommerce solutions; which provide excellent online shopping experience for consumers; have the opportunity to benefit from high spend periods like Black Friday and the coming festive season compared to businesses who have not mastered the importance of holistic back-end design of the customer journey,” says Kemi Okusanya, Vice President, Visa West Africa.

The move to increased online shopping comes on the back of most retailers driving their customers online due to different lockdown restrictions that affected in store foot traffic. Visa’s  Covid 19 Impact Tracker, released earlier this year showed that up to 68% of consumers were going to grocery stores less often. As the retail sector looks to driving recovery, the approach to periods like Black Friday has also evolved and further necessitated safer, better online payment experiences.

“The impact of a bad payment experience can be devastating. When a shopper abandons an online shopping cart due to checkout friction, the data shows that 67% end up leaving for a competitor or never complete the purchase anywhere, and 59% say they are less likely to shop with that same retailer again,” adds Okusanya.

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It’s encouraging that most small businesses (60%), according to the VCA report, have taken bold steps to prepare for the seasonal sales activity that kicks-off with Black Friday. The preparation includes changing their infrastructure and digitizing their business.

“The VCA report highlights how the payment experience is a critical touchpoint – a part of the customer journey, which requires special attention. Each time a potential customer reaches the checkout page, they have a moment to reflect on whether the effort needed to make the payment is equal to the value they get from their purchase.  To win prospective and repeat customers, SMBs need to have a digital presence during the discovery and evaluation stages of the customer shopping journey,” concludes Okusanya.

Digital payments provide a convenient and secure way to pay for customers. For businesses, they reduce the friction arising from handling money, limit customer queuing, grow their customer base as a result of enhanced experience and eventually improve sales and profitability. As online shopping becomes the norm for consumers and businesses continue on the road to economic recovery, digital payment and in particular frictionless e-commerce experiences, will become a competitive advantage for small businesses.

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About Visa Inc. 

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, https://www.visa.com.ng/ and @VisaAfrica.

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