In this fast pace changing environment, we thought it would be prudent to come up with the entrepreneurial brand content generation manifesto for 2023 going forward.
This is in order to condition and position the brands from Africa and SMEs so that they are not drowned in the muddy water as a result of uncontrollable global events. As has been shared in our previous editions we remain competitive and relevant engaging with various stakeholders.
Just to look on it from a geo-political space, brands have been fought and conflicted by some matters uncontrollable, but necessary such as wars and chaotic elections.
Yes these have an impact on entrepreneurship and SME brand management. Since we have to remain/proceed to be leaders in production and be a source for livelihood we need to craft/wire our systems in such a way.
For instance, Nigeria suspended the social media microblogging platform Twitter in June 2021 and only lifted the suspension in January 2022. Yet communication is vital in the way we relate for brand publicity, sharing the brand promise(s) and vision.
In this perspective as a focus of this edition communication channels should remain available and accessible to the generality of users (who are our target markets). We then propose a four-point brand content generation manifesto for the entrepreneurs and SMEs in Africa, namely customer focus, inspiring, entertaining and educational content.
The age of churning content that premier the company’s products and services is over as a traditionally imposing to buy rather than providing customer freedom to buy (marketing myopia). In this era the customer has proved beyond doubt to be the king.
- Open letter to President Mnangagwa
- Feature: ‘It’s worse right now than under Mugabe’: Sikhala pays the price of opposition in solitary cell
- Masvingo turns down fire tender deal
- Human-wildlife conflict drive African wild dogs to extinction
An entrepreneurial value chain that places the customer at the end will not be successful.
Hence customer-focused content will help position customers’ needs and solutions to the overall brand and its objectives (which is at the centre of content generation).
The currency of the content being generated is to stimulate engagements and conversations. As usual, products and services are boring and do not stimulate much conversation until the content is of human interest and contributes to the running conversations or triggers new conversations altogether.
A focus on understanding better the customer needs and deep knowledge of your customer base adds on to brand competitiveness through building and sustaining a community of interest in all forms of media which are constant conversation.
Our manifesto, therefore, recommends that entrepreneurs and SMEs adopt tools and mechanisms aimed at better understanding their customers and create the baseline upon which content that is focused on the customer is generated.
The product and service, are the brand vehicle upon which the customers' needs are met, yet the content targets the need and solution as triggers for sustained conversations both online and offline.
This is when a brand wishes to make emotional connections, earn trust and seeks to fulfil a broader life purpose especially to the most targeted audiences. Those who will become advocates and ambassadors to convert referrals into real sales.
As we traverse into the year 2023, which can be viewed complex by those entrepreneurs lagging behind in their preparation, brands should aim to be part of the customer’s inspirational story.
The content communicates the high purpose brand trajectory within the customer-focused lenses as aforementioned. Which then seek to bring the best out of the targeted audience and inspire the community of the audience to do better through ordering and requesting more.
At the same time our SMEs will remain competitively engaged on the key issues that are life-changing rather than a general and blanket approach to delivery. Remember that if well-crafted content will inspire different groups according to their specific needs and wants of that moment.
This is the story of the country brand United Arab Emirates, which seeks to be the global hub of connectivity and host a diverse community worldwide. In doing so, the leadership built the tallest and most modern architectural design on earth, pushing the Emiratis to dream big and achieve extraordinary exploits in servicing the human race and unlocking the potential of humanity. Such that no matter the country of origin every visitor still appreciates that the dream I alive.
We seek to learn and share daily. Here we will move from the traditional classroom to fuse with streetwise knowledge led by educational content. As part of our manifesto, content should contribute meaningfully to the knowledge reproduction process.
The entrepreneurs in Africa and the SMEs should be resourceful and educate using whatever is available from our heritage to those born out of the modernised world. This is by becoming a repository for brand knowledge creation and management. Of course at the same time riding on free online tools that facilitate explainer videos, infographics, tutorials and webinars aimed at bridging the knowledge gaps within our broader markets.
This indicates that companies should start investing in the skills for the future brand content mix.
In the age of a rush to the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that has caused carnage in the labour markets as reflected in the previous edition.
SMEs should start investing in how AI will enhance the interactive content generation and facilitate informed conversations with the targeted communities.
This is the space that is for highly confident brands that are relevant and consistently delivering on their promises. Our manifesto is that for 2023, be confident and trade within this space as it has the capacity to retain a community of followers and supporters that can be monetised and act as brand ambassadors through the sharing economy both online and offline.
However, for this to happen, the brands need to build on a culture and strategy of perpetual innovation that is spearheaded by digitalisation.
Brands should strive to innovate consistently and provide solutions to unmet customer needs.
When this culture is established, then it is easy to constantly churn out entertaining content that allows customers to laugh at their realities and consider themselves as part of a hilarious connected community of brand users.
It is from this brand content generation manifesto for 2023 that we hope the entrepreneurs and SMEs are better off positioned to build and manage competitive brands that are relevant, engaging and sustainable in the long-term future.
We hope that the brands will interface with any unfriendly events. On the other side remaining stronger, more resilient in service of the peoples of Africa and the world’s needs.
- Dr Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is the head of business science at the Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. His doctoral research focused on business administration (destination marketing and branding major, Ukzn, SA). He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies in Zimbabwe and Africa. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at [email protected], WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871, Website www.fachip.co.zw
- Dr Tabani Moyo is a doctor in business administration (research focus on new media and corporate reputation management, UKZN), chartered marketer, fellow CIM, communications and reputation management expert based in Harare. He can be contacted at [email protected] @TabaniMoyo (Twitter)