21 June 2012 7 Comments

African brands’ Communication: Time to step up the game

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

African brands’ communication is picking up faster in the past few years when  to two decades ago. Some of the brands with origin in Africa are raising their wings against other competitive brands across the world.  No thanks to the level of technology. Africans and its brands are fast embracing technology use. As much as this is true, African brands still have a long way to go. The level of scepticism still varies from one country to another. South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria may be some of the leading users of technology but other African Countries are still battling with certain teething challenges which had prevented early adoption. Even some of the so called big fours still have issues.

The more Africa’s foremost brands continue to wait for the right time, the more foreign brands will continue to dominate the continent’s market. Communication is highly essential to awareness creation, support building and visibility among other factors that will aid brand engagement.

It is a fact that many brands in Africa have not seen the need to create  positions for online Media specialists who can help guide adequate investment and promote the brand in what is now accepted as the foremost market square-The internet. Internet and by extension, search engines or World Wide Web seems to be the point of call for most young and generation X and Y consumers. Brand consumers today often feel the brand from the pulse generated by their peers who are also checking out brand’s attitudes, performance, ratings from their friends online.

The real market square, like the old African Village square, is the Web which has become the centre of action or attraction. Lack of adequate investment in this place will continuously keep African brands in the dark. If African Brands must step up their games, certain urgent actions are required. Here are our thoughts in this regards:

African Governments must provide enabling environment: African governments must invest in relevant infrastructures that can support internet or technology usage. It is a common fact that many African Countries are still struggling with low band with when the advanced countries have gone beyond this level. To do this well, we suggest corporate technocrats should begin to take interest in public governance.

Brand must place value on technology use: Many African brands are not walking their talks. They only place lip service in ensuring adequate investments are made in acquiring relevant and modern technology. We must acknowledge some of our brands are trying their best but if we must meet up with the rest of the world, we need to increase brand’s investment in technology more than ever before.

Build internal capacity/hire professionals: There is no other time than now when staff capacity must be built. Brands must begin to see the opportunities presented by technology and hire relevant digital media specialists who can help enhance the game. Two kinds of professionals are required here: back end and front end. The back end professional should be core IT professionals while front ends are professionals trained in people and human relations with a bias for digital media usage. Each of this group has their advantage. They should not be substituted if brand aims to get the best returns on investment.

What is your opinion?  Join the conversation by leaving a comment/thought.

7 Responses to “African brands’ Communication: Time to step up the game”