Â ELEVATING TO THE NEXT LEVEL
By Marie-Therese Phido
Many of us know that many businesses and brands are struggling today. The truth too, is despite how robust the economy may be, some entrepreneurs will still struggle with the task of managing a business in dire straits. Almost every business during its life time will experience a threat to its existence.
This phase is usually characterised by: a lack of capital, harsh business environment, low sales, poor morale, little or no innovation or strategy, poor manpower, difficulty in procuring production materials, unfriendly government regulation, incompetent management, competition and many more.
The textile industry as an example has been badly hit by many of the scenarios adduced above; where over 104 textile companies in Nigeria shut down due to the combined factors of an unfriendly manufacturing environment and the huge incidence of smuggling and importation. A resultant effect of this closure was, over 200,000 workers losing their jobs.
Many other businesses are slowly dying or require strategies to revamp their brands. These brands are in all major segments of the economy: financial services, energy & natural resources, publishing, telecoms and traditional retailing â€“ online buying sites are the trend now. Many of us know of at least one dying brand in each of these segments. Most of these businesses are dying because of the poor habits of entrenching sustainable strategies and not understanding how technology and innovation can affect a business. As we all know technology can make or mar a brand.
In the same vein, we have brands that were almost dead, have survived and are beginning to thrive. A good example is Union Bank, which I have used as an example before but very relevant in this article because there are very few organizations that have achieved the turnaround success that it has. As at December 2016, Union Bank recorded a profit of N15.bn, a jump of 5.8 percent from the previous yearâ€™s posting. A few years before then, the banks profit, was not at all significant.
According to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, the bank had two independent tasks in revamping its brand, â€œdealing with existing and operational services and affirming its position in the Nigerian banking sectorâ€. We can all attest to the fact that Union Bank has achieved its aspirations to a large extent.
Another good example still in progress, is Natcom Development & Investment Limited (Ntel), that acquired the core telecom asset owned by Nitel/MTel, in a liquidation process supervised and approved by the BPE.
Ntel has done a good job of revamping its brand. Its objective is to â€œredefine the Nigerian telecommunications landscape and enrich the lives of Nigerians by delivering the most advanced communication technology across the largest possible network coverage in the most effective, valuable and satisfying mannerâ€. Has it achieved the above objectives? I will say it is on its way.
But, has it succeeded in changing its image and brand perception from the old Nitel/Mtel, in my view, I will say a resounding yes! If it continues on its present trajectory and remove the â€œbutsâ€ from its strategy, the organisation will succeed.
In view of the above, what are the strategies for reviving a brand and using Tito Philipâ€™s seven strategies:
â€¢ Re-evaluate the situation. When doing this, consider the following: business strategy, people, customers, products, processes and finance.
â€¢ Re-define your strategy. Create the framework and plan by redefining your purpose, vision, mission, values and brand.
â€¢ Re-employ People. People make or break your business. To resurrect your business, get the right people on board and get the wrong people out.
â€¢ Re-innovate products. Lack of innovation is one of the warning signs of a dying business. This is because, people, market and technology change. If you do not change or innovate with the trends, your business is doomed.
â€¢ Re-brand, marketing. This involves giving your business a new meaning, a face-lift and a new brand identity. It will require coming up with new marketing campaigns, new logos, new brand colours and new taglines to let the market know that the business is no longer the same.
â€¢ Re-finance. Source for finance and start with internal sources: personal savings, sale of some fixed assets to raise funds, cost cutting by reducing operational expenses. After you have exhausted all internal options, then seek external sources, which include: borrowing from family, friends, angel investors, bank loans, etc.
â€¢ Re-work Execution. Redefine processes, have goals and key performance indicators per entity and role.
As you can see, the entities used as examples above â€“ Union Bank and Ntel, went through these processes, to get to where they have gotten to today and are still on the journey of fine-tuning their transformation roadmap. You can do it too. Follow the steps above, or employ a consultant to help you. All businesses can be revived. With discipline and tenacity, you can achieve your dreams and take your business to the next level.
I went to the GTBank, Food & Drinks Fair over the weekend. My objective was to see food companies who were making a difference, were innovative, those with a twist or serving food from other jurisdictions. Many of the companies did not meet the criteria above. I was not interested in seeing nor tasting the norm. GTBank please look into this observation for next time.
Some companies intrigued me. Two I readily related to, were those that brought innovation into some of our everyday food. These were the â€œstew innovatorsâ€. I tasted and bought â€œReady Stewsâ€ and â€œObe Sauceâ€. These two products succeeded in authenticating our staple Nigerian stew into ready to eat packs.
â€œObe Sauceâ€, claims to have no preservatives, does not need freezing and requires no refrigeration. You only need to add your protein, oil, seasoning, simmer and serve.
While, â€œReady Stewsâ€, is fully cooked, you only add your protein and heat. They also claim to have no artificial colouring, flavours and preservatives.
I am giving both companies a holler! because the stews tasted real and I applaud their innovation.
Letâ€™s patronise them and encourage home grown innovators and manufacturers to succeed in our challenging business environment. We need many of them.
– Marie-Therese Phido is Sales & Market Strategist and Business Coach
tweeter handle @osat2012; TeL: 08090158156 (text only)