The Making of a Global Brand

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Despite the challenging operating environment, efforts of promoters of the Globacom brand may have paid off with its show at the 2019 Africa CEO Forum, reports Raheem Akingbolu

Taking a business from the level of a company to a recognisable brand is always the desire of most business owners. However, experiences over the years have shown that starting a business is easier compared to growing it into an admirable brand. This explains why there are many companies with minimal statistics of successful brands. But when the chips are down, having a recognisable brand is one of the most valuable assets a company owns.

According to Nielson’s Global New Product Innovation Survey, 59 per cent of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them. As a small business, the survey established that one may be competing against big brands with devoted customers. That’s why brand owners always find ways to differentiate–with a solid brand building process of their own.

Like few Nigerian brands that have become household names in the market, Globacom entered the market humbly about 15 years ago but with the ambition of becoming a brand that would command respect and be respected globally. With a clear vision, coupled with a properly aligned strategy and service offering, the Glo brand has grown from that humble beginning into a telecoms giant with admirable reputation that transcends the local market

Today, Glo has birthed in the market a new communication direction and technology roadmap, which will bring unparalleled broadband enabling digitalised future for all its subscribers across Nigeria and West African sub-region. With customer empowerment at the heart of everything it does, Glo has anticipated the future and is investing in relevant technology, designing game-changing products and services that provide best value to customers now and in future.

The great work that has gone into building the bank into a formidable banking brand, beyond just a cool logo or well-placed advertisement, but in terms of the cutting edge strategy and precision-driven, is not lost on industry watchers and has been fetching recognitions in various forms.

2019 Africa CEO and Globacom Recognition

In what looks like the highest recognition that has ever been bestowed on any Nigerian brand, Globacom reinforced its rating as a fast emerging global brand and successfully flew the Nigerian flag at the 2019 edition Africa CEO Forum as business leaders, policy makers, finance experts and global investors in the continent’s business environment, spoke glowingly of the values of the brand.

According to the President, Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed, the 2019 Africa CEO Forum was meant to “unite its 2,000 participants around a transformation agenda… What priorities must be identified to boost the level of intra-African trade and investment? What must a united Africa do to better protect its interests and industries? How can we mobilise the private sector around cross-border infrastructure and logistical projects?”

Speakers at the forum included Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbe; CEO of International Finance Corporation (IFC), Philippe Le Houerou; Amadou Diallo of DHL and Pierre Guislain of African Development Bank.

Others are Ambroise Fayolle of European Investment Bank, Mathieu Lamiaux of Boston Consulting Group, Luis Cunha of McKinsey & Company Africa, and Mustapha Bakkoury of Nigeria LNG.

The theme of the forum was ‘Open Africa: from continental treaties to business realities’, and it featured over 40 panels, private-public workshops, and case studies. Globacom was the apex Diamond sponsor of the event.

How Globacom stood out

Although some other Nigerian companies (such as BUA, Seplat and Standard Chartered Bank) participated in the forum, Globacom is believed to have stood out mainly because of the sterling outing of its Executive Vice Chairman, Mrs. Bella Disu, who chaired the “Women in Business”, as well as participated in the “Digital Economy” session.

Another strong point that observers admitted gave Glo an edge was the quality of what it brought to the forum. At the company’s exhibition stand, its array of digital solutions – mobile money, Artificial Intelligence, e-health, internet of things – generated a lot of interest among several CEOs from different countries who attended the forum.

Women in Business Session

At the “Women in Business” session, Disu talked about her journey to the top, especially how she became a director of four leading companies, including Globacom and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s apex construction company, as well as Abumet Plc, a glass and aluminum manufacturing company.

In a well researched lecture given by the EVC at the forum, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY, she encouraged women to strive for excellence and break the glass ceiling. She recommended determination, self development, confidence, enthusiasm for innovation and change saying these attributes assisted her in her steady ascension to the boards of the companies.

“There are no two ways about it, women must continue to advance, after all, we make up more than half of the world’s population. There is the need to have more women on boards of companies, but the women must show enthusiasm for innovation and change, build strong support network and be close to their constituents. They must show discipline and diligence, embrace their individuality, keep climbing the career ladder confidently, and when you get to the top, give a hand to those coming after you,” Disu said.

Digital Economy

At the “Digital Economy” session, the Glo EVC canvassed the need for governments across the continent to create a sustainable environment for telecommunication companies to connect cities and rural communities to the internet. She said this would help operators adopt digital solutions that would make Africa catch up with global trends.

She added: “The world is experiencing rapid digital transformation, and because we live in an exponential world, it’s no longer a question of ‘do I have to innovate’, we must innovate. So telecoms operators will spearhead this innovation. First, we provide the infrastructure, the network, the platforms and connectivity for digital transformation to occur, and the resulting effect is big data, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and internet of things, which connects everything to everybody. So businesses must run on new business models to stay in business”.

Presidential endorsement

As one of the few CEOs who held a private meeting with Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, Disu perfectly played the role of a brand promoter when she engaged the President in a private meeting after the opening session, where it was agreed that Globacom could use its massive infrastructure, including the Glo 1 international submarine cable, to drive digitalisation on the continent.

Kagame was quoted as saying that Africa’s hopes of achieving regional integration and economic growth would not be realised without modern technology. “I am pleased to note the success Globacom has made particularly in West Africa, and I want to urge you to see how you can extend this to other parts of Africa,” he stated.

At the meeting, the EVC said Globacom’s Glo 1 armoured submarine cable and digital solutions such as mobile money, artificial intelligence, E-Health, Smart Cognitive Learning and Smart Energy, could help Africa achieve a digitalised economy.

“I commend President Kagame for his exemplary leadership and for the tremendous success Rwanda has achieved under him. I also commend him for his role in ensuring that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement becomes successful. I have no doubt that greater regional integration will lead to continental growth and a more prosperous Africa,” Disu said.

Partnership

As part of its commitment to the development of Africa’s business landscape, prior to the top business leaders’ meeting, Globacom had announced its partnership with the Jeune Afrique Media Group and Rainbow Unlimited on the 2019 Africa CEO Forum.

At a meeting with the forum organisers in January 2019, Disu said Globacom was pleased to partner the organisers to provide a networking platform for decision makers to identify ways to improve intra-African trade and investments.

Globacom was the 2019 apex Diamond partner of the event and the telecoms company said this was part of its efforts to support initiatives that nurture Africa’s economic potential.

The company had emphasised that the event would provide a platform for chief executives of African businesses, international investors and policymakers to champion private sector-led growth on the continent.

“We share Africa CEO Forum’s objective of using regional integration to drive private sector growth and create more African champions,” Globacom said in a statement issued in Lagos before its team departed to Kigali.

Showcasing of digital solutions

Positioned as the grandmasters of data, Globacom was said to have leveraged the event to showcase its range of customised digital solutions.

Among other things, the company showcased how its extensive infrastructure, voice and data connectivity solutions could help the organisers of the forum and participants realise their objective of spurring Africa’s economic prosperity. A statement issued by the company after the event stated that some of the digital capabilities Globacom exhibited at the event included; artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, third generation of the industrial Internet of Things and 5G technology.

The telecoms service also showcased the strength of its Glo 1 submarine cable which is capable of providing internet bandwidth requirements of the West African sub-region. With the global recognition and the arrays of products been paraded in recent time, it is not in doubt that the Glo brand is not only working to top the chart in African telecom market but building a brand that would appeal to a global audience.