BrandArena: June 2011

Thursday 30 June 2011

MTN Expands Hynet Internet Service Coverage

In order to further fulfill its last year promise to extend the benefits of service to more cities and towns in Nigeria, MTN, Nigeria’s leading telecommunications company, has continue to extend its revolutionary internet service, the WiMAX internet service, MTN HyNet.

The Yello GSM Company is consistently investing in its network to boost capacity in order to give its esteemed subscribers unparalleled quality of service. Activation of the service is coming on the heels of the successful launch of the service, in Lagos, Ilorin, Kaduna, Warri, Makurdi, and Oshogbo. This brings the total number of cities where HyNet has been activated to eight.

MTN HyNet, which used to be known as MTN HyConnect Wireless Internet, is one of the solutions from the stable of MTN Business, MTN’s comprehensive range of solutions, focused on assisting businesses realize their full potential by availing them of an array of productivity-enhancing solutions.

According to the Enterprise Solutions Executive, MTN, Babatunde Osho, the service is suitable for consumers and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) that require reliable, stable and easy to set up Internet connectivity for their homes and offices.

MTN HyNet is primed to bring efficiency and convenience to offices and homes, by providing an Internet service that offers unlimited downloads and multi-user capability at extraordinary speeds and pocket-friendly rates.

MTN HyNet offers multi-user functionality without the need for wires. With the inbuilt Wi-Fi capability, staff of an organisation can access the Internet wirelessly within a 50-metre radius. Home and office subscribers can now enjoy and share the Internet without limitation to the amount of data they can download. And very importantly, subscribers can choose from a variety of plans and their own download speeds.

The telecom company intends to extend MTN HyNet to more parts of the country before the end of this year.

FinBank to Hold FinSplash Savings Promo Grand Finale

In a bid to strengthen its brand equity, Finbank, one of the new generation banks, through its FinSplash Savings Promo is set to put smile on the faces of some of its lucky new and existing consumers with over N6 million worth of prizes in a national draw, scheduled to hold at The Lagoon Restaurant, Victoria Island, on June 29.

The lucky customers of bank brand will smile home with prizes such as a star prize of 1 Kia Rio Saloon car, 15 laptop computers; 10 LCD televisions (32 inches), 5 generators, Blackberry phones and other consolation prizes at the event. The promo, which commenced in December 2010, is designed to reward customers of FinBank for their confidence and patronage over the years.

The national draw prizes are aside from the over 570 prizes; including the N250,000 won by 16 customers in each of 16 zonal draws held between February and June this year.

Customers who were able to save and maintain a minimum deposit of N50,000 for 3 months since the commencement of the promo are qualified to participate in the national draw which will offer the prizes listed above.

In order to cater for the interest of all segments of its customers, the Bank has held 16 zonal draws across the nation between February and June, this year, where over 570 prizes have been won.

The national draw is the grand finale of all the draws and will bring the activities of the promo to a climax. Government functionaries such as representatives of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, The Consumers Protection Council (CPC) and other dignitaries - traditional rulers and the business community are expected to join customers of the Bank to witness the final draw.

Thursday 23 June 2011

7 Ways to Improve Blog Traffic in 30 Minutes or Less

Did you know, that as of this month, there are over 150 million public blogs in existence? And with that type of competition growing everyday, is the effort worth the prize? What makes a blog a rewarding a home run? and are you still wondering how to attract more visitors to your blog?

I did some research regarding this matter and there’s a lot of opinion on the subject. Some say sell advertising, some say to blog every day, some say to not write more than 200 words so the audience doesn’t get bored, others suggest tightly niche your content and others say wake up the dead with extreme controversy.

I do agree with them all, most importantly I believe that businesses need to write stuff that people actually want to read!

Before you start writing, ask yourself who the target audience is and what the do they really care about. Also ask your self these questions:

1. Why do you write your blog? To make money, to serve as marketing tool?
2. Have you clearly identified 3 other highly read blogs in your topic?
3. Do you subscribe to the feeds of your industry’s major players?
4. How is traffic being driven to their site? This takes some digging, but it’s important.
5. Does your niche topic have a big enough audience to tap?
6. Do you usually invite your readers to connect with you on Twetter, StumbleUpon and Facebook?
7. Does your content provide pragmatic advice? Is the writing original and thought provoking, Is it entertaining, or is it just sucking up your time and you should be doing something else?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, stop writing, talk a walk, read a book and start again.

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder... Best of luck!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Coca-Cola Mystery Shoppers Rewards Students

As part of showing appreciation to its consumers, Coca-Cola Nigeria, through its season of surprise activation, Mystery Shoppers, rewards 10 lucky students at Akoka area of Lagos.

The Mystery Shopper visited hitted the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Lagos and excited the students with cash prizes. The activation which has already been generating excitement across Lagos since June 7 has rewarded over 50 consumers, extending brand equity to the student, recently.

While some of the students were having their usual hang-out with friends and relaxation with their meals, snacks and/or a botlle to Coca-Cola drinks, when the strange personality known as the 'Mystery Shopper' accosted them and surprisely gave them an instant financial rewards of N10,000 each for drinking a Coca-Cola product.

The students: Adeshina Titilope, Samuel Setonji, Olowoporoku Ifedayo, Clarinda Eke, Oremeyi Onoguyi and others joined the number of customers of winners who have been rewarded with cash prizes in the on-going ‘Mystery Shoppers’, as the beverage maker continues to show appreciation in its 125th anniversary celebration.

The students described the promotion as a shock and surprising one. Some of them revealed that the instant cash prize will go a long way to help them solve some concurrent financial needs.

Samuel Setonji, a Mathematics student who was sited at the Unilag 2001 Cafeteria, Newhall with a PET bottle of Fanta said, “I came to the Cafeteria to take some snacks and decided to drink a bottle of Coke. I was so surprised when I was told that I have won the cash prize for me self for drinking my favourite beverage. Now, I can get my some new text books with the money and prepare ahead of class lectures”

One of the students who craved anonymous disclosed that the financial rewards will be used to complete his school fee. He stressed that the prize met his academic need at the right time and also thanked Coca-Cola for the promotion.

Mystery Shopper, an ingenious experiential marketing tactic created by Coca-Cola, has been going round town to surprise and excite anyone found drinking Coca-Cola products with instant financial rewards.

In 2010, Coca-Cola undertook a similar campaign that was praised by brand analyst as a good consumer engagement platform which will enhance equity to the brand.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Consumers Anticipate Excitement For Sprite Triple Slam New Season

The Sprite Triple Slam (STS) an annual event experience that brings together a blend of Basketball, Music and Dance has kicked-off in earnest. The 2011 season media unveiling was done in Lagos amidst heavy Basketball, Music and Dance, giving members of the media and other stakeholders in attendance an opportunity to have hands on experience of the Sprite Triple Slam.

As the organizers of the event spoke through the Strategic Marketing Manager, Flavours, Bolajoko, Bayo-Ajayi, assured, “that this season will be bigger and better for those contesting for the STS”. “We have evaluated our performers for last year’s activation of the STS and have come up with certain modalities to make this year better than we’ve don”.

She further spoke on the participation by consumers. “This year individuals are allowed to pick a platform they are good in and perform as a solo act as against last year where a team made of 6 -3basketballers, 2dancers and a singer, which lowered the chances of the team members even if they did well. Because sprite is about individuality and having confidence in what you are doing, we are allowing individual act for basketball and music. Dance will still be two as we know the beauty of dance will be better appreciated when it is done by two persons which is why dance will remain two”.

Sprite Triple Slam which is targeted at the youth on campuses across Nigeria is already getting positive opinion from consumers. Tobonsun, a guest at the launch of the 2011 STS said, “STS is about fun at the same time enables youth to showcase their talents to the society. There are lots of youth with talent but no opportunity to project them, and am sure with the STS a lot of youth with burden talent will come and showcase them, from there you don’t know they can get to somewhere higher and better.” With optimism, she expresses that “even if this season of STS doesn’t produce the best dancer, basketball or singer Nigeria ever had, I belief that it would have produced someone that can showcase his talent and bring out the best of himself and eventually become the best in the future.

Another consumer Frank, whose excitement says, “the fact that this season allows individuals participate separately, I beliefs that it will create wide opportunity for lots more person to give it a try and the fact that the cash reward have also been increased to 1million naira for each contestant indeed is lot to fight for.

The STS which is billed to kick-off 1st of July to 28th of August, 2011, already commenced the digital campaign across the country on the platform of Facebook and SMS for people to register. The regional activation has been divided into Enugu, Calabar, Abuja and the grand finale in Lagos. The choice of these cities is to get a location that will serve as hub to the growing number of people who have being registering every year and to give equal opportunity to everyone.

The media unveiling saw a couple of daring journalists take on each other on their singing skills, while others showed their flexibility in dance to win lovely gifts at the occasion. The journalist who went through the rigor of the displaying their would-be talent before the judges watch of Eldee D don –an artist and music producer, Michael Egbebor, dance instructor of DNMT –Dance Na Main Thing, Mobolaji Akiode, former basketballer and one time member of the Nigeria Basketball Olympic team.

Journalist who won at the end of performers were; Yinka Adeporosi -National Mirror, Ella Olamiju –National Mirror and Yinka Adedipe- Guardian, coming first, second and third respectively in the singing competition. While Yinka Adedipe –Guardian, Ella Olamiju - National Mirror, and Goodie Ofosa –Daily Independence, taking the position of first, second and third respectively.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Nigerian telecoms needs urgent power supply

THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called on the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) to come up with stringent solutions in order to provide alternative power supply to telecommunication service providers in the region.

This move will enable them to deliver effective services for the consumer.

Engineer Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman of the commission, says the current telecommunication condition can affect the efficient delivery of quality services.

“We are always ready to discuss alternate power sources and prepared to partner where there are solutions to the problem,” says Juwah.

Juwah says the partnership is necessary for Nigeria’s rapid telecommunication development.

The issue of power generation and supply to base stations across the country has continued to generate lots of interest among the players who have had to generate their own power due to lack of required supply from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

Sim card registration process

Meanwhile, Juwah has also reiterated the security essence of the ongoing sim card registration across the country and the determination of the Commission to conclude the process within six months.

Juwah says the NCC had met with telecoms operators and the former National Security Adviser before the registration exercise and discovered that the operators had only registered eight million out of 89 million sim cards, thereby making it necessary for the regulatory authority to step in to fast track the process. There are currently 2000 sim registration centres across the country.

Juwah stated that NCC has mobilised needed infrastructure in the six geographical zones of the country to ensure the success of the mobile registration process.

Nigeria: States Adopts Re-branding As New Development Strategy

Rebranding and branding are two closely related marketing techniques traditionally associated with products and services. Recently, these marketing techniques have been imported by some state governments in Nigeria, taking up the challenge of branding and re-branding their various states, creating a new face and facilitating potential investors.

Nigeria had its first taste of destination branding with the Heart of Africa initiative which eventually dovetailed into the Re-branding Nigeria project.

States branding and re-branding trend is increasing day by day with states like Ondo, Rivers, Imo and most lately, Osun states, Ekiti State under the administration of Mr. Kayode Fayemi has also joined the convoy of states enthusiastic to give their destinations innovation and drive a unique perception.

The ‘New face of Imo’ campaign, by Ikedi Ohakim’s regime, designed to change the status of the state from a civil service state to an investment-destination. The state government has, in a subtle way, decided to use the Oguta Wonder Lake Resort, located at the outskirt of Owerri, the state’s capital city to drive this re-branding process.

In 2009, Ondo proclaimed a new dawn with logo and payoff. At the colourful event that gave birth to the new brand elements of Ondo under the leadership of Governor Olusegun Mimiko who said the name "Ondo State", laced with a sun-like design is spelt out in bold orange colour, which, he said, stands for vibrancy, brightness and progress.

This change of political administration in the South-West of the country has witnessed sudden rebranding approach in the zone with Ondo unveiling a new brand Ondo State with a payoff, "Ise Loogun Ise" which means ‘Hardwork is antidote to poverty’ from "Sunshine State", the former slogan of the state.

Last year, Rivers State government launched state’s rebranding campaign which aimed at mobilizing citizens towards modification of attitudes from bad to good, re-packaging of the state’s cultural and economic potentials, creating attractions for business with the aim of making the state recover its glory that was lost to high crime rates experienced in the past. The state governor courted most condemnation when he decided to rebrand the state at the twilight of his term in office. However, the state still engaged in the branding of Rivers, which are the logo and payoff.

Subsequently, on February 6, this year, the Osun State Government decided to rebrand the state, strategically changing the slogan and epithet of the state from her previous payoff - "State of the Living Spring" for "Omoluabi" - a good-natured gentleman.

Recently, Ekiti State government under the leadership of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also embarked on destination branding of the state towards consolidating on its virtues and attributes, which the people of the state are known for recently, when it unveiled a new identity. The identity comes with a new logo, colour and six elements that represent the unique selling points of the state and its people; thereby, adopted the "New Dawn" as against her previous unique selling proposition, "Fountain of Knowledge."

Following the creation of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, each Nigerian state was given a unique selling slogan. Some of which are Cross River State is the "People's Paradise," Lagos is "Centre of Excellence" Delta is the "Big Heart," Edo, is "Heartbeat of Nigeria," Adamawa State as "Land of Beauty," Akwa Ibom State adopts "Land of Promise," Anambra State is given "Light of the Nation," Borno State is "Home of Peace," Bauchi State rides with "Pearl of Tourism" and Bayelsa State gets "Pride of the Nation."

As much as the image of Nigeria and the state government needs to be upgraded at home and abroad, observers believes that rebranding is certainly not the solution as it amounts to treating the symptoms rather then the root cause(s) adding that the ideas behind the scheme are cosmetic, abstract and not convincing.

According to Ebuka Okwe, a marketing expert, "Yes, it is good to re-brand and reposition a brand, either personal or corporate. But then the re-branding has to be backed with concrete and positive actions that would affect the lives of the people and change public perception of the state in the prospects’ minds. I think this is possible for the states to create development at the grassroots level, most of those states have been experience positive change"

Gbenga Adeniyi, a political analyst said: ‘I think it’s not time to for all of these states to be branding or rebranding. These should be the time for every state to concentrate on the eradication of major problems in their states such as unemployment, lacking of small scale businesses support, lack of agricultural development. I think these is not the right time to go into branding and re-branding of states when the socio-economic platform for business survival, properties and life security as well as good roads, water and education are yet to be at least 60% in most of those states.’

Speaking further, he stressed, ‘We can not claim we want to create a new face for our states when there is no new concrete development in terms of infrastructures. Investors will always want to come to a place where they are at least sure of surviving socio-economically. We need to brand or/and re-brand but not yet.’

Sandra Akinola said, I think the reason why all those states are re-branding is to create a new impression that it is a new era of government. They want to be heard, that does not mean that its everyone of them that are really working. Those to be sincere, the newly installed governor of Ekiti and Osun state are showing that they are committed and I think they will really help their state and the country at large in development.

Bamidele Omolola, a political science student said, ‘I think the need for branding should be left beyond for now because I’m sure so many states in the country will start the lyrics of branding and re-branding despite nothing to show for it, after the country at large of suffered several years under the military rule. I believe the governors have herculean task to challenge with rather than re-branding. A lot of things need to be done before we can say it’s time for us to re-brand the logo, slogan and so on because it make no change when the people are living in poverty and lack of infrastructures.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Nigeria: CSR, A Tool of Economic Development

So far, corporate social responsibility is yet to play a vital role in Nigeria, and has not been the subject of a wider public discussion. Many Nigerian companies regard CRS as charity and a form of generosity to the society.

This element explores how the organization creates networks and partnerships within its CSR agenda. The relationships that the organization create and utilize are a vital part of the character of the organization. The quality of the relationships determines the success of the organization.

CSR initiatives in Nigeria have a positive impact on the society but what can also be observed in the theoretical findings is that many of the CSR initiatives are ad hoc and not always sustainable, sometimes even generating negative impacts on society. What the empirical research show is that the organizations involved in the field study all have similar programmatic areas, as for example community growth and health. These areas are of course of great significance if Nigeria is going to reach sustainable development.

In addition to benefiting society, CSR activities are often undertaken as a way of promoting a company’s image. Nigeria has a well-established “culture of charity”; wealthy individuals and institutions contribute to charitable causes and use these contributions to garner positive publicity. In this respect there is little difference between the political realm and private industry.

Companies in Nigeria are expected to promote transparency, even beyond what is required by law. This is encouraged by the government, which has made it clear that it has certain expectations, particularly of foreign enterprises. So far, however, there has been little response from companies despite the high priority attached to this topic because of Nigeria’s widespread corruption. Sustainable business activity is discussed by NGOs and the media, but not by the wider public.

According to the theoretical findings there are a myriad of definitions of CSR, each valuable in their own right, defined to fit the organization in question. According to the empirical findings this seems to apply for Nigeria as well with varying definitions in different organizations. It also appears that the majority of the organizations have adopted CSR definitions from the West.

Findings also revealed that philanthropic motive has the highest priority in Nigeria as well. This is confirmed by the empirical findings that show that the Nigerian companies in the field study perceive and practice CSR as corporate philanthropy primarily aimed at addressing socio-economic development challenges.

So far, development organizations in Nigeria have not had a great deal of experience working with companies in the field of CSR. This is due in part to their relatively limited areas of activity, as well as to the fact that companies in Nigeria – unlike those in most African countries – have a wide range of business opportunities unrelated to development, however, that companies might seek out the expertise of such organizations in the future, as Nigeria’s prospects concerning CSR are prepared more clearly.

If CSR is going to develop as a mean for creating sustainable businesses in Nigeria, as well as improving the conditions of its citizens we might need to consider how a CSR concept can be developed that not only MNEs can embrace but also the SMEs in both the informal and formal sector. The question is how to develop a local/regional agenda that to a great extent has been market-driven as well as a response to concerns of the rich country stakeholders of Nigeria.