An encounter with Adewale Obaseki.

“You need to start from where the consumer is.” – Adewale Obaseki

Recently, I was privileged to be part of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana’s (CIMG) event dubbed “An evening with Adewale Obaseki“. Mr Obaseki is the Managing Director of TNS Ghana; a leading international market research company, which provides clients with a full range of quantitative and qualitative insight services.

Among other memorable takeaways from the event under the theme  Integrated Marketing Strategy in a Digital Ghana, the quote above happened to be one of many, which made an indelible imprint on my memory.

The subject matter of his presentation, which was on “Connecting with the connected consumer” was of much interest to me and right from the word go, Mr Obaseki didn’t disappoint. They say Nigerians can talk but I believe the learned ones among them know their stuff. As someone trying to cut my tooth and make a mark in digital marketing, the rich, researched and informative presentation was what i needed to cap a wonderful day.

He began his attention grabbing presentation by giving participants a clear understanding of the digital trends in Ghana. As he went through the slides with us, detailing the trends in the digital marketing landscape in Ghana and the implications for Marketers, i was just spell bound throughout his delivery.

Occasionally, I scanned through the room to gauge the reception. Was i the only engrossed one? No i wasn’t. The whole room of Marketing and Communications professionals were glued and every submission from him got people nodding their heads in approval.

From his presentations,  i highlighted the following points, which i believe reflects exactly the very trend in Ghana.

  • The world is going mobile and in emerging markets such as Ghana, the preferred channel for accessing information is the mobile phone.
  • The first thing most connected Ghanaians do after waking up is to pick their phone and the last thing they do before going to bed is to pick their phone.
  • The prime time is no longer the only opportune time. With the emergence of social and digital media, there are now micro moments. People are connecting throughout the day on social media. Thus marketers cannot wait for the prime time news to connect with consumers.
  • There is social fragmentation and the world is going social because people want to connect. About 2.7 billion people are on social media.
  • The two key activities connected consumers in Ghana engage in on social media is insta-messaging and social networking.
  • On average, the connected Ghanaian is using 3.1 social platforms per day and this is probably more with the younger generation.
  • Connected consumers in Ghana are not necessarily closing their Facebook accounts but moving onto new platforms and marketers need to move along with that pace.
  • Connected Ghanaians on the average spend 3.4 hours a day on social platforms and 88 percent of that is through mobile.
  • The top 3 platforms being accessed by connected Ghanaians are Whatsapp, Facebook and Facebook messenger.
  • Connected consumers are giving out information for free in exchange for free service and information.
  • Four (4) dominant activities are common among connected Ghanaians. These are Insta-messaging, Social networking, News and sports and Gaming.
  • When deciding which social platform to use Reach and Efficiency should be taken into consideration. Marketers cannot focus on just one platform/channel because one platform amplifies the other.
  • Content isn’t Key but King.
  • Consumers want to be engaged with the content they want.
  • More people are consuming video than ever before and so it is no longer about the medium but the content.
  • The connected consumer wants a personalised content.
  • 70 percent of connected Ghanaians indicate that they are willing to engage brands online.
  • Connected consumers indicate that they want to connect more with the  Financial services online.
  • Connected consumers in Ghana are only using a handful of applications. For most people, just a few days or months after downloading an app, they delete it.
  • E-commerce is taking over the digital landscape.
  • Digital is breaking entry barriers. It is causing disruptions and giving people a lot of choices to choose from.

I found his information useful. I hope you will find it too. Let us have a conversation on his presentation. To help you have a better picture of it, i have provided an info-graphic summary of his presentation below.

Enjoy!

Source: TNS Ghana

2 reasons why I love Tigo’s Yenso Nkoaa promo and TVC.

It has been months since Tigo launched and ended the “Yenso Nkoaa” promo. Like the young boy shouting “time aso oooo!”, i believe the time is right for me to share thoughts I harboured about this promo on my blog.

Below are two reasons why i like this promo and its TV commercial. Enjoy!

  1. The company (Tigo Ghana) is responding to a social problem, while equally using their brand to sensitize Ghanaians on the need to conserve power (I know some who don’t agree with the calls to conserve power because it makes no sense to conserve power in our dumsor situation).  Thus even though they are meeting subscribers halfway through this promo, they are also telling us not to lose sight of the fact that we have to conserve the little power we have in such trying times.As Robert Philips in “Trust me, PR is dead” notes, Social is the new normal not just because of social media or social business but social impact, social enterprise and social value. 

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  1. They employ the element of storytelling interspersed with a hint of humour.The storyline/scenes employed in the advert is one everybody who is experiencing the dumsor in Ghana can relate to. From, the boy shouting ‘Time aso ooooo’ (Time is up), the barber working hard to beat the time, the guy who gets into a “flash-like” mode just to finish his ironing, the lady by the roadside who has to give directions ASAP upon realising her phone is low on battery, to the couple who can’t wait another day to finish the movie so they speed it up, one realises that these scenes are scenes every one of us has in one way or the other experiences during this period of dumsor.My favourite part is when the barber calls on Auntie Mercy to help him out.  Did you see the look on his face? That part cracks me up.

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While critically analyzing the TV Commercial (TVC ) for this promo, the interesting thing is that you see each of the prizes they are giving out connects with the scenes mentioned above. These prizes are:

– 90 generators

– 12 power invertors

– 1260 rechargeable lamps.

– 450 power banks.

Can you see the connection? If you can, good work. If you can’t, we can chat over them later on.

Hence, it can be realised that they have been able to do  a very good environmental scanning and segmented the power needs out there for those they are targeting with this promotion.

Overall, there seems to be nothing about this promo or the TVC that one can term a fault. The company once again does a good work with the whole promo concept, in addition, the advert which is used to sustain interest in this 90-day promo.

Personally, I can only agree with Jensen, L (2001), who will say this is an Economic, Legal, and Socially Responsible Company.

Do you have any thoughts on this promo? Let’s have a conversation.

Global PR Summit, Accra.

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In February 2016, P World in collaboration with the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) Ghana, will assemble PR, Brands and Communications professionals under one roof for the Global PR Summit.

This must-attend event finally comes to Ghana, after phenomenal success in 17 different countries and will be taking place from 18-19 February 2016.

Among others, it will focus on the latest challenges and trends in the ever-changing global PR world with special focus on visual PR, content PR, digital PR, crisis communications, CSR and reputation management.

Speakers lined up to speak and share insights at the summit are some of the top-notch PR and Communications professionals, with years of experience from academia and the PR industry.

For more information on this must attend event, visit http://www.thepworld.com/pevents/event/109/global-pr-summit-accra.

If you are a PR/Communications professional or cutting your teeth in the profession, mark it on your calendar as one of the must-attend events for 2016.

See you there!

My thoughts on Tigo’s “Drop that yam” Tv commercial.

12112428_10153164692617543_1226972682093827670_nA few months ago, Tigo’s “Drop that yam” won Advert of the year (2014) at the Chartered Institute of Marketing Awards ceremony.

From the moment i spared some time and bundle to watch this Television commercial (TVC) online, i believed that it was destined to win an award. The good news is that it did and so, i quickly went through my archives and exhumed a piece i did on it somewhere in November, 2014. Below is a complete piece of it. Enjoy!

I love TV commercials (TVC’s). In fact, I love the very few, nicely couched, and thought out ones on our screens, which make intermission time worth looking forward to. To put it rather bluntly, since I returned from my academic exile a month ago, I often find myself appalled by some of the things we call adverts that sometimes I just have to tune my mind off or just be left to the mercy of watching such “horrors” in total disbelief.

But yesterday, for the first time, since I came back from the UK, i think I found one that in all aspects can be called a Tv commercial. In fact, I love it and had to tweet to ‪#‎tigoGhana‬ commending them for a great piece of work. In saying this,  let me hasten to add that the company have over the years shown that they have some creative minds behind the brand. This is because the “honey kuchikuchi” commercial easily comes to mind as another masterpiece from their fold. Do you remember that ad? That one really was an attention grabber and one which easily elicited recall.

I believe that you may have watched the “Drop that yam” commercial from the stables of  Tigo Ghana or still be wondering what I am referring to. Don’t worry. I have attached the commercial for your viewing pleasure.

I have been heed over heels in love with the ad that Farida Shaibu, my annoying journo friend called and inquired why I am raving and ranting about the commercial and what was so special about it. Thus if you see nothing special about it, you are not alone. She thinks I am making so much of a fuss about an ordinary commercial but I think that the reasons i will elucidate and elaborate below will convince her and countless others that this commercial was well thought out and executed to achieve the desired impact.

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To this end, i present to you six (6) reasons why I believe the commercial “rocks”;

1. Use of personalities many know and can identify with
In the commercial, one can identify some known faces but I would like to highlight on three. The likes of ‪#‎NaaAshokor‬ (now Mrs. Cabutey) and the gentleman who plays Josh in the XOXO series. Naa, is not just an established face on our airwaves and screens but represents the face of the up and coming Ghanaian (young generation). She is someone the young Ghanaian lady or guy, who aspires to make it to the top of their game can identify with.

Also the use of ‪#‎MercyAsiedu‬, a local language actress, resonates well with another section of a target audience. In the advert she seems to know so much about the smart era (talks about the smart phone and how it facilitates communication on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, et al) and thus sends a message to our middle aged folks that notwithstanding your age, you can still remain smart and savvy in this dispensation.

2. Use of a special life event to convey a product message
Personally, I loved the knocking ceremony scene. Maybe as someone who desires to get married in the not too distant future, it appeals to me (don’t tell my “You know who” that i said so). But I believe that this life event is something everyone can identify with and the use of that concept is apt and how they kept it simple (not too crowded) was just relevant to achieve the desired hook.

3. Identification of target audience and use of both the local language (Akan) and English
While watching the commercial, one thing which struck me was the use of both English and Twi by Mercy Asiedu. She brings both audiences to an easy comprehension of what the commercial seeks to convey. Also, it goes to show who is/are being targeted – the learned and the ordinary man at Kantamanto.

4. Clearly highlighted the product or package details in the short sketch.
The commercial is exactly 1 minute and 2 seconds. Quite apt for a commercial that wants to achieve the desired results. Anything more than that (unless the commercial is educative and informative) makes an ad become a nuisance and people easily get bored with it. Despite the fact that it is  a 1 minute commercial, all the salient product or package information is highlighted by the actors and further reinforced with the product price, and place; with the  latter two being spelt out at the end of the commercial.

5. Kept the concept to the point and employed humour
Often, only a few commercials on TV gets you hooked, enables recall, enforces action or puts a smile on your face. This commercial has all of the above. It shows people what is on offer and what they can do to be part of the offer. In doing so, the use brevity was blatantly employed.

I remember one advise Mr. Yaw Odame Gyau, my advertising marketing lecturer back in GIJ gave us during one of his humour-filled lectures. He cautioned us to always endeavour to KISS (Keeping It Short and Simple) anything we do. The commercial employs this and like Mr Gyau’s lectures, the use of humour was used to spice up the short sketch. For me this enabled recall – a much needed end product every marketer and advertiser seeks to achieve.

5. The Yam concept
Last but not the least, that yam concept is a well known aspect of the Ghanaian society. In the Ghanaian society, it came to be accepted that when one had in their possession an archaic phone, you were said to be holding “y3l3 ponaa” or in some circles “Gomoa bankye”. It’s a concept that evokes humour among many. Thus one can realise that it is a familiar and not a vague concept; easily understood and so target audiences can identify with it very easily and don’t need to think so hard in order to comprehend the whole concept.

These are my thoughts on why I believe the “drop that yam” commercial rocks. Kudos to Insel Communications and the #TigoGhana team for raising the bar once again.

You may agree or disagree with my thoughts on this ad. Feel free drop your thoughts and let’s have a conversation around it.

Driving Employee Engagement

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Often people ask this very important question: What makes one organisation more successful than the other – is it superior products, services, strategies, or technologies?  The truth is that all of these contribute to the success and performance of A-listed companies, but the fact also remains that all of the above stated attributes will have no basis without one crucial element – people, employees, and workforce.

They create sustainable competitive advantage, and therefore, Return On Investment (ROI), company value and long-term strength. Research has shown that employees who are engaged significantly outperform work groups that are not engaged – thus a correlation between engagement and performance.

Employee engagement is a business’ backbone. It is the result of the psychological contract plus the experience that exists between an employee and the employer; the foundation of which is respect, trust, and performance. Over the years, most organisations have not factored this into performance management or just undertake it once a while because it has become a modern day fad.

It must however be noted that engagement is dynamic; it changes over the course of an employee’s tenure at the workplace and overall career as a consequence of multiple events and factors. Again, engagement is intrinsic and individual and so must be tailored to the segments of employees or individual preferences. This will require the employee’s voluntary connection to the business and to its purpose; which includes an emotional component to the workplace in order to achieve desired outcomes.

Thus, even though employee engagement entails an emotional connection, it also involves a rational component as the employee decides whether or not to be engaged, given his or her individual circumstances. An engaged employee is aware of the business context, and thus works with colleagues to improve performance within the job.

Research by Gallup, the American research-based global performance-management consulting company, describes engaged employees as being psychologically committed to a job, and likely to be making positive contributions to an organisation.

The story is told of a janitor who worked at the NASA. When he was asked what he was doing, he replied, “I am helping to put a man on the moon.” This employee realized that despite his position as janitor, he was making meaningful contribution towards the success of the business. This is what happens when people are engaged – they feel a sense of belonging and purpose and intrinsically contribute to business goals.

To this end, organisations must be interested and must play a fundamental role in encouraging employees to grow both personally and professionally. This should be continuously motivated to broaden employee horizons and assist them to fulfil their potential through exposure to a wide and varied range of learning and development opportunities, defined by the business, and evaluated at regular intervals.

What drives employee engagement?

Like every human endeavour, employee engagement does not just happen. It must be a conscious lifestyle embedded in the culture of organisations who wish to be relevant in a dynamic and competitive environment. According to MacLeod report there are four ‘broad enablers/drivers’ critical to gaining employee engagement. These are strategic leadership, engaging managers, employee voice and integrity.

Strategic Leadership: ‘a strong narrative that provides a clear, shared vision for the organisation is at the heart of employee engagement. Employees need to understand not only the purpose of the organisation they work for but also how their individual role contributes to that vision.’

It has been established that employees who have a clear understanding of how their roles align to organisational objectives put forth a third more discretionary effort. So in order to drive engagement and improve employees’ connection to the organisation, it is vital that we do not just encourage managers to explain that connection but enable employees to help each other understand how goals and roles set by the organisation translate into day-to-day work.

Engaging Managers: ‘engaging managers offer clarity for what is expected from individual members of staff, which involves some stretch and much appreciation and training…..treat their people as individuals, with fairness and respect and with a concern for employee’s well-being….. (and) have a very important role in ensuring that work is designed efficiently and effectively.’

The presence of engaging leaders or line managers is an important driver of engagement and this goes beyond job titles. The interpretation of an engaging leader or line manager, in this context, is someone who drives people to a common purpose and brings confidence to a team.

Engaging managers are the life blood of the engagement process. Top management visibility could be employed to prop up the process of employee engagement. This could be in the form of encouraging senior managers to ‘walk the floor’ and provide regular updates on the organisation’s strategic progress through corporate communication channels.

Employee voice: ‘an effective and empowered employee voice – employees’ views are sought out; they are listened to and see that their opinions count and make a difference. They speak out and challenge when appropriate. A strong sense of listening and responsiveness permeates the organisation, enabled by effective communication.’

The views of employees must be sought and factored into decisions. Employees must be able to make contributions and criticize when appropriate without any victimisation at the workplace. Top management must ensure that there is a symmetrical (two- way) flow of information and steps must be put in place to ensure not just the “pushing” of information to employees but also the “pulling” of information.

Research has shown that more than two-thirds of employees lack opportunities to contribute to the success of their organisation. Management should ensure that employees select and own initiatives for improving organisational performance.

Integrity: ‘Most organisations have espoused values and all have behavioural norms. Where there is a gap between the two, the size of the gap is reflected in the degree of distrust within the organisation; if the gap is closed, high levels of trust usually result. If an employee sees the stated values of the organisation being lived by the leadership and colleagues, a sense of trust in the organisation is more likely to be developed and this constitutes a powerful enabler of engagement.’

It has been established that in organisations where the actions of senior leaders support fairness, trust, respect for management and employees, teamwork and cooperation, there is a high level of engagement and a sense of affinity towards the organisation. This means there should be consistency in what is said and what is done.

Recognition and Appreciation: Another driver which is also crucial to employee engagement but which is not readily captured in the MacLeod report is Recognition and Appreciation. This demonstrates that employees are valued and that their contributions are acknowledged by the organisation. Recognition could also means that leaders notice the often unnoticed things that employees do to make their organisations successful.

For every organisation which seeks to build a strong base for its employee engagement drive in order to remain competitive in an ever changing business setting, these drivers of employee engagement is not a last resort but a first response. It does not require complex or expensive investment in new ways of working but it does need wholehearted support of senior managers through their leadership and strategic vision and through the enactment of line managers.

Having stated the factor that drive employee engagment, it must be noted that a number of factors cripple employee engagement. These include:

  • Line managers not being equipped with the relevant skills,
  • Organisational complexity – one engagement initiative may not fit all,
  • Communication – many organisations struggle to get the right message to the right individual at the right time,
  • Lack of buy-in and support from senior leadership.

In concluding, it has been established that gaining employee commitment and attachment has positive benefits for the organisation and the employees themselves. Engagement therefore comes about when people care about doing a good job and care about what the organisation is trying to achieve and how it goes about doing it. This caring attitude and behaviour comes about when people get satisfaction from the jobs they do, work effectively, and believe that the organisation supports them to.

Additionally, it is important for human resource managers and leadership to understand that each organisation or team is unique. Therefore making it necessary for them to know which drivers of engagement are most important to their people at any given time, and more importantly, which of these top drivers represent weaknesses in the eyes of their people so they can take action.

With the calibre of talent available to organisations and companies, it is critical to continually develop employees’ talent and engagement levels. If done correctly, these engagement levels can result in employees offering exceptional service to clients and the organisation.

Lebo Tseladimitlwa, Vice President of Human Resources at DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, notes that effective employee engagement policies which have the involvement of management can drive innovation, productivity and bottom-line performance, and should be utilised to counter adverse market conditions.

This was a piece i did, which was feature in the 2015 Quarter 2 edition of the HR Focus Magazine.