Retelling the African Story

BY TAPPING INTO POP CULTURE, BRANDS ARE ATTEMPTING TO ERASE STEREOTYPES THAT BESET AFRICANS

martin-bekerman-391453-unsplash.jpg

Across Africa, we are seeing a number of forward-thinking brands attempting to rewrite the narratives the world have held Africans by. Retelling the African story has become imperative and brands are holding hands with Africans to effectively tell do this.

Long before I was born, there have been a number of stereotypes the world seems to attribute to Africa and truthfully those labels don’t tell the real African story. We are not poor or lagging, we are lions (courageous and daring) and we are consistently pressing towards the mark (heading for glory). Africa is beautiful and the world owes it to itself to see this. Little wonder why a number of brands have begun to make efforts to erase these unhealthy stereotypes.

Emirates in conjunction with BBC have decided to bring remarkable Africans together to retell the African story from the works they do. These are exceptional Africans who have attained a good feat doing amazing things all over the world and as such Emirates, BBC, and these young people have curated what they now call the African anthem.

Tafer Lager seized the opportunity presented in the form of a celebration of the Namibian independence to show us that “there’s more that connects us than divides us”. With the pleasant sounds made by Namibian drums, the brand shows the unity and love that exists in the hearts of Africans.

So as it is, brands are doing their bit in trying to retell the African story but the question I present to you who are reading this article is, what story are you telling? Does your story buttress the stereotypes or do they tell the real African story?

Story Selling

THE TREND IS SHIFTING FROM STORYTELLING TO STORY SELLING

If you have been an ardent reader of this blog you would know that we have seemingly become a broken record talking about what brands are doing in order to stay relevant and ensure sustenance. Well, that’s why we are here though – we exist to bring trends to your notice in real time. We are the Gandalf The Grey of trend watching “you (trend) shall not pass”!

In this article we will be showing you a trend that advertising is employing to help market their clients’ businesses. You know what, I am done with building your anticipation; I’m letting the cat out of the bag. Brands are employing the story selling strategy; this has proven to be very effective and as such it has become a trend in advertising. Like the video above, PepsiCo effectively told the story of how Pepsi is beyond okay and was able to smoothly sell the idea to us – I just finished my third can of Pepsi.

Leading Telecommunications brand, Airtel has been rolling out a series of interesting stories to sell their product and it been driving it home to subscribers and non subscribers who have seen them.

If you and your brand are yet to jump on this bandwagon, you are not late as this strategy in my opinion is timeless – everyone loves a good story and if you tell/sell it well we will buy it.

YouNiVerse –Be Super!

YOU ARE THE NEW SUPERMAN, YOUR OWN SUPER HERO

Source: Unsplash

Source: Unsplash

Do you like movies? I mean do you really absolutely love them? Then you must be a fan of the super hero movies that have flooded our Tv screens, comic books and cartoons over the years, thanks to DC and Marvel, and now in Africa there’s Comic Republic doing amazing things. I grew up wanting to be Wolverine, I always felt having metals grow out of my fist, was cool, and having the ability to heal no matter how reckless I might have been, was insane. Although I didn’t like how unkempt the character was made to seem sometimes because I’ve always liked the dapper, prim and proper association. Thinking about it, it’s weird how I never thought to be Superman. That would have been cliché though, everyone wanted to be him. Which super hero would you have loved to be?

If you answered that question in your head, it means they got you. These characters were designed to give you something to think about by letting you know the endless possibilities the mind can attain. For example, Superman could be the Kryptonian or he could be the regular news editor every day because he put his mind to it. That’s what actually makes you super –your ability to come to terms with who you are and who you want to be. There is the masked and the unmasked versions of you. Black Panther becomes the panther when he suits up but remains Prince T’Challa when he’s unmasked.

Source: Unsplash

Source: Unsplash

When you are in touch with your super hero side you won’t fall for just anything, your character is defined, your identity is revealed and your brand is recognized.

It’s time for you to step out of the shadows and save the world with that product you make or service you render.

Double Calling - A Nigerian Syndrome

NIGERIANS HAVE THE CULTURE OF SOMEWHAT DOUBLING THEIR WORDS AS A SIGN OF EMPHASIS AND OR EXPRESSION. WE LIKE TO SEE IT AS GIVING LIFE TO MERE WORDS.

Wait! Wait! Let me explain the topic, see I just did it. Apparently, Nigerians don't ever seem to think the use of one word is enough. I would like to support my own people and explain this behaviour by simply saying it is just for emphasis. Trust me, no matter how educated you are with your Univeristy Of Nigeria B.Sc and Harvard Masters, it is an unconscious habit, and if you are being sincere you are trying to recall a time(s) when you did it.

If you are non Nigerian, the probability that you just rolled your eyes and accompanied with head movements is high. Small Small sha. Oh! I just said take it easy or do it gently. I'm going to now try as much as possible and list out instances of such word usage and maybe add a Nigerian twist to its definition.

// Fast Fast: The normal way to express this would be "be fast" or" hurry up", but because Nigerians and impatience and their annoying counterparts who decide to be sluggish, fast fast is like a call to quick or speedy action according to the speakers time frame. 

// Now Now: Simply translates to mean immediately, at the moment, pronto; so if ever a Nigerian man tells you this words reconsider your actions we don't condone procrastination. Example, Ma can i go and buy the credit for you in 30 minutes, No go and get it now now.

// Wait Wait: Translate to standard English and you would be saying "hold on"; the only i can imagine this being used is during an all girl gist about boys of course.

Girl 1: Do you know, i just met this guy and he already wants to meet my parents

Girl 2: Wait  Wait (Hold On), isn't this the guy you met last week

// Small Small: Is an expression that mirrors the words take it easy, and also can mean why are you in such a hurry or impatient? So if you exhibit awkwardly impatient behaviours, expect to get words like madam (ma) or Oga (sir) small small nah.

Other ones include "quick quick", "today today". Having briefly said all this, I am of the opinion that we deserve our own indigenous dictionary to sell to tourists and IJGBs (I just Got Backs).  I can't seem to think of any other words. Could you help?

THE TREND OF STORYTELLING

YOU THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO END WITH INSTAGRAM STORIES? WRONG! SOMEONE ELSE IS JUMPING ON THE TREND OF STORIES AND YOU CAN'T GUESS WHO. 

Lady making Snapchat stories via gettyimages 

Lady making Snapchat stories via gettyimages 

Everyone is a storyteller consciously or unconsciously. Today, we document our life stories more than ever. With technology offering us multiple media (text, audio, visual etc.) and social media providing us diverse platform of expression, everyone is becoming masters in the art of storytelling.

WhatsApp, the very popular instant messaging app with over 1.2 billion monthly active users sending about 50 billion messages a day is jumping on an interesting trend introduced by SnapChat - the trend of stories. Social media which once started out with offering users the ease of sharing life stories via text, has evolved to photos, emojis, Gifs, videos etc. But with the emergence of Snapchat the way people consume and share stories have changed. Snapchat stepped on the existing crave of people to share what was going on their life and the hunger of others wanting to know this, by offering users 24 hours timed first person told stories. The fact that stories are timed makes consumers want to dig in fast and miss no moment, stories are authentic and relatable when told in first person and this was Snapchat’s major punch. In addition, story sharers are confident in the fact that every story shared won’t last forever, giving them the incentive to life in the moment and worry less about the consequences of the coming days. Instagram jumped on this trend when they realised how successful the feature was in bringing users and drastically affecting how people shared their information

WhatsApp which will be turning 8 on the 24th of February, 2017 is launching the 'Watsapp Stories' feature today. Just like Snapchat and Instagram stories, WhatsApp stories are to last 24 hours after being shared. WhatsApp has always made it possible for users to write short status updates within the app, letting their contacts know what they are doing or feeling.  With the new feature, WhatsApp is taking this option a step further by allowing users include photos and videos in a format reminiscent of Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories. The Status feature launches today on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phones. The company has announced that the feature will at this early stage be available in France and the Netherlands, followed by the U.K. and Spain on the February 21, and Italy, Israel, and Saudi Arabia on February 22 (all in Beta). The feature will be scaled up globally after this early testing stage.

WhatsApp-Snapchat faceoff via thenextweb.com

WhatsApp-Snapchat faceoff via thenextweb.com

Just like messages sent with the app, status messages are coded to stay end-to-end encrypted. The fact that WhatsApp uses phone numbers rather than user names to connect people may make it worrisome for many beacause this will expose their private life stories to everyone including friends, business partners and any other person who is a contact on Watsapp. Status messages are viewable to anyone who saves a user’s number in their phone. To tackle this, WhatsApp privacy options has constantly evolved to help users set their privacy settings on a per-status basis, that is to say, one story maybe viewable to all amongst many other which could be kept private to be viewable by just selected best friends.Using algorithm based on previous interactions the app automatically determines which status messages a user is likely to want to open, thereby automatically downloading their content and making it ready to view as soon as one opens a message. Using this technology, WhatsApp might automatically download a photo from your constant messenger if the featureis turned on, but hold off on downloading a long video from a distant user.

WhatsApp on Mobile via copy9blog.com

WhatsApp on Mobile via copy9blog.com

Speculations are that facebook is also testing this feature and may add stories to their options. The current trend in social networking is telling and sharing stories in first person, original reportage style, almost unedited and uncut, just as reality TV show is taking over regular pre-produced shows, people are more comfortable with life outside extra cuts and extra edits.

I'm sure Nigerians can't wait to get their hands on the new feature from WatsApp.