The Sauce and the Spice

DESIGN THINKING – THE INGREDIENT YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS TO KEEP UP WITH THE FAST-PACED EVOLUTION IN TODAY’S MARKET PLACE.

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The world is consistently changing and the speed can be likened to that of Arya Stark when she stealthily moved in on the Night Kind and drove a dagger through his belly in the recently concluded Game of Thrones series. Like the Night King, if businesses fail to take a hold of this speed or anticipate the next change (trend) then a dagger might be driven through its belly and put it out of business. Design Thinking is the ingredient businesses need to keep up with the pace (become agile) of customer evolution and ensure sustainability. My friend, Vin Diesel said in Riddick “if you can’t keep up, don’t step up”.

What is Design Thinking?

This is the art of adopting a process that keeps the consumer (target audience) as the focal point of your business. Many times businesses employ strategies as a result of data they dug up about their existing competitors – wrong move. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to know what your competition is doing to reach your audience but it is more important for you to watch and anticipate what your audience is doing or what they might do. This way you’ll have a more pragmatic approach to reaching them, otherwise, you’ll struggle to adopt the right strategies to reach the consumer; you’ll become reactive instead of proactive.

Design thinking makes you proactive, not reactive – it eliminates the knee jerk phenomenon.

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Why Design Thinking?

It gives your marketing communication a direction and lays emphasis on designing marketing materials on purpose – brand proposition.

Designing on purpose builds relevance and leads to a culture that will resonant with the target market. Consequently, using purposeful design will also create a connection which will broaden the impact of all brand activation programs, and brand experience. The brand that uses design thinking as a strategic advantage creates things that people have to have - Bizcommunity.

This approach really can’t be overemphasized especially in this digital age wherein everything is ‘supposed’ to be connected.

International brands like Nike, Google, Apple, and Amazon have adopted the Design Thinking strategy and it’s a no brainer how they come up with products every now and then that you and I always have to have.

Super Power or Survival Strategy

WHY DESIGNERS ARE BECOMING PHOTOGRAPHERS

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These days every African is seemingly unapologetically conscious of his or her resources especially finances and they guard it jealously. Which is why whenever they want to make a purchase, the commodity with more value for money wins the choice battle. As a result of this growing consciousness among individuals, there is, therefore, steep competition in virtually every facet of business. For the sake of this article, we will be looking into the creative industry and the new survival strategy among the ones they call “Creatives a.k.a Designers”.

Currently, the creative industry has seen more and more of its designers dabble with photography as they are compelled to go the extra mile to deliver more value on the job as such, they’ve taken on photography – talk about secret superpowers. Do you want to survive in this creative jungle? You need to bring something other than great knowledge of all the design suites, you need a great eye for colours and images, hence photography. The knowledge of light composition and style adds a different kind of spice to your work.

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In terms of delivering value;

The gaping hole between designing and having the right images

Ever tried to search for African photos online? Daunting. I thought this was a joke as the internet is supposedly an archive of photos but try searching for photos of Africans doing something specific, you’ll almost not find. As more designers venture into photography with their knowledge of the specific needs of the creative industry, I am hopeful that soon we’ll close this gap.

Images are expensive

Trying to put together a photo session or even buy an image off of some stock site can be relatively expensive. In a view to deliver value and earn more, designers may take the pictures themselves and this way they’ll seamlessly get the right kind of image they desire.

The spicy ingredient

Designers with a relatively good knowledge of photography tend to put out better work as well as photographers with a relatively good knowledge of designing. The two go hand-in-hand (a couple).

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Creativity With Purpose

O2 ACADEMY CREATES FIRST OF ITS KIND 3D ZEBRA CROSSING IN NIGERIA TO CURB THE RATE OF CAR ACCIDENTS.

Source: Auto Report Ng

Source: Auto Report Ng

Creativity with purpose stems from the need to address a problem. Every great advertising content that was ever put out were those which were directly aimed at addressing a need.

Driving in Nigeria can be described as formula 1 without the race tracks as it nearly seems as if the traffic rules don’t exist, thanks to the necessary authorities, all that is being addressed decisively. Well, I am of the school of thought that believes that there’s no problem on the surface of the earth that’s solely dependent on one person or body to fix, gladly, advertising shares this belief as well.

An advertising school situated in Lagos Nigeria, O2 Academy, took to problem-solving by applying design thinking to reduce the rate of accidents and mortality on a Lagos road. In April 2019, O2 Academy designed the first of its kind 3D zebra crossing – now that’s one road sign many Nigerians seem not to recognize. I remember one time I chose not to drive because I was feeling a certain way in my body. I got to a busy road in Nigeria and needed to cross over to the other side so I stood at a zebra crossing, I was there for nearly 45mins –not kidding- before someone eventually stopped to let me through.

In my opinion, this is one of the most innovative solutions I’ve seen this year.

Kudos O2 Academy.

And just so you’d know; O2 Academy is the first advertising school in the Middle East and Africa, aside from South Africa, to win the Loerie awards.” The school participated in a Facebook challenge targeting students at advertising schools across the Middle-East and Africa. The students of O2 Academy won bronze for their campaign against cholera – Thisisafrica.

You’ve Got Your Own Chauffeur

WITH THE INCLUSION OF DOOH TO THE MARKETING MIX, ADS WILL FOLLOW YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO

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The OOH space in Africa has largely been a source of concern for both agency and clients over the years owing to the fact that they have been puzzled with finding ways to track the efficiency of OOH – we want to know when the TA is being reached, how many has been reached, which board had the most eyeballs, what to keep doing, what to quit doing, and more. Although there has never been doubts about the effectiveness of OOH on delivering ROI but everyone just needs to see the numbers at some point. This concern therefore gave birth to DOOH – Digital Out Of Home advertising. With this innovation tracking the metrics isn’t just possible but easy.

OOH in Nigeria has come a long way since the days of traders painting rocks and walls on routes leading to trade centers. These days, we see about 11,443 standing billboard structures in the country, with 4% of our sites as Digital Out of Home (DOOH).

This reflects a whopping growth of over 600% in DOOH penetration in the last decade, commanding about 50% of the total Nigerian OOH media spend. Lagos, the nation’s nerve commercial center, boasts more than 60% of Nigeria’s entire spend in OOH (Dentsu aegis).

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The growth of DOOH in the country can be attributed to:

The need to measure growth: as stated before, agencies and clients needed to find a more effective way of measuring KPIs that are OOH specific. Since the traditional OOH boards wasn’t delivering this necessary report it was only a matter of time for digital to take over that space.

Urbanization: Nigeria in the last decade has seen what we currently describe as a technological boom. As result there’s been an upscale of the number of shopping malls, leisure parks, and more. These provide more consumer touch points which amplifies the reach of the digital out of home ads.

They are more interactive: the purpose of advertising is to get the consumer to interact with the brand, also note that the media consumption pattern of Nigerians have evolved as they are drawn to rich communication materials. As a result, the DOOH platforms provides a more intriguing and interactive mode of communicating to the desired TA. It is captivating and compelling.

With the inclusion of DOOH in marketing mix, the ads you may only see while on your phone, laptop, or other devices will be waiting for you outside your home. You won’t miss anything.

In the end, innovation is the lifeblood of business.

Call it Magic

WOMEN ARE SEAMLESSLY INCREASING THEIR STAKE IN THE MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY AND THEY ARE SHOWING NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN. WHAT COULD THIS MEAN FOR THE INDUSTRY?

I think this video exemplifies the kind of flavor women bring with them to everything they are involved in.

I can’t say for certain if this growing trend can be directly linked to the aggressive movement of inclusion going on all around the world or it is just an effect of a simple phenomenon people like me call magic. The gender equality march has garnered recognition from every facet of the universe over the years and it is currently taking unsuspecting grounds like advertising. You know how they say “this is a man’s world”, advertising, also referred to as marketing communication which aforetime used to be male dominated but it is now being flooded by beautiful intelligent women across the African continent – now you too can call it magic.

Temitope Jemerigbe, C.E.O. DKK Nigeria  Source: People and Power

Temitope Jemerigbe, C.E.O. DKK Nigeria

Source: People and Power

Why is this feminine take over so seamless?

There are a plethora of reasons as to why women are occupying powerful and strategic positions in the marketing communications industry but for the purpose of this article I shall limit reasons to 3 (three), here it goes:

They are natural storytellers

Marketing communication thrives on the special ability to tell a compelling story – everyone loves a good story, especially in this part of the world and this art comes to them naturally. No part of the stories they tell is labeled irrelevant, you just got to hear it.

"Everything is possible. Impossible just takes a little longer.” - Wendy Ackerman, co-founder and an Executive Director, Pick n Pay Stores, South Africa.

More human, more empathetic

Advertising is currently gearing towards human-centered ads – connecting with your feelings. Who best tells such stories other than one who is naturally inclined to caregiving? They know how to reach for your emotions.

If I can change the life of one person it makes a whole difference because behind that person there is a whole family, a society.” - Victoria Kisyombe, founder SELFINA, Tanzania

Result driven

Plagued by a host of challenges, women tend to contend with adversities three times the size of that of their male counterparts, yet they stand strong and victorious every single time. This singular trait makes them favorites to lead businesses and initiate award winning campaigns.

"If you have a crazy idea, go for it! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes." - Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder and Managing Director of SoleRebels, Ethiopia

Masego Motsogi, Managing Director, 99c Johannesburg  Source: 10and5

Masego Motsogi, Managing Director, 99c Johannesburg

Source: 10and5

Many advertising companies have begun to see more and more women take vital roles in the offices, especially strategy. I sat with a team of strategists in a prestigious Nigerian advertising outfit sometime last month and they were all ladies, I was intrigued.

Brace yourself Africa, we are set to see more women gain more recognitions for their work within the industry as well as raise more role models in the nearest future.

They’ll sprinkle that magic everywhere.