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.

Brands; the New Village Head

STORYTELLING IS THE TREND THAT BRANDS IN NIGERIA ARE TAKING VERY SERIOUSLY AND IT’S SHOWING UP IN THE ADS

Source: ABC

Source: ABC

As said by the Hand of the Queen (Daenerys Targaryan) who eventually became the Hand of the King (Bran the Broken), Tyrion Lannister said in the grand finale of the decade long series Game of Thrones, “What unites a people? Arms, Gold, Flags? Stories, there's nothing more powerful in this world than a good Story. Nothing can stop it, no enemy can defeat it”.

In many African homes or villages, the village head or the oldest person in the area is supposedly the best story teller as he or she tells the most mind joggling stories in every genre that brings everyone together. Till this day, the best stories I have ever heard, came from the tongue of a village chief and I know that isn’t peculiar to just me as I have met many others who share the same story.

As I said before, brands in Nigeria have begun to harness the power of great storytelling to deliver returns on investment (ROI) and achieve top of mind awareness (TOMA). Two brands that immediately come to mind are Maltina and Airtel, they are currently milking this playing field and achieving set objectives.

See below the stories they are currently telling around their brands.

Tech Has Come For Your Wrist

IT’S NO LONGER ENOUGH TO JUST WEAR A WRISTWATCH YOU HAVE TO BE WEARING A SMART WATCH NOW

Source: Lexington Broadcast Services Company / Via youtube.com

Source: Lexington Broadcast Services Company / Via youtube.com

I am of the opinion that the amazing tech innovations of tomorrow are products of the thoughts of wild thinkers of yesterday. We have seen tech take every facet of life, heck it is nearly impossible to live through a day without having some level of interaction with one gadget or the other. Now, tech has come for our wrists and like everything else, we would gladly give.

Do you remember Penny from the 80’s blockbuster cartoon Inspector Gadget? The cartoon was really big at the time as it seemed impossible for one person to be so resourceful, Penny’s watch made her so.

She could make video calls, send texts, shoot laser beams, detect radioactivity, pull down doors, and so on – only 80’s children may be able to relate. My point is, her watch could do more than tell time. This is what the big tech companies like Apple and Samsung have brought into today’s world. Being stereotyped has never really been fun, everything should be able to do more. I mean, there are cars that do more than take you from place to place; they literally give you an experience – look out world, thanks to Tesla we are beginning to see the age of driverless cars (as seen in Sylvester Stalone and Wesley Snipes’ Demolition Man) take center stage, we will begin to look forward to the age of the flying cars (as seen in Back to the Future and Star Wars).

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I am an ultra-mega fan of wristwatches, therefore this type of innovation excites me. Although this is a growing trend globally, it is becoming really huge in Africa especially Nigeria and it’s speedily becoming a culture. You and I know that sometimes it’s difficult to ignore certain calls and messages because your phone is almost always in your hand, now you could just take a glance at your wrist and choose whether or not to take a call, or even seamlessly reply a text. You could record voice, calculate, go through social media, connect to other devices like your phone, car, speakers and so much more all on your wrist – tell me about technology that excites.

I bet that when you were younger you always wanted to play spy maybe James Bond, well you may be older now but here’s your chance.

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So what does this mean? Why are we even paying attention to this?

First of all, we are TINK Africa, Africa’s trend spotting pop culture academy, we, therefore, spot the trends and make it easier for you to take advantage of them. Next, it provides a wealth of opportunities for brands and businesses to deploy more personalized digital strategies to effectively target their desired audience.

The smartwatch culture is gaining the wrists because people want an experience tailor-made for them and that’s something the smartwatch delivers effectively. Back in the day, we were all comfortable just having phones until they started becoming smart, now it’s no longer enough to have a wristwatch, question is, what can your wristwatch do? Is it smart?