Social Media Week, Lagos officially kicked off on Monday, 27th February 2017 at Landmark Events Centre, Oniru, Lagos. We had partnered with them to deliver brand designs to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the event. We were also honored that our Founder and CEO, Evans Akanno, was among the speakers.
Evans delivered a very interactive lecture on Brand Identity to young professionals which covered the topics on branding, logos, symbols, colors, typography and telling your brand’s story.
Branding & Brand Identity
He started off by clearing a popular misconception people have about brand identity which is that it centers only around logo design or how a brand generally looks but, brand identity also concerns the voice, personality, and culture of a brand. And there was no simpler way to describe a brand as this:
When branding, it is necessary to always bear in mind that a good brand identity should always make an expression and communicate with your audience.
He advised that whenever anyone starts a company, life should be breathed into it and the best way to do that is by building a culture around your business, and promoting that culture amongst the team and then to the wider public. Love of the brand starts within thereafter, it extends outside.
While speaking on design and typography, he stressed that a lot of people need to understand design no matter how little, that logos should be designed using vector based apps such as Adobe Illustrator rather than Photoshop because vectors can be scaled to any dimension and yet remain sharp in appearance and work best with print media. Logos should be saved in PDF.
Every industry has specific typography that is unique to them and all fonts should match the business of the brand it represents. For instance, overly decorated fonts are suitable for weddings while fonts with sharp edges are better off for fashion brands.
Telling your Brand Story – Personality, People, Culture, Storytelling
With lots of questions coming from the audience, the climax of the conversation was about customer service in Nigeria which ultimately results in poor brand perception, people complained about their bad experiences with customer service personnel. One of the participants admonished us all to be better customers because we also suffer from not just poor customer service, but poor customer culture.
Furthermore, we talked about the nature of work environments and how it affects teamwork productivity and brand personality. Participants recounted their experiences at their various places of employment and came to the conclusion that brands in Nigeria are generally strict. The answer people gave to this strict nature of Nigerian business environments is that most of the brands care about revenue rather than their people.
At this point, everyone had to commend the controversial EFCC Twitter handle. A true definition of a human-centered approach to brand communication. Every brand should have a personality and should communicate with customers as humans.
He stressed the importance of humanizing brands. Brands should communicate with their customers as humans to humans. A suitable example of this was Coca Cola’s Share A Coke campaign last year about the branding of Coke bottles with names of individuals.
Almost everyone had something negative to say about the LASTMA brand. As traffic officials, it is expected that they should be helpful rather than seize any slight opportunity to extort Nigerians. This further explains that brands should be helpful and evolve with customers.
Even during interviews, HR personnel can be helpful because whether you hire that person, that simple act of kindness will be remembered. He took us back to an interview he conducted at Jumia where he shared helpful tips to an unknown candidate. Fast forward to a few years later, that unknown fellow met him at an event and he reminded him of the act of kindness he rendered at the interview and the tips are what have made him start his company today.
Brand Stories: Cregital as a case study
The reason why a lot of people leave their places of employment is not because of the pay, but because they are not happy. When you don’t buy into the vision of the company, you will not be able to maximize your productivity.
Employers should not only be concerned about how much employees get but how their pay can be utilized. Evans cited the example of how we think up ideas to help our team members in areas of welfare and staff loans.
He also stressed about attitude; at Cregital, we hire attitude over skill every single time, because the attitude of people you hire at the early stages of your company will shape its culture.
For every aspiring entrepreneur, he advised them to build a company where everyone is important. At Cregital, everyone matters, we see ourselves as one family rather than colleagues because we care about our talents, their growth and how they collaborate with each other and with clients.
Asked about how Cregital handles competition, he stated that Cregital does not consider any agency as competition as there is enough room in the sky for everyone to fly. There still a lot of companies that require branding services and no agency can claim to have all the clients.
Asked what five tips can he give for the growth of a startup:
Think People first: Because really, the people are the business.
Be Prudent: For a startup to stay afloat and profitable, they have to be prudent in their spending in their early months.
Tell many stories: Marketing costs can be cut down by 80% if you tell good stories about what you do.
Speak Human: A humanized brand voice helps you form long-lasting brand-customer relationships built on trust.
Culture: Have a great culture that attracts talent and customers!
The class was very interactive that the slide was no longer needed. It was an exciting moment to have Evans Akanno share the vision and culture of Cregital before an audience of over 100 people.