Nigeria’s 2015 general elections will forever remain fresh in our minds for years to come. From the contestants trying to outdo each other with amazing and sometimes hilarious campaigns on T.V, radio and social media, to the announcement of the winner. It was indeed remarkable. However, I leave the analysis to the political experts. My main interest is in the marketing lessons learned so far. So get a pen and paper and let’s note down the points that could make a difference in your business’ marketing strategy.
Top 10 Marketing Lessons Learned from Buhari’s Victory
I doff my hat to the branding experts, who polished his image and transformed him from a no-nonsense general into a likeable person by all tribes in Nigeria. In his previous failed elections, majority of Nigerians saw Buhari as a religious fanatic, a military dictator and someone who had no human feeling. What is the marketing lesson here? If you want to be likeable by your target audience, you must put your house in order. Take a look at what is that is preventing you from gaining your ideal customers’ trust. Could it be the look and feel of your website? The way you speak (Not persuasive and convincing enough)? No happy stories from past customers? Your personal grooming? What are those things that could prevent a potential client from saying yes to you? Write them down and change for the better starting right now. I started working on redesigning my website and that singular act opened the floodgates of sales, speaking opportunities and higher ranking on Google. It’s time to rebrand your business.
2. Know Your Customer and Act Like Them:
There’s a Nigerian Proverb that says “If you want to catch a monkey, act like one.” This is another strategy that helped him win. His team of experts studied his target audience’ lifestyle, culture, religion, and interests. He discovered that in order to win in the Southern part of Nigeria, he had to tell them what they wanted to hear. Even though a staunch muslim, he attended church service and selected a Christian and Southerner to be his vice president. So what can you learn from this? Before starting a marketing campaign, do your market research, find out the market size, study their interests, lifestyle, fears, pain points, consider the gender, age, income, and religion. Every data counts in ensuring that you earn their trust.
3. Be Human and Likeable:
Buhari’s decision to unveil his family (especially his wife and grandchildren) to the world, melted the hearts of millions of Nigerians. It helped to portray the picture of a loving husband, father and grandfather. He realised that keeping his family away from the public eye and carrying a no-nonsense attitude no longer works. Welcome to the age of social media, where everyone is living the over-exposed Kardashian lifestyle. Are you showing the human side of your business? Can your target audience relate with you on social media? You may not necessarily post pictures of your family or share what you ate for dinner with the world. But you can post behind-the-scene photographs/videos of you and your company staff at work or while participating in community development. People love to see such photos. Feed their eyes and win their affection. So go ahead, take that selfie and post on Instagram today.
4. Hire Influencers & Brand Management Experts:
Without the help of branding/PR experts and social media influencers, Buhari wouldn’t stand the chance of beating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Kudos to these foot soldiers who worked tirelessly in convincing Nigerians both young and old to vote for him. I discovered that one positive tweet or recommendation from an influencer/celebrity with a large Twitter followership like Omojuwa or El Rufai, can open the floodgates of sales and fame for you. Have you made a list of Influencers that could recommend your product and services to your target audience? Are you hiring the experts to do the job for you? You can start identifying them on social media using Followerwonk.
5. Unique Selling Point:
Buhari’s unique selling points were ‘CHANGE’ and ‘FIGHTING CORRUPTION’. What is your unique selling point? Is it compelling enough? Will it make your target customer richer, better, happier, healthier, improve, sell more or save more? Write down the unique selling point about your brand today and promote consistently. If it works, keep using it, if it fails, try another method.
6. The Power of Social Media:
Since the advent of social media, the playing field has become levelled in Nigerian politics. Buhari and other politicians saw the power of social media in sharing their vision with Nigerians and the world. Everyone could interact with him one-on-one and not through a third-party journalist or seeing him on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). If you are not using social media as a listening, customer service and broadcasting tool in 2015, then I want to believe you are living in a thick forest where there’s no internet connection but trees and rocks for companion.
7. Strategic Traditional and Online Advertising Spend:
Buhari’s party spent loads of cash on traditional and online advertising. From billboards, flyers, T.V, radio ads, to Youtube, Facebook, BBM, Twitter and Google AdWords Campaigns. The advertising agencies had a field day profiting from this campaign. Do you have an advertising budget for promoting your business offline and online? I suggest you get your marketing department to come up with an advertising strategy and the costs. Facebook has made it easy and affordable for you to advertise with as low as $1 dollar per day.
8. The Power of Public Speaking:
There comes a point in your life when people will invite you to give a speech just to see what’s in your heart and gauge your level of intelligence. Buhari received loads of speaking invitations from various professional bodies in Nigeria and in the Chatham house London. I strongly suggest you practice speaking regularly at your church, seminars or local business groups. This helps to build your confidence and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
9. The Power of the Underdog:
If there’s one lesson you and I can learn from this presidential election, is that with the right strategy in place, today’s Goliath can be overthrown by an unpopular and unknown David tomorrow. From creating a website to writing articles that helps your audience consistently, you will gradually get the attention of fans, influencers, clients and best of all, be the darling of international media.
10. Fake it Till You Make It (Act the Part):
If you take a closer look at Buhari’s campaign photographs, you’ll notice that he acted like he was already the president of the federal republic of Nigeria. From the designer suit he wore, to his relaxed and reassuring smile, with the country’s National flag in the background. He looked like he had already won the presidency, even though his chances looked bleak. That you are just starting out in business, and don’t have clients for now shouldn’t be an excuse to give up. Act like you are already an expert with big clients. Write articles or create videos that helps others. Create an amazing blog or website using WordPress. Get decent clothes and take good portrait photographs for your social media profiles. Speak with confidence, learn from the experts, get a mentor in the field you want to pursue and keep selling until you land that ideal customer.
What other lessons did you learn from this campaign? Share with us in the comments below.