Do You Need a Business Plan or a Project Plan?

Do You Need a Business Plan or a Project Plan?

As a Management Consultant I see clients who come to us for the sole purpose of a creating a project plan, particularly in the e-commerce and living services space, but very often they need a cohesive business plan before we can implement an effective project plan. Here are some guidelines to identifying which you need and to creating both.

Business Plan

 “A big business starts small.” Richard Branson

business-plan

Any idea you have about generating money from goods or services is a business and deserves a business plan, even if it is on the back of a serviette while you’re having coffee. Start small and don’t be intimidated. From one sentence or paragraph can emerge your strategic intent.

 

business-plan

The purpose of a business plan is twofold. It is a vision and a roadmap plus, if you’re looking for funding or investment it’s essential to have a great business plan, while a project plan may be something which follows on from that.

1. Industry Knowledge

Get to know your area of business very well, including competitors and what they’re doing, as Financial Management Executive, William Pirraglia says, “To write the perfect plan, you must know your company, your product, your competition and the market intimately.”

2. Purpose

Entrepreneur  explains a business plan as a “Written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement.” Key to doing this is to know your business purpose, the “why” of the product, this is important for yourself and potential investors.

3.Profile

There are steps within step to a business plan, and getting a business profile right includes knowing how to engage your audience and telling your brand story in a unique and engaging way. Joanna Zambas has some good tips in her article How to Write a Company Profile including being aware of style and clarity as well as using testimonials and adding in a powerful call to action.

 

4. Marketing Plan

This is another sub-section which requires analysis and strategic thought. There are great “how to” online guides here, Hubspot actually have free templates available to use. This area is about how you’re going to sell so it includes marketing tactics, budget (financing / advertising) and marketing goals (new products / cross selling) as well as clearly defining your target audience.

 

5. Know Your Audience

Once you have the basics of your business plan in place you can fine tune it depending on who youre showing it to. As Entrepreneur John Rampton  advises, “Bankers will be more interested in balance sheets and cash-flow statements, while venture capitalists will be looking at the basic business concept and your management team.”

Once you’re written the Business Plan, have a look at the SBA, the US Small Business Administration site which takes it further – including adding in these next strategic steps:

  • Funding request -how much money you’ll need for next 3 to 5 years
  • Financial projections -supply information like balance sheets
  • Appendix – an optional section that includes résumés and permits.

 

Project Plan

 

“A project plan can be a sub-set of business plan, but not vice-versa.” Naresh Priyadarshi, CEO, SSCBS Innovation

For project plans to produce the desired results they need to integrate, support and inform a business plan in terms of marketing strategy, development and direction. I’ve written on the tools to create great project plans including matrices and models to help identify almost every aspect of a business. This includes brand purpose, role players, actions, insights, competitors and company growth.

project-management

But what is the strategic intent behind the tools used for project plans, or in other words, what goes in to putting a great project plan together?  A project plan is about focusing on a more micro-level and this statement by Entrepreneur Jeff Platt says it all when you’re considering your first project plan: “Spend time upfront to invest in systems and processes to make long-term growth sustainable.” Here are five ways to put your project plan into action:

1. Communication

Identify who your stakeholders which is anyone who is affected by the project including project sponsors. This step sounds simple but as Elizabeth Larson puts it, “Typically many of the project’s key stakeholders, that is those affected by both the project and the project’s end result, do not fully understand the nature of the project plan.”

2. Roles and Responsibilities

This speaks to the point above and there are often more people involved than one thinks… The Project Times outlines these main players to bear in mind:

  • Project sponsors
  • Business experts
  • Project manager
  • The Project team
  • End users who use the end product.

This also includes getting feedback from the team, if they’re on board they need to be heard, as Peter F. Drucker famously said, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”

  1. Statement of Scope and Scope Baseline

This includes outlining what the benefits of the product / service are – how is it helping, who is it helping and how do you get out target audience to buy into it. The deliverables can then be written up in what is called a “Scope Statement”.  This also includes creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) so that the team is organised into manageable sections.  The Scope Baseline is an extension of this and acts as the reference point through the project cycle.  It includes the project scope document, the WBS itself and the WBS dictionary.

project-management

4. Management Plans: Timelines, Costs and Risks

Smart Sheet has free downloadable Project Plan templates to assist with the intricacies of your project plan but the risk analysis at this stage is important to note. As Emily Bonnie advises, “Tackle high-risk items early in your project timeline, if possible. Or create a small “time buffer” around the task to help keep your project on track in the event of a delay.” The Project Times reminds us to reassess the quality of the project and goes as far as suggesting you create a quality plan which, “Becomes the foundation for all the quality reviews and inspections performed during the project and is used throughout project execution.”

5. Back to Communication

You’ll notice that communication, engagement, feedback all loop backwards and forwards when creating a solid project plan. Not so with your business plan which can be a bit of a lonely task. Feel free to contact us at Prana if you could use a consultant to guide you along the way.

project-management

 

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting and has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses. Jainita’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses. Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on various marketing related topics.

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business.  Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.

Email: info@pranabusinessconsulting.com

Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796

Facebook / YouTube / Twitter / LinkedIn

Unpacking Software Development Lifecycle Models

Unpacking Software Development Lifecycle Models

 

SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle and is also known as the Application Development Life-Cycle. SDLC describes the phases (often used in IT and Systems) of planning, creating, testing, and deploying a process or information system. There are different types, or more accurately, different elements of types of SDLC models used. The most common ones are Waterfall, Iterative, Spiral, V-shaped as well as the Agile model.

System Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, Tools to Create Effective Project Plans, I’ve used many different SDLC models for a variety of projects, including helping start-ups with business plans, building marketing strategies, supporting change management, developing IT solutions as well as building and tracking e-commerce sites and social media campaigns.

Regardless of which SDLC model you use, there are six key stages in the SDLC cycle:

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development and Testing
  • Implementation
  • Documentation, and;
  • Evaluation

The beauty of the more agile SDLC models (excluding Waterfall and V-Shape) is through the methodology; you can go backwards and forwards between steps and adjust where necessary.

 

Waterfall Model

“The Waterfall model is the pioneer of the SDLC processes.” Softwaretestinghelp.com

The Waterfall model is a Sequential model as the software development processes are split into phases and each phase has to be completed before the next step can be taken. A step-by-step overview of the phases is as follows: Requirement analysis, system design, implementation, system testing, system development and system analysis.

Introduced in 1970 by Winston Royce, the model works well when implemented in a stable environment and it is best used for smaller projects. If your needs are straightforward the Waterfall model will yield the best results but it is not right for big jobs requiring agile changes.

 

The Iterative Model

“During software development, more than one iteration of the software development cycle may be in progress at the same time.” Defense Systems Software Development

According to Andrew Powell-Morse over five decades ago the US Air Force and NASA worked together to develop X-15 hypersonic aircraft. They began by following an Iterative design process and the positive results of this prompted NASA to implement an Iterative SDLC model for their software development.

The Iterative model differs from the rigid stages of the Waterfall model and is described as a cyclical process, rather than a step by step one. There’s the initialisation phase at the start and the deployment at the end and in many small steps in between which may be repeated and fine tuned including: Planning – requirements – design – implementation – verification and evaluation.

Because this model is agile and quickly implemented this helps to show up any functional or design flaws early on in the process, but it’s not suitable for small projects. It is also worth noting that as not all requirements are gathered in the beginning of the entire life cycle it can be heavy on resources, management and budget.

 

The Spiral Model

“The Spiral is a risk-driven model which means that the overall success of a project highly depends on the risks analysis phase.” Dmitry Gurendo

Using the Spiral models involved both sequential and prototype processes.  It is a complex model and best understood by first being broken down into four main quadrants:

  1. Planning Phase
  2. Risk Analysis Phase
  3. Engineering Phase
  4. Evaluation Phase.

The model is known as Spiral because the development processes repeatedly passes through these stages and each iteration is called a Spiral. During the Risk Analysis in Phase Two, for example, all the four phases – planning, risk analysis, engineering and evaluation are repeated.

When working with the Spiral Model, “Team members try to gather the product objectives, requirements (e.g. Business Requirement Specifications or BRS, System Requirement Specifications or SRS), alternatives in design, etc,” explains Dmitry Gurendo, “In the subsequent spirals; all requirements are generated according to the customer’s feedback. Thus, permanent communication between the customer and project management is crucial.”

Use of the Spiral Model is recommended for large projects where software requires continuous risk evaluation and changes. Although development can be fast, Spiral can also go on infinitely. The time during the Risk Analysis Phase is too detailed for low-risk projects and the planning, resetting objectives, risk analysis, and prototyping needs to be carefully managed with users being involved early on with the prototyping tools and subsequently at every other stage.

 

V-Shaped Model

“As the industry has evolved, the technologies have become more complex, increasingly faster, and forever changing, however, there remains a set of basic principles and concepts that are as applicable today as when IT was in its infancy.” Geeks For Geeks

Also called the Verification and Validation model, the V-Shaped Model is an extension of the Waterfall model, with testing stages adhered to during each development phase.  On the one side of the model are the Verification phases with the Validation phases on the other side, these are linked by coding phase which gives the model its “V” shape.

Testing in the V-Shaped Model is done in a hierarchical perspective so what it’s needed by the project team, for example, informs the high level and detailed design phases. As each of these phases is completed the requirements, they are defining become more and more refined and detailed.

Detractors of the V-Shaped Model say it puts too much emphasis on testing, particularly during the test planning phase, which  leads to testing being “squeezed into tight windows” at the end of development when initial phases have taken longer than expected but the date of implementation has to be the same.

Supporters argue that over time the V-Shaped Model has changed and with proper understanding it can support flexibility and agility throughout the development process. It is interesting to note that the V-Shaped Model is, in some areas, being adopted by the medical device industry. This, according to Barriers to Adopting Agile Practices When Developing Medical Device Software, is because it leans towards the principles of documentation, maintaining traceability and regulatory compliances.

Agile Model

“Agile methodologies were developed as a solution to the challenges of the traditional Waterfall model of software development and the traditional project and team management principles.” Jacob Aliet Ondiek

In Jacob Aliet Ondiek’s article, 12 Agile Manifesto Principles, he unpacks how there was a shift towards more agile methodologies by prioritising the following:

  • More focus on individuals and interactions above processes and tools
  • Correctly built software over vast amounts of documentation and,
  • Client collaboration over contract wrangling, and;
  • Valuing responsiveness to change instead of adhering to a rigid model.

In fact, in Utah, USA in 2001, 17 software developers actually put together The Agile Manifesto to define their basic principles and from this emerged different Agile methodologies including (with reference to Smartsheet’s Comprehensive Guide to the Agile Manifesto Scrum) the dynamic systems development method (DSDM), crystal clear, extreme programming (aka “XP”), adaptive software development and feature-driven development.

The Agile Model does as it says and has agile back and forth communications between the cores phases of: Requirements, architecture and design, development and test and feedback.

Interestingly, the developers of the Manifesto back in 2001 saw the model as something to be used by software development teams develop code more efficiently but now a lot of the Agile Model methodologies are being used across a variety of different businesses.

I’ve found what Dave Sharrock, VP of Agile42, says to be true of our consulting business as well: “We’re seeing more and more [agile-oriented consulting business] being brought in by business managers or leadership teams with the need to bring in the whole product portfolio – the product development process  – into an agile way of working.”

 

 

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting and has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses. Jainita’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses. Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on various marketing related topics.

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business.  Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.

Email: info@pranabusinessconsulting.com

Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796

Facebook / YouTube / Twitter / LinkedIn

Eight Tools to Create Project Plans and Deliver Marketing Success

Eight Tools to Create Project Plans and Deliver Marketing Success

Anyone with a business strives for success but not everyone systematically implements the project plan tools which are readily available to assist with marketing. This may be because many of the resources seem too academic or perhaps it’s the sheer volume of information which is daunting. In this article I highlight eight tools which can be used to create a solid project plan, helping create the strategic backbone to marketing success.

For project plans to produce the desired results they need to integrate, support and inform marketing strategy, development and direction. A project plan can be made up of one or more of the business tools below which include matrices and models to help identify almost every aspect of a business, from brand purpose, role players, actions, insights, competitors and company growth.

 

1) Project Charter

 

“If you don’t know where you are going. How can you expect to get there?” Basil S. Walsh

Creating a Project Charter is recommended for someone in project management who needs to identify, get buy in, track and measure a specific project. It outlines the:

  • Breadth of project
  • Goals
  • Who is involved and their responsibilities.

A Project Charter should:

  • Encapsulate the project’s purpose
  • Keep the people involved on the same page
  • Be a contract between the project sponsor, key stakeholders and the project team.

SmartSheet has Project Charter useful templates available for free download in word or excel.

 

 

2) Project Plan

 

“Plans are worthless. Planning is essential.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

While a Project Charter is an overview of a project, often to get buy in and approval for the framework, a Project Plan works on the approved structure and framework of the charter.

Bright Hub Project Management outlines the following points on how a Project Plan assists with the specific detail on executing, managing and controlling:

  • Project Value Proposition
  • People involved and their responsibilities
  • Business structure
  • What needs to be done
  • Phases, activities and tasks
  • Identification the work breakdown structure (WBS)
  • Allocation of resources
  • Time lines and milestones or critical path schedule (CPS)
  • Documentation of project inter-dependencies.

There are various ways to create a Project Plan but the traditional Microsoft Project Templates always work effectively, or explore the option of using a free Gantt Chart template.

 

3) Project Plan Scope Triangle

 

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Theophrastus

 

The Scope Triangle has been used in project training programmes for over 25 years and is a useful tool to use when looking at the three “primary forces” of a project as well as if, when and where a “trade off” between them is necessary:

  • Time
  • Quality

As Nick Jenkins, from Project Smart says, “The best project managers will juggle all three like hot potatoes and will make decisions every day which effectively trade-off time versus quality versus resources.”

 

4) Ansoff’s Matrix

 

“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.” Henry Mintzberg

 

This strategic planning tool dates back to the 1960s and is named after its creator, Russian American mathematician and business manager, Harry Igor Ansoff, also known as the “father of strategic management”.

The Matrix is based on Ansoff’s definition of product-market strategy as being: “A joint statement of a product line and the corresponding set of missions which the products are designed to fulfil.” Within the axis of existing / new markets and existing /new products are:

  • Market penetration
  • Market development
  • Product development and;

The benefit of using Ansoff’s Matrix (also known as the Product/Market Expansion Grid) is that it can be used to, as MindTools explains, “Identify alternative growth strategies by looking at present and potential products in current and future markets.”

 

5) The Boston Matrix

“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.” Jim Rohn

 

The Boston Matrix uses the axis of Relevant Market Share in relation to Relevant Market Growth to chart portfolios within a business, defined as:

  • Dogs – Products with low growth or market share
  • Question Marks or Problem Child – Products in high growth markets with low market share
  • Stars – Products in high growth markets with high market share
  • Cash Cows – Products in low growth markets with high market share.

I’ve included this matrix as it is useful for companies with separate business units or diverse products, but as Strategic Management Insights points out, it needs to be used by following these steps –

  • Choose the unit
  • Define the market
  • Calculate relative market share
  • Find out market growth rate, and;
  • Draw the circles on a matrix.

 

 

6) Gartner’s Hype Cycle

 

“Realistically, the world (and the technology) aren’t quite ready for autonomous flying taxis.” Kasey Panetta

Unlike most of the tools on this list, Gartner’s Hype Cycle positions us firmly in the 21st Century. It’s described as, “A graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities.” But, more simply put, it’s positioning your product or business within a technology curve of expectation and time to see where it is / isn’t potentially relevant to the marketplace.

Gatner’s project tool drills down into the five key phases of a technology’s life cycle:

  • Innovation Trigger
  • Peak of Inflated Expectations
  • Trough of Disillusionment
  • Slope of Enlightenment
  • Plateau of Productivity.

Which – as they explain – helps to “separate the hype from the real”. For further insights on this, read 5 Trends Emerge in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.

 

 

7) System Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

“Operations keeps the lights on, strategy provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organisation forward.” Joy Gumz

Over the last 15 years I have consciously or unconsciously used the SDLC model in many projects including helping start ups with business plans, building marketing strategies, supporting change management and of course developing IT solutions. This simple model is an method in defining the steps in the project plan through there are various other tools.

The SDLC, also known as the Application Development Life-Cycle, describes the process (often used in IT and Systems) is for planning, creating, testing, and deploying an process or information system.

There are six key stages in the SDLC cycle:

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development and Testing
  • Implementation
  • Documentation, and;

An additional note on the importance of this from Innovative Architects: ”The life cycle approach of any project is a time-consuming process. Even though some steps are more difficult than others, none are to be overlooked. An oversight could prevent the entire system from functioning as planned.”

For additional project planning tools Smart Insights have an article with more suggestions, including SWOT Analysis, the BCG Matrix, more on the Product Lifecycle Model, the Pestle Analysis Model and the BCG Matrix.

 

8) Bespoke Project Planning Tools

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

At Prana Business Consulting we also create bespoke project planning tools based on our experience as well as specific client needs.

  • Prana Business Flow Pyramid
  • B2B marketing model
  • Digital marketing Flowchart, and our
  • Marketing to Moms Model.

 

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting and has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses. Jainita’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses. Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on various marketing related topics.

 

 

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business.  Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.

Email: info@pranabusinessconsulting.com

Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796

Facebook / YouTube / Twitter / LinkedIn

 

Best Way to Market Your Business Using Social Media

Best Way to Market Your Business Using Social Media

Social media marketing is an effective way of helping you assist your business, whether it be big or small. Social media networks are helpful in achieving your marketing and branding goals by reaching out to your consumers. Marketing through social media allows your business to interact with potential customers and loyal brand consumers thus leading into an increase in product sales. Effective social media marketing is a great way to enhance audience engagement and can be contributed to creating content that ranges from posting images with textual updates or posting videos with relevant subject matters. Here’s how social media is beneficial to your business:

How social media can market your business

Social media can help:

  • Increase website traffic – social media platforms are entwined and connected to each other and this allows users to see a post on all social platform sites. Due to this it gains more views and therefore giving your post or website the exposure, it deserves. Social media platforms support various formats such as image, video or a link. These capabilities allow users to share as much content that they like.

 

  • Raise brand awareness – social media platforms raise brand awareness by marketing your brand’s quality. Interacting with your brand’s target audiences through contests, hashtags, info-graphics, conversations, instills trust among your audiences.

 

  • Create a brand identity – social media platforms enable you to express what makes your brand special. It gives you a chance to post content that speaks for your brand, its quality and how it can make an impact in your life.

 

  • Interact and communicate with targeted audiences – social media platforms enable you to interact and communicate with your targeted audiences in real-time. Thus keeping good relationships with your consumers.

Best social media platforms

Social networking sites have made an impact in our daily lives over the years, and they continue to change over the years. Many of the top leading businesses today market their brands with the help of social media.

Here are some of the top social media platforms:

 

Facebook

Facebook is currently the top largest social network on the web. It has1 billion user accounts and 2 million monthly active users. Facebook is a network that allows users to connect with friends and families, tagging each other in posts pf similarity and updating each other’s personal activities. Businesses have been using Facebook to promote and market their business, brands and products with the use of paid Facebook ads.

 

 

Twitter

Twitter is the second most used social media platform. It is known to be the real-time, microblogging network where news is broken out first. Twitter has 280 characters, allowing users to keep to short and sweet messages. Twitter Card integration makes it easy to share all sorts of multimedia content in tweets. Twitter marketing revolves around communication and consumer interaction, which builds consumer-business relationships. Businesses use Twitter Card integrations to its advantage and thus promotes its brand and products such as shopping directly through tweets.as well as its interactions with its consumers.

 

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network platform mainly used by professionals. LinkedIn profiles are designed to look like resumes, with sections for work experience, education, certifications, awards and other relevant work-related information. LinkedIn encourages consumers to give your business a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. These recommendations promote your business by making your business appear more credible and reliable to new consumers.

 

 

 

Twitter

Twitter is the second most used social media platform. It is known to be the real-time, microblogging network where news is broken out first. Twitter has 280 characters, allowing users to keep to short and sweet messages. Twitter Card integration makes it easy to share all sorts of multimedia content in tweets. Twitter marketing revolves around communication and consumer interaction, which builds consumer-business relationships. Businesses use Twitter Card integrations to its advantage and thus promotes its brand and products such as shopping directly through tweets.as well as its interactions with its consumers.

 

 

YouTube

YouTube is the worlds largest video-sharing social media platform that allows users to upload and share videos, as well as view, comment and like them. YouTube is a great platform for creating and sharing video content for many businesses, as they aim to create videos with the hope of them “going viral”.

 

 

Instagram

Instagram is a social media platform that was designed to share real-time photos and short videos. It has become one of the top social media marketing platforms for brands as well as Instagram Influencers. Instagram helps business create brand awareness by, promoting products, humanizing their content, recruiting new talent, inspiring their audience as well as interacting with their audiences in real-time.

 

A few tips to start marketing your business on social media platforms

  1. Identify social media platforms that are right for your business
  2. Plan your social media marketing strategy
  3. Identify your business tone and style
  4. Be creative
  5. Create a social media posting schedule
  6. Interact with your customers and have an immediate response on their feedback

 

In conclusion, social media marketing is the best way to market your business in the new age of technology. It’s the best way to market because it allows your business to engage with potential and existing customers by connecting your business to millions of people allowing instant communication. Reaching a newer and bigger audience through social media, your business’s customer base can multiply in just a few years.

 

 

https://www.wordstream.com/social-media-marketing

How Social Media can Increase Website Traffic

31 ways to increase brand awareness using social media

Social Media: The Key Role It Plays in Establishing Brand Identity

https://www.lifewire.com/top-social-networking-sites-people-are-using-3486554

https://www.hubspot.com/instagram-marketing

https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/

https://medium.com/umblernews/how-social-media-has-revolutionised-the-way-companies-communicate-31ca91b4fa3

Written by Dharini Umrigar. Marketing Intern, Graphic Design and Marketing Communications.

Successful Brands: Leading, Challenging and Exploring

Successful Brands: Leading, Challenging and Exploring

Coca-Cola dividing their products into three categories – leaders, challengers and explorers is a good way of defining the future of any brand. Those who are successful need to be at least one of these, preferably two, ideally all three. Here are five ways I see brands (and a continent) leading, challenging and exploring in 2019.

1) Uber-Agile

“The only way to remain in business is creating brands. The moment we stop creating brands then the e-retailers are going to rule.” Javier Meza, CMO of Sparkling at Coca-Cola

In an interview with Marketing Week  CMO of Sparkling at Coca-Cola, Javier Meza, shared how the brand remains current by aiming to be extraordinarily agile. He said in Japan, for example, the business was launching two new products a week. Each product is tracked for six weeks and then a decision is made whether to keep or cull.

There’s now a separate entity for Coca-Cola called Global Ventures who scale new products as the business diversifies away from fizzy drinks. Rodolfo Echeverria, Coca-Cola’s global vice-president of creative, says explorer brands require “a typical West Coast, California attitude” which means looking towards healthier products. In China, for example, they have recently launched a tea brand for the eighth time as well as having Coca-Cola Clear with lemon. In Japan the brand has Coke Plus Fibre, which lowers the body’s fat absorption and is targeted at over-40 year olds.

Other big players we can expect to see being uber-agile in 2019 are Samsung (who spent around US$15.3 billion on research and development in 2018), Volkswagen and Apple. But will they be swift enough to match Amazon’s meteoric innovation? Bearing in mind Amazon’s R&D spend in 2018 was a cool US$22.6 billion.

2) On-Site Robotic Personalisation

“There are new possibilities for self-assembly, replication, repair in our physical structures, our buildings, machines.” Skylar Tibbits, Founder of the Self-Assembly Lab

The Ministry of Supply in collaboration with MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab in the US are rolling out a service which introduces the next level of on-site robotic personalisation. Now robots will resize a jersey (or sweater) to fit you while you wait.

Skylar Tibbits, Founder of the Self-Assembly Lab speaks of the innovation, saying there’s something psychologically rewarding about watching a garment transform before your eyes, “You want to see that it’s actually active, that it’s alive and transforming with you and around you.” This is the future of customisable products – not just fashion – robotics sprinkling electronic fairy dust and personalising your product while you wait.

3) I’m Still Standing: Bricks and Mortar 

“We’ve found that interacting with the brand in store makes a customer more loyal.” Paul Hedrick, CEO of direct-to-consumer cowboy boot startup Tecovas

Retailers housed in bricks and mortar will still be around but not necessarily in a way we’re used to. Some of the new stores going up are to support their online sales offering, designed to complement the customer’s digital experience. Digital retailers Everlane, for instance, created technology in a bricks and mortar setting, with the checkout using online customer profiles and their saved credit card details. As VendHQ writes, “Technology will fuel – not curb – the rise of brick and mortar retail.”

We are also seeing some retailers launch stores which stay open all hours. For example, BookXcess in Malaysia has just opened its doors to the country’s biggest-ever bookstore and it will stay open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Within the shop of 3,437m² they stock half a million books. The space (more like a mall) also has individual reading areas and a cafe to entice readers to stay for longer.  We may see more stores like these in the Asia Pacific region as their middle class is predicted to rise  to 65% of the continent’s population by 2030, and physical 24/7 is a way of shopping which suits their lifestyle.

4) More Specialised: Less Spend

“2019 will be the year of conspicuous conservation.” Elizabeth Segran, FastCompany

While brands are working overtime to meet customer needs there are real benefits in store (and app!) for the person who wants to streamline their consumer spend. The recent reveal at CES 2019 of L’Oreal’s My Skin Track pH is an example of this. It’s touted as the first “wearable sensor and companion app to easily measure personal skin pH levels and create customized product regimens.” If it works as well as promised the reality will be ways of really knowing what our skin needs and less experimenting with products, therefore less wastage.

The My Skin Track opens intriguing doors to the future of beauty, health and technology, but brands need to hold on to the human touch. I recently read a list of ways the BBC World Service engages younger audiences which can be applied to what customers want. They are: update me, give me perspective, educate me, keep me on trend, amuse me and inspire me.

5) Brand Africa and the Wisdom of emerging markets

“90% of the media’s 24/7 coverage is concerned with the West, whereas 90% of the opportunity is in emerging markets.” Stephen Jennings, CEO, Renaissance Capital

According to Africa Business Communities, the World Bank estimates economic growth in the Sub-Saharan regions to be at a positive 6% average in 2019-20 and McKinsey says Africa is the world’s next “big growth market”.  CBNC Africa also reports there’s a trillion-dollar opportunity to industrialise Africa, “meeting rising domestic demand and create a bridge-head in global export markets.”

But tt’s not only in the business facts and figures that position the continent of Africa to become a powerful challenging and exploring brand – it is the people. We’ll be seeing more ideas and products being created by Africans to meet our most pressing needs. For example Nigerian college student, Segun Oyeyiola, recently upcycled a Volkswagen Beetle and turned it into a wind and solar-powered car, made up of scrap parts, for less than US$6,000, paving the way for more local innovation in this field.

With consumer spending in Africa expected to hit $25 trillion by 2025, our emerging markets are amazing opportunities for international trade and growth, but it will be our spirit of Ubuntu (a quality representing compassion and humanity) which will keep Africa creating innovative products to improve quality of life.

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

 

Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting and has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses. Jainita’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses. Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on various marketing related topics.

 

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business.  Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.

Email: info@pranabusinessconsulting.com

Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796

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