I Couldn't Get An Interview With Her, But Her Product Branding…

Even though I couldn’t get an interview with her, maybe because of her busy schedule, I just need to share why I really wanted her so badly to be featured in this post. Her product branding made waves on social media.

Nina’s Slow Boyz

product branding
Nina’s Slow Boyz – Source: Nina’s Facebook Page

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She Is called Nina Ngassa aka Mami Nyama. Nyamangoro or slow boys is the local slang for snails in Cameroon. Snails are a specialty in Cameroon. You could find it hawked on the street in buckets as Congo meat or as slow-boys, ‘pepper soup’ in restaurants, etc.

It was not that commercialize in bulk until Mami Nyama, Nina Ngassa went trending on Facebook with her packaged Nina’s Slow Boyz ready for people to place their order from far and near. Since then, I have been monitoring her on Facebook. Then lo! One day I saw people placing orders out of Cameroon. And then not long I started seeing pictures of happy customers who received their package of Nina’s Slow Boyz in the USA.

Local Product Branding

The first thing I picked from this case is branding. Many of us don’t know how local product branding can push our products, especially local products. Who could ever tell you that the normal Nyama that we see hawked around could trend as much until people are placing orders out of the country? This does not mean that they can’t get snails where they are, but the way Nina branded her Nyama will make any Cameroonian who knows about slow boys to crave for it.

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Branding is one thing in business that African or Cameroonian entrepreneurs don’t think is necessary at the beginning. That’s where they fail to see the big picture. The first thing you should do when putting a product out in the market should be branding. Put your money on your brand and your product will sell. Don’t try to do it alone because you think you want to reduce cost. If you can do it so well, good and fine. If not, there are experts out there who can help you do that at a small cost. You can get in touch with us if you want your brand to shine out there.

Developing Local Brands

The second thing I will be talking about is the development of local products into great brands. I was giving a lecture on entrepreneurship to professional BSc students in Alpha Institute Douala. We talked a lot about developing our local snacks into well branded and packaged products that can be exported.

We even ended that course developing a local snack, fried corn and groundnut which will be packaged. However it will not be just that normal. We developed it in another way so that it would appeal to every social class in the society. This is to help those big guys in big cars not to feel bad that they can enjoy such niceties.

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Most of the time, many people think branding is for multinationals and big companies. What we fail to know is that it is important as well for local businesses even if they are not big. Even if your local business is located in an area where you have the market, developing your local brand is very vital and will determine your long term success.

Your Brand Differentiates You From Competitors

Most entrepreneurs have a vision of their company’s brand in their minds, but what they don’t know is that they have to promote the brand to their target market. This will help expose them more and bring in more customers who may not have known about it.

Branding is No More Expensive

There was a time when you had to spend a lot of money on developing your brand in the market. It is no longer the case, that’s the good news. Today, what you require is just a little creativity and consistency. You may not have the not have the time and budget to carry out a big marketing campaign. That’s why local marketing can be of great help to your branding since it is cheap.

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Online Branding and Marketing

You may thing your market is not present online because you don’t have a website or you don’t make use of social media. Many consumers in Africa today who are connected on the Internet carry out research online before they make a purchase. So if your small business is not yet online, then you should be missing out from those customers carrying out the research.

Advertising on Social Media

Social media is not a marketing tool for the big companies as many local businesses may think. It is totally wrong. Your presence on social media will create a place where people can engage actively with your brand. Nina used this advantage to showcase are snail business. Social network advertising offers you a cheap way to expand your brand to both your local community as well as internationally.

You don’t need a big budget to advertise on Facebook. The good thing is that you can manage your budget as you want. What you need to know is how to target your adverts to the right audience. Using social media helps you to create brand awareness. It also helps you to generate leads and carry out sales. If you are left out there in the dark, know that your competitors will do and get an advantage over you.

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Local Product Development

I will be talking about this in another post. We turn to ignore our own local products and consume what is imported. Most of the products we have out there are imported meanwhile we can get them locally. However, I don’t blame consumers 100%. Most of them are unaware of our local products.

I am surprised that we import coated groundnut with flour. The same groundnut that we have in abundance in Cameroon. Groundnut can be used in making similar products that Cameroonians have been consuming for decades. What happened to Kurukuru or Adakwat? Because the last time I tasted it, it was not very different from the imported coated groundnut though more delicious. See what branding can do. We now fall for the imported coated groundnuts ignoring Kurukur because it looks ‘local’.

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Kurukuru – Source: scitechafrica.com

I know what you may have in mind now. ‘If I make Kurukuru, how many people will buy?’ That’s very true. If Nina was moving around with her Nyama on her head, how many people will buy? Then she did the thing many entrepreneurs ignore. She branded her Slow boys and today she is trending. Brand that Kurukuru or Adakwat or Hausa sweet of yours and see what will happen.

If you plan to launch / or develop your product’s brand and need help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

For product development, funding possibilities and business advisory services, checkout on AfriStartup.

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