One major challenge entrepreneurs face is gaining the attention of their target audience with the limited resources available to them; while some that even have the resources don’t really know the right medium to employ. The simple truth is the more visible you are, the more business you get.
After much research, we found Akin Eso, CEO of WED Expo, Weddaily and Exhibition Guru, who expertly threw more light on the topic.
What is the key to making a company highly visible in the market?
I would say you have to build a brand and by that it isn’t just a logo or nice designs you have to have a difference. What does your brand do that others don’t do or don’t do as well. Having a difference is key.
A lot of emphasis has always been placed on logos and graphic impressions. Is that a wrong move?
No it is not a wrong move. It is actually compulsory but you can’t stop there. The logos and designs have to have a story. You have to have a difference because just your logo won’t get you there. Take for example Apple, Coca-Cola, Dangote etc. They all have nice logos but again we know them more for what they stand for. So that is d difference am talking about.
What is your view on publicity for any business?
Publicity is everything. You can’t have a good product and no one knows about it. Then why bother? The sad truth is you can have a bad product and good publicity will help make you succeed, but then imagine with a good product. Anyone that says I don’t need publicity isn’t ready for business. If 10 friends know you compared to a million people…..
I have this saying for WedExpo; I tell people we don’t do magic, we just do good publicity. We do a lot of publicity and that is one of our differences to our exhibitors.
What percentage of marketing budget should go into publicity?
Marketing is publicity so to give an exact amount is hard, but again you always have to monitor the trends. You have to ensure your marketing plan is flexible so if one method isn’t working well you switch fast. As far as publicity, it depends on what you are selling. Always be ready to explore different options. Knowing what mediums your target market uses is very important and cost varies by platform.
What do you frequently see businesses do that hurts their visibility instead of promoting it?
Interesting question. I would say selling yourself cheap. The truth is you have sell yourself right; not too cheap not to expensive but right. Selling cheap doesn’t equate to more customers. For WedExpo we sell right but that doesn’t mean cheaper exhibitions get more exhibitors. Our difference steps in. Take for example Apple has a policy that their distributors do not discount their products. But don’t we all want one? Sell right and prove your difference. Also ensure you know what market standards are to get the right price.
Another one is when business owners feel they don’t need publicity e.g. adverts and exhibitions. Yes your friends and family are a lot but just imagine multiplying their number by 1000 and see the future. I like the Apple example. They could have just stayed in the US with the iPhone but today they are in Nigeria. It’s because Apple sells its difference, and don’t we all just love that difference?
How do you make the business hold even when you the risk involved is inevitable?
We all go through risks daily but again you don’t jump into business, so you need to do the homework. That it worked for A doesn’t mean it will work for B even though it looks easy.
What was the boldest publicity move WedExpo made and what was the result?
Boldest I will say was the billboards. Thanks to Afromedia, that single move changed the view. We also had a lot of other bold moves like we showed on papers every week. We were everywhere. We were new but good publicity did it all for us.
How do make that difference happen. Is it by publicity and branding with the example given like Apple?
Difference is in your product or service. By difference, what makes you different from competition? Yes I always advise you chase your passion. Don’t do it because everyone is doing it.
What are the publicity mediums you will advice an SME (with inadequate funds) to exploit?
Very easy. Exploit all your social media platforms, for example Cre8Cafe. When I started with the magazine I was still in the US. I had 5000 Facebook friends. I tagged all of them as my first strategy. Why have private accounts as a business person? I remember going all out adding people to ensure I get to 5000 because I had a plan. It’s free so why not use it. Never be shy to sell yourself.
Another important thing is be the face of your brand for example Linda Ikeji and Lindait helps.
What are the next projects for WED EXPO and Exhibition Guru?
For WED Expo, we are upgrading by introducing The Wedding Show Live just an enhanced format and we will be in Abuja, PH and Lagos this March. As for Exhibition Guru, we will be introducing back-to-school expo this year and a few other projects. Stay tuned!
Exhibition Guru is Nigeria’s biggest exhibition organizer, while WED Expo is Africa’s largest wedding exhibition, a platform that brings wedding vendors together to exhibit their products and services.