Today’s young Nigerians are all about empowerment, social enterprise and social networking.
They don’t want to become engineers but user experience (UX) designers. Doctors working in hospitals? No, they prefer trend spotting – flying in planes and creating mobile apps that are being used to resolve major health problems in Nigeria and other African countries. Lawyers going to court to litigate? Forget about it. They have founded online platforms where one can discuss legal issues with retained attorneys and consultants. And guess what? They are creating most of these revolutionary products, platforms and money-spinning ideas from their homes, cocreation labs or their ‘office-in-a-box’.
The incursion of Elance, Freelancer, Odesk and similar online workplaces are redefining the way we work, and serve as avenues for this generation to explore their passion and creativity. They are becoming young CEOs, solution providers and product developers in their teens, 20s and early 30s, with little or no formal training. Their mobile phones are being transformed to virtual classrooms; the apps they download have become their real-time advisors. Their sole purpose is to create cool stuff around their passions that will trend among their peers, and in doing so, gravitate to developing innovative platforms that are not only sustainable, but create opportunities for brands to connect with consumers. A few examples include iroking, Linda Ikeji and Vibeoo.
How do brands truly connect with the average Nigerian consumer who’s mobile savvy, a ‘dealaholic’ by all standards, a social fashionista who keeps up with the latest trends on various social media networks, and a visionary always on the lookout for the next big thing? In today’s digital world, connecting with Nigeria’s rapidly evolving populace requires
an understanding of the dozens of trends that will define the next decade across industries – from health to travel, and from retail to mobile and telecoms. We will present six of them, in no particular order.
- Co-Labs Mentality
Co-creation and incubation hubs are on the fast rise; brands such as Fast Launch and CC Hub have pioneered this trend, creating workspaces where techpreneurs and sociopreneurs collaborate to solve the country’s greatest problems. Nestled within areas accessible to these radically skilled individuals, these open living labs provide preincubation support aimed at assisting early stage social technology ventures to build the foundation for sustainable enterprises.
CC Hub has developed over 50 African start-up brand ideas with new business ventures on the rise daily through its partner financing options.
MiniPreneurship refers to mobile entrepreneurs running micro businesses. They usually operate from virtual offices or open workspaces, and have participated in leadership, management and creative business programs at academic institutions like Orange Academy and Lagos Business School. Many brands including Capitalsqua.re and Enterprisecreatice.org are opening up fantastic channels for idea-driven individuals who have an ultimate goal: – To create platforms that solve work-related issues – website design, hosting, publishing and production.
Startup brands such as Printivo. com, Traffix.com, Rushhourkiosk.com and Megaheadzonline.com are examples of
beneficiaries of collaborative workspaces. Their ideas help solve traffic, publishing, design and brand development problems.
- Afrocentrism: Afropop & Afrocosmos Brands are all about emotions, and emotions connect with memory, self-image, hopes, dreams and aspirations. Strong brands appeal to our human senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, sound – either with the brand itself, or in the way it is marketed. Every brand we identify with is an expression of our own identity.
“Afrocentrism” is everything African, from fashion gear, hairstyle, tattoos to music and the artistes influencing today’s pop speak – Phyno, Tuface, Illblis, Olamide, Davido, D’Banj, 9nice and their likes. Nigerians love their own identity and they have found a creative way of incorporating this into every facet of fashion (from Ankara patterned denims to adire casual jackets to beaded afro curls/braids, shoes and wearable devices).
Launch of indigenous brands that offer distinctly unique propositions and communications on their various product
offerings. Examples include Orijin, Labule and Okada Books.
Online shopping, classified and price comparison sites such as Dealdey, Jumia, Konga, Kaymu, OLX, TradeStable, Zowasel and PriceCheck have grown in stature and popularity during the past 48 months. Mobile money platforms like Mypaga.com are becoming de facto payment gateways as global shopping stores – Shoprite, Game, Spar, Park N
Shop, Mr. Price – located in super malls across the country are becoming hotspots for brands to engage and entertain different audience segments.
The marriage of social shopping, mobile connectivity, and peer influence. With various online shopping platforms springing up to capture the savvy shopper, there’s a market for someone who has a story to tell and sell. Decoding the average social shopper to understand their mindset and cultural influences will help brands survive and not go down the Nigerian failed business hole such as Woolworths did when it ventured into this market.
- Swagga Lifestyle
Lifestyle and entertainment hot spots are on the rise with brands like Escape, Quilox, Rhapsody, La Mango, Rumours and
other bars, clubs, restaurants and lounges, providing exquisite dining and relaxation areas, branded entertainment and engaging experiences with celebrities, likeminds, and business and social networks. This trend has fueled a high rise of the ‘V.V.I.P.’ status in other local hangouts and created the ‘pop champagne’ movement and spending culture among millennials.
On the entertainment side, events such as Afropolitan Vibes, Rhythm Unplugged, Lagos Countdown, and Basketmouth Uncensored, help provide new businesses and revenue streams for brand owners and other online related services – ticket sales (Afritickets.com) and destination travel (Wakanow. com).
- Virtual Learning
Over the last 18 months, there’s been a 2000% increase in the launch of online universities, professional courses, academic
programs and mobile education platforms. E-learning tablets and apps are springing up on a daily basis in Nigeria, fuelled in part by partnerships with telecom firms and financial institutions, to help shape the minds of our young ones into becoming the next generation of leaders driving creativity and innovation across Africa.
We need to urgently look at the possibilities of integrating several ideas into one single digital platform where students can have access to simplified and entertaining versions of the various textbooks and handouts they have been assigned to read. By “entertaining”, I mean the use of illustrations, emojis, infographs, videos and pictures. This virtual learning hub can
become a go-to-resource center, incorporated with existing school curriculum, where mathematics is demystified in a fun, creative way; where science subjects are taught in a vary practical manner using video tutorials.
-Franklin Ozekhome is a Pop Culture Strategist and Founder of TINK Africa, a trends research and consumer insights platform.