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Real Business Lessons from Nigerian Parents.

Published by Oyinlola Akindele on

Anytime I see the term “Nigerian Parents” being used, I already know what to expect. If you are a Nigerian, you should know this too. There’s a huge difference between being a parent and being a “Nigerian parent”, if you are a Nigerian child and you have a parent, not a Nigerian parent, you are one of the lucky few.

I wouldn’t agree it’s a term being associated with negative images and dealings, neither will I accept that all instances it’s being used for are positive. There’s only a balance that an average Nigerian child finds amusing and annoying, at the same time. 

“Some Nigerian parents are more Nigerian parents than the other. Some Nigerian parents are mentors to other Nigerian parents.”

There are important business lessons that can be learnt from the brand, these are lessons that have been thoroughly considered and will be discussed here.

Consciously or Unconsciously, You are Branding your Product.

Branding is a marketing practice which involves building unique representation for your product or service, this includes name, logo, colour, etc. Branding is not limited to items associated with your business, it extends towards the feel/aura it gives to the audience. Branding is a conscious process, you decide the image you want your audience to have in their minds when they think about it. However, when you fail to do this consciously, you are still building the brand, just that you are not in control. Your audience will do it for you, based on what they see and experience.

Think about Nigerian parents, what comes to your head? Was it consciously built? Then how come we all have those symbols and images in our heads when we hear the term?

Consciously build your brand, that way you can subtly dictate what people “feel” about your business. If you don’t, it will be done for you by your audience, leading us to the next point.

People Pay Attention.

Have you ever experienced situations where an individual brings up a topic about a product/service for the first time and suddenly, hundreds of other people agree? These situations could be positive or negative, but the point is the united front the audience has towards that particular business.

People pay attention, whether you know it or not. The little things you do today which you may consider insignificant or which you think went unnoticed, your audience paid attention to it. Your symbols, your message, your pattern and your methods all matter to your audience, no matter how little.

Just imagine how all Nigerian children have a similar opinion about the “Nigerian parent” brand, the little details being put to the table to form a strong standpoint on the brand. Just imagine it.

The Tide Moves; Go with It.

A significant point we agree on when it comes to Nigerian parents is how outdated their opinion can be. I mean, it’s the 21st century, why are they still holding on to beliefs their grandparents handed down to their parents? Whew! 

It’s easy to criticise them but is your brand not doing the same? Are you in the know of current trends and practices in your industry? Are you aware of platforms you should leverage and communities you should thrive in? Have you moved from being aware to actually taking steps? No?

If you are not doing these, it only takes a while for your competitors to leave you behind. Research daily, spy on your competitors (legally, of course), thread the path of top businesses in your industries, turn on notifications where it matters, attend relevant conferences and occasions. Whatever you do, ensure you move with the tide in the industry, you don’t want to be caught naked when the tide has moved past you.

Listen to your Audience Intentionally.

It’s easier to do what you like, unfortunately, running a business successfully never comes doing what you like. An average Nigerian parent does whatever they want to do regardless of what you may think about it. If they have to consider some people, it’s usually a fixed set of people who fellow Nigerian parents. How relevant is that? 

Not listening to those who matter is disastrous for your brand. The point is not to totally neglect your competitors and your business community, but to pay full attention to your audience and listen to their needs. Who is your product for? Who needs your service? Those are the people that really matter to you, and that your product development should be centred around and not fellow “Nigerian parents” who know only as much as you do.

Good Communication is Essential.

This works in two ways.

Don’t treat your customers the way Nigerian parents treat their children regarding communication. Some would argue that the fact that a Nigerian child can understand what it means when Nigerian parents cough is a good trait. They could be right however, this trait is not emulatable for your brand. Your marketing communications is essential. It keeps your customers abreast of what is going on with your brand, it builds trust between them and your business, I could go on and on.

Don’t expect your customers to understand your every move without telling them, inform, tell stories, educate them, entertain them, use important call-to-actions, etc. Be human. Don’t wink on your logo and expect us to understand, we won’t. My daddy’s wink is enough, please.

Then two, speak the language your customers understand. Scale up or tone down to their level, you need to be sure your audience understands you and are comfortable with your relations.

If your customers understand this, by all means…

Wow your Customers!

That wow moment when a Nigerian child sees a parent living in Nigeria but isn’t a Nigerian parent! Has anyone ever shared something unusual their parents do and you wish you could just move to their house permanently? Yes, that is it! In a country of Nigerian parents, be the parent. (Does that make sense to you, as it does in my head?) 

Wow your customers and convert their friends. Stand out from the competition. What makes you stand out is when you have successfully mastered the rules mentioned above. 

To stand out, you need to have mastered what it takes to blend in.

Choose a Team; Trust the Team; Delegate!

An average Nigerian parent doesn’t trust you to do the task so well, it doesn’t matter how minute it is. They need you to wash the plates, scrub the floor, wash the car, etc., yet they still go about complaining about how you may not get it done the right way. In the end, a large number would do it themselves. This attitude projects into more serious things like choosing a career path, choosing a life partner, etc. They will do it for you if you allow them. 

Choose a team you can trust, then delegate. To be honest, you may also feel disturbed whether the person you have chosen can do the task as much as you would have but hey! You need to move on to better things. You cannot do everything alone. Learn to delegate tasks and be at peace with it, you will be surprised at how much other teammates can achieve without your direct involvement.

Are these relatable? Are there other lessons you learnt from your Nigerian parents? Share your thoughts in the comment box.


2 Comments

Eyimofe · September 3, 2020 at 5:45 am

These are so true. So many lessons to learn from Nigerian parents. As I do say, I don’t want to parent my children the way my parent did, it wasn’t so bad but it could have been better. We should also learn from that, that this is the usual way they do this business does not make it right. It could actually be bringing profit just as some children were well brought through that 1930 style but you could also do better than that, change styles or add to your styles. I am well-trained but if they had added some things or remove some, I would have been better than this today. Thanks for this write-up, it’s Excellent.

    Oyinlola Akindele · September 3, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Wow, you actually summed it up with a better perspective, you’re absolutely right. Thanks for reading, and engaging with the article.

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