How you handle your maiden entry into a new market will make or break the fate of your investment fortune. Do it the right way.

 
Your first brand reveal sets the tone for how your target audience will receive your offering. You have to adequately prepare for this, considering that a host of pre-existing competitors who already have a head-start over you might pose formidable barriers to market entry.
Leveraging professional advisory with local Intelligence on the prevailing psyche of the market helps avoid a disconnect between your perception of the essence of your product or services and customers’ actual needs. With the imperatives of intercultural communications and dynamism in world view, your own idea of business packaging could be at significant variance with local customer expectations.
If you are a foreign investor, resident partners’ local market knowledge; strategic contacts, knowledge of the business culture and the engagement capital they already have with key stakeholders and regulatory bodies are extra leverage you will find useful. Reputable consultancies also come in handy, structuring your communications and brand packaging strategies to resonate with your target audience in terms of psyche, temperament and other intercultural imperatives.

 
Nigeria is Africa’s largest consumer market and smart investors who transcend the country’s peculiar challenges can exploit these platforms for good return on investments. The key difference maker is the adopted strategy of entry. With the right partnerships, foreign investors avail themselves of experiential insights on geography/demographics, prevailing political climate, legalities, tariff rates, security, costs of doing business (transport, power, etc.) speed of access to justice, along with realities of institutional and natural barriers to entry.

 
In the Nigerian example, some critical factors that manufacturers must consider are government’s ongoing policies on the power sector, infrastructure (especially transport network) and how these increase the cost of doing business. Also on the lineup are cost of accessing business credits, efficiency statistics of the Nigerian ports with regard to length of time in goods clearance, financial reporting standards by regulatory authorities and sustainability imperatives germane to the Nigerian landscape as well as speed of access to justice. With all of that sorted, adopting the right communications strategy and branding approach also remains crucial to achieving a positive brand reveal. Since the essence of a business revolves around its customers, it is crucial that you effectively engage your target audience about what you do. Harnessing creative communications and the power of consumer psychology is strategic to business success. After all, people are the reason you are in business in the first place and one size does not fit all.

 
All efforts at branding, brochure developments, website information and business marketing to the target audience require innovative scripting. This is where the strategic relevance of reputable Investor Relations and PR consultancies come in. Compared to the value you stand to gain in the long-term picture, embracing such advantages in business entries remains one of the best decisions you will ever make as a new investor.

 
-Lanre Fashina, Research & Strategic Communications, Zenera Consulting.