The Covid-19 Economy is a Digital one

If you own a business and you’re wondering how to thrive amidst the Corona Virus pandemic, know this: Diversification of skills is key.

Scratch that. Everyone who has been brainstorming while on lockdown knows that.

They should also admit to themselves that unless the work they do is filed under ‘essential services’, their businesses need to go digital on online to survive.

Some of my writings cover travel and culture so one of the sectors that came to mind for me was tourism. Tourism seems like it will be taking a bow for the rest of 2020 but if you look closely, you will see opportunities to diversify its offerings.

You will see opportunities to diversify your business’ offerings

One of the things, Daymond John’s book, ‘Powershift’ is taught me is the need to always focus on the why.

As per why do people like to travel? To get a particular feeling. Now how can you present the same feeling using digital? That’s where Multimedia Specialists and IT/ software developers come in.

Be it Tourism, or fashion or even agriculture, the cyber factor has to be integrated. Some practices like remote working and online meetings will have to be integrated into our system- permanently.

Like it or not, it will be business ‘unusual ‘and you have to do one of two things: Learn the skills needed or hire someone who has them.

5 brands that are promoting Social Distancing

Self Isolation. Quarantine. Social Distancing .

These are some of the words that checker our conversations on a daily basis. Be it on the internet , over the telephone or even on the street where you live. ( the few times you get to be there, anyway.)

As the world adjusts to the new lifestyle Covid-19 has imposed on us, socio-economic sectors are adjusting really quickly and the PR and Advertising sector is adopting Creative methods to show it’s relevance in the scheme of things.

Here are five adverts that have found a way to promote their products while injecting a subtle message on the importance of Social Distancing.

Ukraine’s Ministry Of Culture and Information Policy: Ukraine has leveraged on the just completed Easter season to use what appears to be the image of the Virgin Mary to urge its citizens to wear gloves. Even when in prayer

Volvo: Until I saw this ad, Id thought you were safe in your car but Volvo says no! So I went to a friend by the name of Google but couldn’t find information I properly trusted so…Ill say it’s safe to stick with Volvo and avoid too much driving around, for now. You can never be too careful.

Burger King: Burger King displays full ingredients of its famous burger. Basically they are saying : Do you want a burger? We’ll teach you how to make one at home,-don’t come to us. But here’s the genius aspect of this ad: There is a secret ingredient missing from the list. I mean, which serious business gives all its winning moves? And if you don’t believe me, go ahead and put it together. The one thing we will agree on in the end is the fact that you won’t be able to wait for them to reopen. Yes, you will find yours to be a relatively bland imitation but don’t take my word for it; try it first.

Audi: Audi’s new advert gives a subtle message on the importance of #Social distancing. This short Gif shows the circles unlocking to give space, just as we are all advised to with each other .

Nike: Nike’s messaging is simply hilarious and speaks for itself. For all those who’ve always fancied themselves to be the local area ‘Ronaldo’ of the video game world , this is the best time to switch it back on and yell till your lungs get fired up. And oh, don’t forget to wear a Nike wristband. I always believe you should go hard or go home. Or stay home…:)

Could Facebook’s Watch tip YouTube off the top of the Video market?

Sometimes the name that gets attention is Straight forward and obvious. Remember Audrey Hepburn’s pet in Breakfast in Tifanny’s? It was an orange Coloured feline simply referred to as cat. I mean I watched the movie only a couple years back and don’t remember what Hepburn’s character was called but I certainly remember Cat.

So when Facebook decides it’s launching a tab that allows users host regular videos in TV style , called Watch, I say it’s smart.

Smart because it’s simple, memorable and descriptive…Watch. It is for watching, afterall. It’s the kind of information you would instantly give if someone woke you at 2.34 am in the morning, just as the fog settles into your head and asked you what it’s called( This is in reference to regular mortals, mind, not the types that can tell you the square root of 9.36 trillion in the split second)

According to Facebook,

Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work. We think a wide variety of Facebook shows can be successful…

If you’re a new Vblogger, you’re in luck. It looks like Facebook has put some modalities in place to ensure audience growth, amongst others.

The creation of this video tab is one of the amazing ways Facebook keeps reinventing its game , beating its competitors in the process. Which competitors? You ask. My sentiments, exactly.

<a target=”_blank” href=”″><img src=”; alt=”Tweet: If you’re a new Vblogger, you’re in luck. It looks like Facebook has put some modalities in place to ensure audience growth, amongst others.” /></a>

When it comes to hosting videos though, YouTube has always been the top shot; Vimeo tried but never quite rose to the occasion. This time around however , YouTube appears to be facing some serious opposition. If you’ve followed the history and growth of Facebook, youll realize they don’t start perfect. They begin with a foot in, test the waters and gradually plunge the rest of their body in as they nip, tuck and review their services. See what happened after they bought WhatsApp and Instagram? Notice all the live updates and the extra ‘like’ buttons plus the live stories that suddenly showed up on your newsfeed? For now Watch will be launched in the US alone, giving YouTube a little time to dash into its workshop and further up its game.

In the meantime, we’ll sit back and watch as these social media giants fight to sustain fans through video innovation.

Who do you think would win, though?

Here’s what happens while you share Speed Darlington’s videos

Speed Darlington’s Bangdadadang is sticky.
It’s like a small clock in your head that won’t just stop….

I’m not regular!
I call through like ‘Bangdadadang’
Smash through like Bangdadadang , Dadadang!

Arghhh! It just won’t stop!

So many people are either talking about it, singing what they know of it or viewing it.

Over and Over. Again.

Many say embracing his music is an act of mediocrity- they say his lyrics are substandard. Maybe. But how many Nigerian songs have lyrics that aren’t?

Shall I point to Harry Song’s ‘ Fine Girl ?’

Fine Geh, Sessy geh(Sexy)
Fine Geh, is a goody geh

Or this particular song I have been trying to find in which the artist goes,

Se bi na indomie you gimme chop o?Araga rigi rigi rigi raga (I know!)

For a long time Nigerian artists have produced music banking on the fact that more people dance to the instrumentals and not the lyrics of a song. What then stops Speed from tapping into this thriving musical trend?
Admittedly, Bangdadadang could do with better studio production amongst others. Aside from this, it has managed to embrace what can be termed as ‘ good music.’ His music has a rhythm, sends a message and….well, it’s very sticky.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, a thing becomes sticky when it is memorable and can be easily passed on. ( to the next potential critic or fan). Also the art of repetition helps out. There is a thin line between hostility and acceptance. Gladwell says,

There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible.-

Like it or not, Bangdadadang is kind of sticky, isn’t it? Even more sticky is Speedy Darlington’s personality: one moment you’re laughing at him and then the very next, you find yourself laughing with him and wondering to yourself, wait a minute! He’s got so many fans (including you) what’s happening?
He is experiencing all the things that growing brands go through and you are very much part of it:

Here’s how:

1. The reversed endorsement:

A Speed Darlington fan in Kenya

Hey, you know how it is when people or companies want to launch a product and then they get celebrities to endorse them? Well thats what Speed is getting even without soliciting for it. In this case, its reversed endorsement laced with negative comments, in some cases.

A Speed Darlington fan in France

In PR it is said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. In Speed’s case the haters share with their network to show their amusement, shock or whatever emotion they are feeling and this keeps his social media numbers rising. Mahatma Ghandi used to say and I quote,

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

2. He’s Riding the wave: Did you know, Speed is a US based filmmaker?

Speed( right) on the set of The Divorce

A lot of people think he’s some ‘razz’ dude that decided to take advantage of a free beat but there’s more to him that meets the ear buds. He recently shot a short film called The Divorce. The movie was done in two locations-Manhattan and Newyork, something he casually mentions to his Instagram fans. I don’t know about you but I’d like to see if  The Divorce has a comic twist to it. So if it’s available, then I’m watching. In an earlier post, I wrote about how actress, Lupita Nyongo keeps evolving her brand. It’s mostly about taking every opportunity given to showcase her talents to potential fans, investors and collaborations. This is what Speed Darlington has managed to achieve. He is currently under the radar and he’s milking the attention as best he can.

3. His confidence is contagious: Speed says,

 ‘I go after anything I want, I chase it till I get it, I don’t care who it belongs to.’

So he lets the criticisms roll off his back like water slides off oil. Speed is focused on those who like him; nothing else. Six days ago, he was up at 4am, popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate a milestone: his number of fans had hit 40,000 and he wanted to celebrate before – get this-he hit 41,000. I was chatting with my brother about Speed the other day and he said, ‘ Can you imagine what a person can accomplish with that kind of confidence?’ I can only imagine but I know he’s hit over to 46,000 fans on Instagram alone and is now headlined to perform amongst the likes of PSquare, Tiwa Savage, Teckno , David and BankyW at the One Africa Music Fest in Newyork City, later this month. Dr Sid has also gone online to reveal that he will be taking Speed Darlington to Nigeria soon, I’m almost sure.

4. A deliberate Brand strategy: 

Let’s look at Speed’s so called ‘unappealing’ accent but back up a bit. This guy has lived in New York for at least 17 years. He is a filmmaker that works with a cross section of people from different races, but claims to have an Ibotic accent. Whether it’s real or not, the accent is one of the things- please don’t shoot me- that adds ‘flava‘ to his music. From Several states of the United States right across the UK through Kenya and Nigeria, among others, children, teens, men and women and famous people are posting videos with the hashtag #Bangdadadang. The guy has gone viral-with his intricate braided African hairstyles, women headdresses and facial expressions.

It looks like this guy is working with a template; most organisations and personalities from Coca-Cola, to Beyonce  down to our king of Nigerian comedy, Alibaba do. Speedy may not be as famous as they are but he’s certainly getting some attention!

According to the American Marketing Association:

A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

 I think Speed has managed to accomplish this and studying him may be a good way to experience some spurt of growth with your brand. In May this year, he was endorsed by American rapstar star and Enterpreneur, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs.

‘I love this brother!’ Diddy wrote as an intro to the video he shared. ‘He inspires me.’

And to my mind, it doesn’t get better than that.

Speed was endorsed by American star, Diddy in May 2017

The evolution Of the Lupita Nyong’o Brand

Oscar winner, Lupita Nyong’o left many slack jawed when she went up against fellow actress Regina Hall at the LipSync battle,in November 2016. Hers was a sultry performance in which she gyrated to Salt N Pepa’s ‘ What a man’. Donned in a pair of skimpy shorts, a tank top and a black and blond wig, the actress seemed to tell her audience that she is a multi dimensional actress capable of playing all kinds of roles Hollywood decides to throw at her.
If you didn’t know this Kenyan actress is deliberate, well now you do!

Strategic Collaborations
Lupita has worked with Hollywood ‘s best, from Brad Pitt, to Chiwentel Ejiofor  down to David Oyelowo and Liam Neeson. She didn’t stop there. She got movie rights to renowned Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie’s book, Americana and is producing what is expected will be blockbuster movie. Basically she’s integrated her self not only into the American film industry but the African Entertainment scene as well. Let’s not forget her epic role in Star Wars. Every now and then she returns to Kenya to shoot some documentaries and give back to her community and as though to leave no doubt to her affiliation with the African Society, she’s put a lot of work in her role in Disney’s Queeen of Katwe. You have got to love, Ms Nyong’o, you’ve not got much of a choice. In the Hausa language such influence is called, ‘ Farin Jini’ meaning, luck , charm or what some would describe as the ‘ X Factor’or ‘Chutpah’. In Lupita ‘s case however, it goes beyond that. To my mind, what she has going for her is sheer determination and a calculating mind that chess players would be glad to call their own.

Riding the wave of success 

Walk back with me to early 2014…

Five years ago when Lupita got an award for her close to non- speaking role in ‘ Twelve Years a Slave’, many thought she’d be a flash in the pan.

Twelve Years a Slave Photo Credit: Associated Press ( AP)

For some other person, maybe but not for Lupita because she rode the wave of fame; almost adhering to pop psychological quotes in the process : ‘ Out of sight is out of mind’ and so she attended most of the events she was invited to. ‘ Go big or go home’ which is why every outing was done with a fashion statement of bright stylish clothes. She didn’t leave her Yale degree behind, either. Each TV appearance was done with a comportment that spoke of intelligence, grit and class. As a show host you knew she’d turn up and say stuff that would trend on social media or make magazine headlines.

Lupita has been on Ellen several times!

Lupita has done Broadway, acted a whole range of serious movies that cover scifi, drama, suspense… But ( there’s a but!) movie bosses know that for any female to be successful in the industry, she needs to be cast as a femme fatale, at some point. That for Lupita must have been the missing part of the puzzle. She probably had never been called to audition for the role of the sultry lead so when the call from LLCoolJ and his quirky sidekick, Crissy Tiegan came through she was again deliberate as she’s always been.

The LipSync battle: Milking opportunity

Photo Credit: Spike TV

On the set of the LipSync battle, the actress catwalked unto the stage  in a black dress that worked great for the Enriche Iglesias’ Bailando, the Latin song she performed to. Reginas mime after hers was probably more exciting but when Lupita returned to serenade her soon to be gawking audience with Salt N Pepa, she completed her ‘sass’ submission, she’d managed to roll out her show reel: Tomboy, sassy, sexy and sultry; willing and able to perform any role Hollywood throws her way. I suspect she would not have cared if Regina Hall clinched the belt. Her focus was on future things.
LLCoolJ asks her earlier in the show, ‘How excited are you to be here tonight?’

And her response? ‘ At last, at last I’m here!’
I believe this quote by Sir Richard Branson summarises Ms Lupita’s Brand Strategy. He says,

‘Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.”

Very apt, don’t you think?

And oh. Just incase you missed that episode of Lipsync battle, you can watch a clip  by clicking on this link!