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Leverage technology to engage customers - Small businesses advised

BY: Elizabeth Nyaadu Adu
Dr Raphael Odoom(left), Mr Rhyme Sonny(2nd left) and Mrs Comfort Ocran, the host during the discussion
Dr Raphael Odoom(left), Mr Rhyme Sonny(2nd left) and Mrs Comfort Ocran, the host during the discussion

A lecturer at the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Dr Raphael Odoom, has urged small businesses to leverage the power of technology as they engage their customers.

According to him, “the old times when we thought the digital space was something meant for only big businesses is over, hence the need for businesses to migrate from the everyday traditional business sense to a digital space”.

Dr Odoom was speaking on a digital programmed dubbed: ‘CoRe Hangout’, which forms part of the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme (CoRe), an initiative of the Springboard Road Show Foundation and in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Solidaridad.

The programme is supporting over 692,000 young people in the country to survive and thrive during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CoRe hangout is a platform where participants have the opportunity to engage with people on a wide range of topics from personal development to business, health and entertainment.

He spoke on the theme: ‘Business in Crisis’ on the topic ‘Marketing and Branding Solutions.’

Dr Odoom said combining the digital space as far as e-commerce was concerned and some virtual form of selling was one key area businesses were leveraging.

“Fortunately for a lot of small businesses, with the aid of social media platform and  well planned objectives, people are leveraging these social media platforms to generate a lot of income.

“So it is one of the avenues that businesses may explore to push themselves up,” he said.

Beyond COVID-19

He said businesses which had been impacted negatively by the pandemic could only rise by revitalising through rebranding.
Read; Invest in Africa and MastercardFoundation join forces to assist COVID-hit companies in Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal ...


He explained that when it came to doing business, there could not be ‘one size fits all’ therefore, businesses needed to look at the nature of their business, the kind of brand they conveyed and how their customers appreciated their current scheme of things.

Branding

He said branding went beyond packaging and labelling, adding that “beyond the logos of a business, branding may involve the activities associated with the brand or product”.

He said businesses should anticipate what customers would want and ensure that their desire matched the kind of products given.

Sharing some tips on branding, the Chief Executive Officer of mSimps, Ms Mabel Simpson, advised businesses to show empathy by checking up on their clients constantly.

She added that businesses should also package their products or services to portray their brand.

Mentioning some key factors in branding, a spoken word artiste, Mr Rhyme Sonny said businesses should learn to research, know their audience and do personal branding to help their businesses to succeed.

Impact of COVID-19

Sharing a story on how the pandemic has affected his work, he said although the pandemic affected many in the creative arts industry, it also created a lot of opportunities for writers to prepare and reflect.

“As an artiste, you need to anticipate certain things for your plans to be in motion.

“There is no creative art without audience and we used to think that talent could only be affected by economic downturns but we now know that it could be affected by a pandemic,” he said.