PivotPath

Elizabeth M’balu Oke nominated for Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards

Elizabeth M’balu Oke nominated for Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards

PivotPath President/Founder Elizabeth M’balu Oke has been nominated for the 2022 Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards, an
annual program designed to recognize entrepreneurs and small businesses in the greater Gwinnett
region.

Release Date: October 12, 2022 

Gwinnett County (Metro Atlanta) Ga – October 12, 2022 – PivotPath President/Founder Elizabeth M’balu Oke has been nominated for the 2022 Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards, an annual program designed to recognize entrepreneurs and small businesses in the greater Gwinnett region. This year’s program will be held at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville on Dec.9 at 9:00 a.m. “I am so honored to be nominated for the Emerging Entrepreneur Award by the Gwinnett Chamber.”, Elizabeth stated. “I look forward to witnessing and sharing my growth and lessons learned with fellow entrepeneurs. This is only the beginning of my journey.”

Honoring individuals and organizations alike, designations will be awarded in the following ten categories:
• Community Contributor Award
• Culture Creator Award
• Emerging Entrepreneur Award
• Founder Award
• Launch Award
• Minority-Owned/Woman-Owned Small Business Award
• Small Business Award; 0-5; 6-24; 24+ employees
• Support System Award

“Small businesses account for ninety-percent of all business in Gwinnett and are a critical component to our thriving economy,” shared Nick Masino, President and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “We congratulate Elizabeth on her nomination and look forward to celebrating with them at this upcoming awards program.”

For more information on this event or to register to attend, visit GwinnettChamber.org/Small-Business-Awards.

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About the Gwinnett Chamber
The Gwinnett Chamber serves as the voice for businesses, facilitating quality job growth opportunities while enhancing the community’s
vitality and quality of life. The Chamber offers the metro Atlanta business community a wealth of growth opportunity by collaborating with
regional partners to drive economic and community development initiatives throughout Georgia. Through its fundamental objectives to
help create quality jobs and wealth, strengthen the community, and grow business, the Chamber serves more than 2,000+ member
companies in metro Atlanta while delivering innovative programs to connect businesses locally, regionally, and globally.
www.gwinnettchamber.org

PivotPath: 2022 Sponsor for Gwinnett’s Collins Hill High School

PivotPath supports Gwinnett County's Collins Hill HS

As a Gwinnett County business sponsoring one of the state’s largest high schools, PivotPath aims to give back to the community where it began.

Release Date: September 27, 2022 

PivotPath is proud to be the 2022 Gold Sponsor for Collins Hill High School Athletic Department. As a Gwinnett County business sponsoring one of the state’s largest high schools, PivotPath aims to give back to the community where it began. 

“We live in Gwinnett County. PivotPath is headquartered in Gwinnett County, and my husband and I have two kids in Gwinnett County Public Schools,” said Elizabeth M’Balu Oke, PivotPath Founder and President. “It’s the community we live in.”

PivotPath’s sponsorship will help the Collins Hill High basketball and football teams succeed at their fundraising goals for this year. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Athletic Department, mostly for t-shirts to be rolled out at future games. 

PivotPath is a minority woman-owned brand marketing and communications firm, and member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

PivotPath and the City of East Orange — Sharing Stories, Building Place, Growing Pride

City of East Orange

PivotPath is partnering with the City of East Orange to create compelling community branding to support inclusive, sustained development in the East Orange economy and community. 

The Client

The City of East Orange is a storied, small city in the orbit of a global megalopolis, with all the possibilities and complexity. Its people and history are rooted deeply in the Black and immigrant experience. East Orange aims to capitalize on its strengths in the twenty-first century while preserving and enhancing its history and assets. 

Based on initial surveys, East Orange residents express mixed feelings toward their City, from excitement and comfort to frustration and apathy. Like any city, East Orange has hidden gems and undeniable challenges. Balancing hope with practicality, fostering well-founded pride, and uniting residents, businesses, and civic leaders will all comprise elements of the partnership. 

The Work

PivotPath will ensure the City of East Orange can promote its cultural, economic, and community potential through a new strong brand identity and effective City brand roll out. 

Our primary goals include: promoting East Orange as a great place to live and work, unifying businesses and community groups behind a brand, and cultivating community pride. The core strategy will focus on cultivating a narrative of hope and momentum that builds on East Orange’s existing known and unknown assets and strengthens relationships with residents, businesses, and community groups. Key tasks will be identifying existing partnerships and assets, formulating a compelling and unifying brand, and crafting informative graphics and place-based storytelling. 

PivotPath will draw on its experiences with cities and counties in urban and suburban America, especially cities that share some of East Orange’s qualities, such as DeKalb County, Georgia. Our team will utilize their worldwide experience in marketing and placemaking to shape a community brand that deserves national and global attention.

inclusive communications

Inclusive Communications to the Masses

By: Justin Roshak and Ashley Przybylski

Every organization needs flexibility, innovation, and meritocracy to keep up in a fast-paced global economy. Inclusion is a core value that supports these goals, and organizations that prioritize inclusion will find themselves open to new opportunities in staff, partnerships, and markets.

Inclusive Communications. It’s a modern buzzword for an old idea. But what does it mean, and how can organizations practice inclusion when communicating with the public?

Inclusion may not come naturally to individuals or organizations. Differences in culture, language, and perspective can be challenging to identify without prior experience. Technology makes it easy to approach the world with a one-fits-all approach, leaving out some audiences. An organization’s makeup is rarely broad as its potential clients or partners.

Focus on Commonalities

Few organizations are built from the ground up to work across every possible line of geography, culture, and language. The staff you have, and the partners you’ve worked with, will inevitably shape expectations—which don’t always fit new opportunities. Worst of all, knowing when cross-cultural communication has succeeded—or fallen flat can be challenging. 

For example, PivotPath has worked on a series of communications projects in the West African nation of Sierra Leone as part of a European Union international development and democratization project. 

Sierra Leone’s residents speak multiple major languages and many minor ones. As in the US, partisanship is a sharp dividing line—the country is still recovering from a vicious civil war in the 1990s. For messaging to succeed in these circumstances, it must be inclusive. 

When developing outreach videos, clothing and skin color are needed to match local expectations. Images avoided signifiers of political parties or regions (still very sensitive subjects) and leaned into shared national identity symbols. Messaging focused on common goals: peace, democracy, and shared prosperity. At all content production and dissemination levels, communication sought to unite and energize. 

Inclusive messaging recognize commonalities and seeks to build on them. It provides a framework for collaboration while remaining sensitive to natural divisions. 

“The common emotions we all face are things I want our communications for our clients to focus on. If we can do communications that bring people together, drawing the strengths on our differences, then we are truly succeeding.” —Elizabeth M’balu Oke

 

Build—and Sustain—a Diverse Communication Team

The American Civil Liberties Union found that “there are higher voting rates in minority communities where radio station owners are of the same ethnicity”. Media diversity stimulates audiences’ engagement through shared backgrounds. But when there is a lack of diversity, the sense of trust is not as strong and can lead to viewers being less engaged, leading to the voting numbers going down. 

And yet, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Hispanics make up 18% of the workforce but only 12% of the media industry. Similarly, research from Pew Research Center shows that only 7% of newsroom employees are Black, but 11% of U.S. workers.

As with media, so too with any twenty-first-century communications team.

One reason the PivotPath team can succeed in the U.S. and international projects is its diverse makeup. PivotPath’s staff is mixed with team members representing different cultural backgrounds, generations, and social lifestyles and brings diverse experiences in sales, marketing, and journalism. As a result, there is a broader pool of perspectives and ideas than if the firm had hired from only one place or field. 

Organizations should strive toward inclusion in all positions relating to mass communication. But this is just a place to start. By building and supporting a diverse media and communications team, your message has a greater reach as it will resonate with a broader audience. 

Companies also need to listen to what their employees have to say. Hire talented, diverse voices, and listen to them. Employees from underrepresented communities can help their organizations communicate more effectively with these communities.

 

Use Person-Focused Language

 

The words we choose can be a powerful tool for getting our message across—or they can unintentionally exclude or alienate individuals or groups. A rigorous understanding of subtext and subtleties can take many years of experience to fully grasp, let alone incorporate into an organization’s messaging DNA. But there are hard-and-fast rules to avoid common pitfalls.

A strategic rule of thumb is to emphasize language that is person-focused and as broadly inclusive as possible. In practice, this can take several forms.

Person-centered language is most obviously useful in the context of persons with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness/unemployment, or people without homes/jobs, which are much more empathetic terms than “blind”, “disabled”, “homeless”, or “unemployed”. The former are conditions, while the latter are unwelcome labels. No one wants to be personally identified with their troubles.

Instead of phrases like “Black and White”, say “all races and ethnicities”. This ensures that groups of other geographic origin are automatically included and neatly elides certain complexities. For example, Latinx persons in North America may constitute an ethnicity or a race, depending on context. This broad approach keeps communications maximally inclusive.

Referring to a title or role promotes meritocracy and inclusive communications. An equally inclusive set of terms is “everyone” or “colleagues”, in place of “ladies and gentlemen”; For terms such as, “chairman” or “policewoman”. Much preferable are “chair”, “chairperson”, or “police officer”. Reference the office, not the gender of the officeholder. Research shows that gendered professional terms have real-world implications when they come up against deeply-ingrained gender stereotypes. 

Politics is another pitfall. Unless engaged in direct political activism for a cause or party, it is usually preferable to refer to “Americans”, “citizens”, or “residents” instead of “Democrats and Republicans”. An inclusive messaging strategy seeks to build commonality; politically-charged labels are often inimical to that goal.

PivotPath’s Inclusive Communications

Do you want to build inclusion into your organization’s DNA but aren’t sure how? Our communication creators at PivotPath have the tools and expertise to help. Contact us for a FREE strategy session.

6 Actionable Steps to Keep Your Residents Engaged & Informed

Although it might seem like things are getting better, we are still amid a global pandemic. We’re all stuck with a little less socializing and a lot more anxiety about the world. Regardless, it is crucial to keep your residents safe, happy, and healthy. As such, reaching out to the public to keep them engaged and informed is perhaps the best way to ensure that your organization and your residents are on the same page. There are a plethora of benefits that community building and engagement could bring. Here are six actionable strategies that you can start implementing to keep your residents engaged and informed.

6 Actionable Steps to Keep Your Residents Engaged & Informed

1. Give Your Residents a Platform to Express Themselves

Firstly, a community is nothing without its residents, and unsurprisingly, your residents are a critical factor in your community, whether you work in a nonprofit organization or a municipality. In the public sector, you work to improve the lives of your residents, and giving them a platform to express their opinions, share their experiences, and talk about the things that matter to them is vital for a healthy dialogue that will earn their trust and satisfaction. The more your residents feel like they are being heard, listened to, and valued, the more likely they are to remain in your community and on your platform.

Strategies like employing user-generated content are a handy way to bolster your online presence. It is also a foolproof way to demonstrate to your community that you care about their ideas, ideals, and values. Send out an email newsletter encouraging residents to share photos or posts through Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to win a prize. You can utilize Zoom or Skype to officiate a town hall meeting digitally, keeping the health of your residents in mind while also allowing your constituents to level with you with upcoming legislation or regulation. With your residents getting participation and engagement and your brand getting content, it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book and a win-win situation. Furthermore, this allows you to pinpoint your residents’ problems, annoyances, and worries, giving you the chance to identify and fix them.

2. Utilize Community Moderation

With any community, online or offline, the residents in that community will probably have varying opinions on any given issue. However, with the anonymous nature of the Internet, it’s essential to keep your community safe from offensive, inappropriate behavior. 

Moderating your community is vital in preserving a healthy outlook upon your community. While online, toxic behavior can spoil the atmosphere of your community and make your residents feel uncomfortable, as seen time and again through the many social media networks that have tried and failed to combat this behavior. Once a few bad apples are given free rein to post offensive comments under the guise of “free speech,” then it is almost inevitable that your residents will be affected negatively.

Therefore, to minimize the chance of that happening on a digital platform, it is best to have a hands-on approach to community moderation: be sure to plan a moderation policy. What language do you consider inappropriate? Should specific topics be off-limits? Be clear in your approach, with clear, understandable rules that use clear, understandable language, and enforce it. Perhaps you could even automate part of the moderation process, automatically detecting spam or setting specific keywords to delete or ban. Offline, however, is a bit different, as there is no automated system in an in-person meeting, for example. 

As such, if you’re moderating in-person events such as town hall meetings or panel discussions, you can ensure that the conversation goes smoothly by implementing these tips. Do thorough research on the topic(s) at hand. Meet the speakers before the panel. Manage time effectively by starting and finishing on time. Mix in audience questions throughout the discussion to ensure a conversational, more engaging dynamic. Most of all, don’t be afraid to cut the panelists off if they end up hogging the microphone.

3. Identify Your User Base for Community Development

Using community engagement strategies is not a one-size-fits-all process. Given the state of the world and your organization concerning it, it’s a safe bet to say that your user base is probably very diverse—a great thing, as it means that your reach is far and wide. However, as a previous article suggests, it can be challenging to approach a broad audience and ensure that everyone is receiving helpful information that matters to them. Therefore, identifying your main user base is one of the most important steps you can take when deciding how to keep your residents engaged.

It is crucial to operating as an organization rather than a business. Knowing your residents allows you to create a better service and increase awareness of your organization and its mission. You can do this easily by collecting data from focus groups and surveys and utilizing different media types such as radio and television to determine which reaches your core audience best.

4. Gamify

Gamification serves as one of the best, most engaging examples of resident engagement strategies that we have ever seen. As we grew up, gaming incentives hooked us throughout our lives, and that element often follows us into adulthood. Even in the short term, adding a gamified element to your marketing will encourage positive competitiveness. It will ensure the bonus of keeping your residents coming back for more. One of the main goals of gamification marketing is to increase user interaction. You can implement strategies like running contests or a loyalty reward program. These are all simple ways to “gamify” your marketing.

5. Talk With a Community Manager or Leader

Working with community leaders is a viable strategy to help engage the residents in your community by working with a person they trust. However, like most residents, you’ll want to start by identifying your community leaders by asking the following questions: 

  1.  Who do you already know? 
  2. Who does your staff, trustees, friends, or even foundation groups know? 
  3. Which organizations have you developed personal and professional relationships with?
  4. Who are the busiest and most visible residents in your community? 
  5. Who is already an advocate for your community? 
  6. Which organizations and people share the same values and mission as your organization? 

This is what we call “mapping out your community.”

After answering these questions, you can identify these community leaders and, more importantly, why the residents in your community elected them as a leader. After, you can evaluate how you want to contact these leaders—either through email, letter, or a personalized visit. You can even set up an interview with them to help gather information about the target community’s needs. From there on, you can build relationships and identify potential partners and collaborators to help you achieve your goals.

6. Welcome New Residents to Your Community

Welcoming newcomers isn’t exactly a new idea. Housewarming parties and neighborhood get-togethers had come up with it first. Regardless, welcoming new residents is an excellent way to make them feel valued. With this validation comes a much higher likelihood of engagement and involvement with your network. Something as simple as setting up a welcome email will do the trick. Your organization needs to acknowledge people for engaging and participating in your organization. You could also explain your organization’s mission and your community’s purpose. You could even give them ideas for their first piece of user-generated content. Simple, yet very effective.

Whether a nonprofit, a municipality, or a traditional marketing group, your organization must engage, retain, and inform your residents. Either way, it’s crucial for your group’s success. That’s why you should contact PivotPath today to see the latest tips, tricks, and guides to bolster community engagement and more.

Cultural Competency: Tips and Tricks on Communicating a Shared Message to a Multi-Cultured Audience

‘When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.’

The idea of conformity might be appealing to some, but it’s not that simple in the diverse, multicultural environment.

Part of the wonders of effective communication is maintaining a diverse audience. Even so, it’s essential to understand and confront our own biases, experiences, and values that shape the lens through which we view our reality. With the aid of cultural competency, you will be able to communicate to your multi-cultured audience with ease.

Cultural Competency: Tips and Tricks on Communicating a Shared Message to a Multi-Cultured Audience

What is Cultural Competency, and Why is it Important?

According to the American Psychological Association, cultural competency allows us to understand and respect values, attitudes, beliefs, and most importantly, to interact with people from cultures or belief systems that differ from our own—and is perhaps the most helpful tool in business and marketing that you can have at your disposal. Having been a key aspect of psychological thinking and in practice for some 50 years, it’s even become listed as one of psychology’s core competencies. In most aspects of life, but especially with marketing and politics, cultural competence in communication could be comparable to the “hitch” that holds you and your target audience together.

Most importantly, when you have an audience of several different cultural backgrounds, handling your cultural competency can differentiate between a well-communicated message and a poorly-communicated one. To have a good sense of multicultural competence, it’s important to have the following competencies:

  • Basic knowledge of your own culture, worldview, and values.
  • A willingness to learn about the cultural practices, worldviews, and values of others.
  • A positive attitude toward cultural differences and a readiness to accept and respect said differences.

In a globalized, increasingly diverse world, with diverse people—refugees, migrants, immigrants, citizens, and so on—anyone can be your audience, and you can gain valuable insight in interacting with a worldly audience. But, how do you communicate with everyone across the board in a leveled, realistic way?

1. Focus on Structure

When it comes to structuring—through presentations, social media, videos, blog posts, or whichever medium you choose—we recommend that you ensure that the message of your medium is understandable and easy to digest. Make it easy for your audience to understand and follow along. Logically structured messages also make it easier for you to relay your message.

When communicating your message, start with the most crucial aspect of it first. Background and detail aren’t as necessary as you would think. Rather than building up to it, order your thoughts by decreasing importance. Readers will have an easier time parsing your message, and you won’t have to waste time to deliver the point. Use bullet points to your advantage whenever there are three or more points you want to make. Use bold print sparingly: it draws your readers’ attention, but too much of it renders the attention moot. Be sure that the bold text is self-contained so that your readers can find it easily.

A consistent, coherent, and light format—consistent fonts, font sizes, spacing, and numbering—keeps the message’s readers’ attention. If you consider capitalizing words or sentences to get your reader’s attention, don’t. Writing in all uppercase hurts more than it helps as it is obnoxious, and your message will be remembered for the wrong reason.

2. Leave the Idioms Out

In marketing, humor and idioms can help get your message across, primarily effective if you and your audience share the same culture, humor, and language. However, if your audience shares varying cultures, leaving the humor out of the picture is most advisable. What is funny in one culture may prove to be confusing, or even offensive, in another, and you don’t want to risk a misfire. 

Avoid jargon and fancy words to help save the reader time and effort. Otherwise, you risk making your audience stop and think about what’s being said to them, breaking the piece’s flow. Writing shorter sentences is an excellent way to ensure that communication between your brand and your audience is easily digestible. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about them possibly missing the point. Because your audience is multicultural—quite broad, generally speaking—the message has a chance of being lost in translation with long, complex sentences. As such, writing at a 10th-grade level is recommended. This isn’t meant to disparage or insult the readers of your text, but instead, this is to help ensure that the message is received with little margin of error.

3. Research, Research, Research

An essential step in this article, research, allows you to do many things: from defining and understanding your audience and their issues to letting you know how best to get the message across. To connect to your audience, you need to understand why your topic is important to them, and in turn, why their attention is vital to you. Why should they care? Why does your topic matter to them? What motivates your audience as a whole?

However, when it comes to research in the vein of cultural competency, you should give as much attention to your audience’s culture as possible, too. These include linguistic preferences, cognition, ethnocentricity, values, and communication styles. Researching the cross-cultural differences of your target audiences is essential, and, whatever you do, don’t put them into one marketing box. Cultural norms and values influence how people think, act, and feel, and the people who identify with them often share both. Once you gain an understanding, implement these cultural standards and values into your messages. Similar to nonverbal signs and their meanings, we need to know and recognize different cultural tendencies. As an example, some cultures use “she” as their primary preferred pronoun. It could be the opposite in other cultures.

Knowing such intricacies could help you have an advantage over other business marketing firms with a multicultural audience. More importantly, though, research can help keep your multicultural audience and minimize linguistic and cultural fumbles.

4. Ask Questions and Rephrase Comments

While this part is a bit on the shorter side, it is nonetheless important. Checking in with audiences is a good habit to form. Better yet, asking questions and rephrasing comments is particularly useful with a diverse audience, as it could give you a chance to go over your message to anyone who might have missed it. Rephrasing a question also allows your audience to get clarification, and it can also help you gain clarification from your audience.

5. Craft Sensitive, Culturally-Relevant Messages

To ensure that your multicultural audience stays as your audience, you have to respect the people who comprise it. Crafting a campaign that respects and reflects their values and beliefs can be the most effective way to earn your audience’s trust. As such, basing your campaign on stereotypes and assumptions is the quickest way to lose said audience. Furthermore, it can damage your organization’s reputation, credibility, and you can lose your audience’s trust in one fell swoop.

Therefore, there are several things you must consider when crafting your content. If there is a demographic shift in your audience, research it and quickly identify their needs. Rather than merely announcing that you “want” to reach your audience, find out who they are through research, as said in an earlier point. If you want to create dedicated communities, you must develop content specific to those targeting groups. A good example of this is creating an online community that allows an organization to understand consumers’ experiences and hear their stories in their own words and culture. This way, they can trust that your organization reflects their values.

5. Be Prepared for Feedback

An often overlooked aspect of communicating with multicultural communities, preparing for your audience’s feedback helps you just as much as it helps them. Audience feedback allows you to avoid costly mistakes, helping generate goodwill in combination with the earlier points in this article. Whether on social media or paper, through surveys, polls, or focus groups, knowing what your audience is saying about your company is crucial for your results. Are they happy with your interaction? Do you engage with them?

Listen to your audience’s mentions. Host focus groups. Hire native speakers of your target market. You can even partner with a reputable translation service with native linguists. Precise expertise, who are best-equipped, can help you in any of the following. They can impart valuable advice for your product or service. They can also help you implement a cultural sensitivity strategy within your broader marketing objectives.

Multiculturalism, however broad it is, is one of the world’s greatest assets and accomplishments. It can fuel innovation and growth. It can foster friendships, business relationships, and more when people are exposed to different cultures. Here at PivotPath, we think this is incredibly valuable for this ever-changing world.

Do you have a multicultural audience, but you just don’t know how to address them? Are you a non-profit organization or agency looking to branch out to stakeholders and residents alike? Contact PivotPath today for a free consultation!

What They Don’t Want You to Know: Top Tips From Successful African Business Owners

Africa is practically an economic goldmine, with thousands upon thousands of business owners, both big and small, revolutionizing various industries in the continent.  Countless countries have taken advantage of Africa’s flourishing economy and grew their start-ups into similarly flourishing enterprises. Whether in the East, the West, the North, or the South, running a business can be hard work, and you’re liable to face certain struggles. To mitigate these struggles, we have gathered several top tips from successful African business owners that ensure your business not only survives but thrives.

What They Don’t Want You to Know: Top Tips from Successful African Business Owners

1. Understanding the Market

To first become an entrepreneur, you must understand Africa’s market, consumer trends, and niches. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to dedicate several hours to scrolling endless web pages. No one likes agonizing over whether or not their next revolutionary idea will fit in a neat little box. Instead, look to your local sources, like your neighborhood, for example.

However, if you really are stuck on ideas, it wouldn’t hurt to check out market research in Africa and the surrounding area. SIS International Research has several reports on the subject.

It is no secret that the African continent is home to a plethora of natural resources. With that comes growing consumer markets or, potentially, untapped ones. As such, certain companies taking notice with a discerning eye for competitive advantages and opportunities for growth. Housing the second largest population globally, Africa’s economy largely depends on natural resources for its agriculture and mining sectors to function.

Regardless of whatever business you decide to go into, make sure that the market for it is neither too narrow nor too broad. Try to tap into a market that is stable all year round rather than seasonal. Google Trends could show you how stable these markets are.

Case study: This much is the case with Hephzibah Ijeje, a 19-year-old economics student, humanitarian, business enthusiast, and co-founder of Recyclift. With Africa being the most susceptible to environmental challenges, including deforestation,  land degradation, and extreme vulnerability to climate change, Recyclift hopes to bring about sustainable development to her community.

2. Start Small

One of the most ubiquitous examples of starting small is the foundation of Amazon. Amazon started as a humble bookstore in Bellevue, Washington. Once the profits were stable, the bookstore slowly expanded into a different market: toys. As time went on, Amazon continued to break into different markets, ensure its stability, and continue until it became the powerhouse it is are today.

It is far easier to start a business with a narrow scope than a broad one. However, it isn’t enough to branch out into any other market once you have the scope. Instead, it would be best if you branched into relevant markets. Otherwise, you risk being unable to capture that market.

Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group in Nigeria stresses this to young and budding entrepreneurs, in fact.”To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big.” He says, “In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.”

3. Developing Your Brand

A successful business owner, African or not, must always focus on their brand. It is often the first thing that potential customers notice, and it pays off to make a good first impression. Furthermore, a good brand will help set you apart from your contemporaries. It will also promote recognition and tells potential customers about the kind of company you helm. A strong brand can even help your company connect with your customers emotionally. This is especially correct if your brand and your customers hold similar values.

Tom Osborn, an African entrepreneur and community mobilizer, co-founded GreenChar, a social enterprise that provided clean energy for rural Kenyan communities and urban slums. In addition, he was named on the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in Social Entrepreneurship, among other awards.

Osborn emphasizes that young entrepreneurs do their best to develop their business and personal brand. In fact, he considers it half the battle.

“I think in Africa there are a lot of young entrepreneurs who have great ideas but never get noticed or past the small-scale level,” He remarks. “I think one reason is that they poorly position themselves and the organisation. They don’t know how to tell their story. They don’t know how to create their brand. And I think that is also very important. Entrepreneurs should spend a lot of time not only on their products, but also on working out how they are going to sell them.”

4. Choosing the Right Business Partner

Something that many successful African business owners have is a business partner. Having a business partner is critical when your business expands. In fact, it is even preferable when your business is just starting. As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”

Whether through networking, job postings, or personal connections, finding a partner whose skills complement your own can help you and your business in all ways. It can help plan, grow and run your business and help mitigate the stress of running that business. In addition, a partner that shares your values, your spirit and your vision are guaranteed to help you. You will have an easier time communicating with this person, making decisions, setting goals, and overall ensuring the health and survival of your business together.

An example of this would be Thato Kgalhayne and her co-founder, Rea Ngwane. Friends since childhood, the duo have developed a rewarding partnership by ensuring their personal friendship does not get in the way of business.

“When you form a business partnership with your friend, act as though you met that person that day. You can’t say because you’ve known your friend since grade four, you’ll work well together in business.” Kgatlhanye suggests, “No – you have known them since you decided to start a company together. So get to know your business partner as a business partner, not a friend, because business and friendship is a different ball game. And I think that’s the best advice. Get a business coach, be honest, leave the ego at the door and hustle.”

5. Building and Managing Your Team

Building a productive team is often more important than you think. With a good team working with you, you’ll find that a lot of your success will equate with your team’s. After all, it is much more efficient to work with a team in entrepreneurship than to work alone. You will find that your ability to lead and inspire is critical to your future just as much as your business’s. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll also find that once your team shows growth, your business will inevitably follow suit.

Many successful African business owners realize this, choosing members of their team after scrutiny. Some partners are childhood friends while others are hand-picked, but one lesson remains: they made sure that their team was confident and skilled.

Togolese entrepreneur Sam Kodo, founder of Infinite Loop, also acknowledges the importance of a flourishing team. Explaining that he and his team have complementary skills to make decisions, Kodo is a prime example of why building and managing your team is useful for an effective business.

“Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg might not have particularly been good businessmen or good administrators or even good at marketing, but what they did was surround themselves with people who have the competencies and skills to turn their [innovations and computer skills] into a company. When you choose a business partner, choose someone who complements you – not someone with the same skills.”

6. Motivation, Failure, and Perseverance

A business owner must always keep in mind that if you fail, it doesn’t hurt to try again. Entrepreneurship is difficult. In fact, perhaps the easiest thing about entrepreneurial success is how easy it is to get discouraged.

However, there are countless stories of entrepreneurs whose businesses have ended in disaster, and instead of giving up, they go on with their next idea. Whether there weren’t enough interested investors, or a lack of capital or funding, or an inadequate management team, a faulty business model, or unsuccessful marketing campaigns, it is important, if anything else, to treat these failures as the lessons that they are. Take notes on the precarious pitfalls that made you fail, and be sure to work better at them. Use those discouraging situations as learning experiences, and take the opinions of those who doubt you with a grain of salt. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you must be brave to take that risk.

Chris Kirubi, founder of Centum Investment in Kenya, imparted a meaningful quote that has always rung true in the world of business: “Business is always a struggle. There are always obstacles and competitors. There is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. Every great success has always been achieved by fight, every winner has scars. The men who succeed are the efficient few –they are the few who have the ambition and willpower to develop themselves. So choose to be among the few today.”

Are you interested in starting your own African business, or even just growing it? Contact PivotPath today to schedule a free consultation to improve your marketing strategy!

[Video] Top Three Reasons to Use Video Marketing

Video marketing has many great marketing benefits, but what grabs the attention of your audience? We spend the majority of our time on our phones, the internet, or watching television. Gifs and videos are all around us, on TikTok and Instagram stories, capturing our attention and shortening our attention spans. It is hard to escape the virtual world we live in, so might as well let it help your business.

Here are the Top Three Reasons to Use Video Marketing in 2021:

Growing Revenue with Extra Exposure

Companies put a focus on revenue within their company to determine their goals for the business. If they see a decrease in revenue, then they will make changes in their marketing style. Marketing teams have seen a growth in revenue with video marketing due to the access of videos within our society. People spend their time on social media platforms, with videos popping up on their feeds throughout the day, and often share interesting videos with their circles of influence. Studies show that 48% of people said they’d be most likely to share video content with their friends.

In addition, social media algorithms now recognize and acknowledge videos (like Instagram Reels) much more than standard posts, which can increase your brand’s visibility and reach. Unfortunately but fortunately, the more videos you have, the more likely social media channels are going to direct people to your page(s).

Increased Traffic to Your Website

Tailing off of the first reason, the main reason companies put a focus on marketing is to increase traffic to their website and business. Companies can do this in several ways, such as newsletters, blog posts, social media, and more.

However, According to WordStream, viewers retain 95% of a video message compared to 10% in text. Organizations need to take a look into what type of marketing tactics they want to use to attract their targeted audience(s). The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Customers may not read the newsletters or emails, but they could retain most of the information from the video. 

Increasing Traffic

Search Engines for Videos vs. Posts

When companies plan their marketing, they want their company to be the first name that pops up on the search engine rather than their competitor. Studies show that Google owns YouTube–they love ranking their own site in number one slots. Videos tend to be the first links to pop up rather than a blog post due to the rankings. According to Mollica Films, You’re 53 times more likely to show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website. The best way to do this is with gifs and video marketing.  You can pair a blog post with a video for a better marketing strategy (like we’ve done).

Search Engine Benfits

Video Marketing is not a new strategy but definitely one that every company needs to try. Need help with your video production but don’t know where to start? Contact us at PivotPath for assistance from start to final product.

Check out some of our video productions over the years:

European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone

CDC Federal Credit Union

 

 

 

strategy

What’s HOT in Nonprofit Communication Trends?

How to Communicate with your Non-Profit Organization (The New Trends) 

Nonprofits have seen a significant change in their marketing strategies, communication, and fundraising since the pandemic impacted their organizations. They have been creative in planning their communication with others and what that will look like post-pandemic. Look to see What’s Hot in Nonprofit Communication Trends.

communicating with your team members effectively
University students talking to their teacher while learning the lecture over the Internet at the campus.

The Importance of Time Management for your Nonprofit 

The pandemic took a toll on many companies in regard to planning the future of their business. Most goals were put on hold for a year or even longer. Companies are still apprehensive about planning due to the uncertainty of post-pandemic life. The company needs to manage its time efficiently so it can work towards completing the goals it did not get to finish before the pandemic. Employees and volunteers are also returning to the office after many months of working from home, which may come with distractions.

Virtual is the New Normal for Communication in your Nonprofit 

What’s Hot in Nonprofit Communication Trends? A significant change in communication between organizations has been the use of virtual meetings. If it weren’t for zoom or FaceTime, most sessions would not have been as informative without face-to-face contact with people. Nonprofits have focused on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to market to people. Social media has become a place for all ages to stay up-to-date on the news and find entertainment for hours on end. Nonprofits are still strategizing on better ways to communicate with others since COVID restrictions are easing up around the world. However, they may still try to utilize some of the marketing and communication strategies they learned from the pandemic into the future of their organizations. This will allow them to reach a broad audience that supports their organization and mission.

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How to ensure that your branding efforts are successful

Branding is a strategic art. It communicates who or what your business is and can define its success. To promote a long-lasting presence, it’s important that your branding efforts are helping your brand advance. Keep reading to find out how to ensure that your branding efforts are successful.  

Persuade consumers to choose your brand over others.

Branding requires ethical persuasion. Rhetorical appeals, like pathos, ethos, and logos, are strategies that shape a communicator’s appeal to an audience. Your brand is the communicator to its specific audience. To maintain a presence in a competitive market place, it’s important to exercise rhetorical appeals.

Are your branding efforts meaningful?

Pathos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the emotions of an audience. When pathos isn’t achieved, your brand lacks meaning. Essentially, the goal is to create meaning by appealing to your audience’s hopes and ideas and addressing their fears and worries. 

Maintaining two-way communication is a sure way to gauge your audience’s emotions. What do they want? Like? Need? Encourage your audience to engage with your brand to get a good understanding of their emotions. Your job is to understand your audience to create the right emotional environment for communication. Frontiers in Psychology shows that audiences are more likely to commit to a brand when it sparks an emotional response. You must create a correlation between your brand and trust, value, and meaning to broaden the impact of emotions.

Are your branding efforts credible?

Ethos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the credibility of an audience. You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Mutually beneficial relationships are built on trust. A lack of credibility compromises the trust of your audience and therefore the success of your brand.

The best way to guarantee that your brand is credible is to be consistent in your branding efforts and seek feedback from your audience. Reviews on Yelp and Google are a good place to start, but consider other ways to secure feedback. For example, email questionnaires and social media polls are a great way to gather feedback from your audience. You’ll be sure to hit two birds with one stone by showing your audience that you’re interested in its feedback. Moreover, listening to your audience’s feedback will not only strengthen your brand’s credibility but also appeal to the emotions of your audience. 

Are your branding efforts meeting expectations?

Logos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the logic of an audience. More importantly, logos works to strengthen ethos, as it provides logical evidence for credibility.

Your brand’s credibility largely shapes its reputation, trustworthiness, and the confidence of its audience. Clear and concise messaging is a great way to instill trust, but put your money where your mouth is and give your audience a logical reason to trust your brand. Ask yourself: Is your brand delivering the products and/or services that its messages communicate? Your job is to instill confidence in your audience. 

We can help you apply these strategies.

In conclusion, rhetorical appeals have played an important role in persuasion efforts since Ancient Greece. Your branding efforts will inevitably provoke some sort of response. Ask yourself the questions above to ensure that those responses are positive. 

Don’t fret if you find yourself at a crossroads on how to apply these strategies. PivotPath specializes in strategic brand planning. Contact us today for a free consultation to ensure that your branding efforts are successful. 

[Video] A Survival Guide for Municipalities During COVID-19

The past year has welcomed several unprecedented challenges. Towns and cities are among some of the most vulnerable victims to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite these challenges, there are things you can do to help your community thrive. Continue reading this survival guide to ensure that your municipality is doing everything it can to survive these times.

Survival Tip #1: Be communicative.

Two-way communication involves active engagement and responsiveness. To communicate effectively, it’s essential that you listen to each of your stakeholders. Stakeholders act as various operators, including, but not limited to, residents, tourists, local government officials, local law enforcement, and public safety officials. 

Your stakeholders, and the relationships you build with them, are the backbone of your community. Mutually beneficial relationships are built on trust. When you fail to communicate effectively, you promote dishonesty and inauthenticity, which can destroy the trust of your stakeholders. Therefore, it’s important for your community to effectively communicate with each of its stakeholders to build and maintain trustworthy relationships.

Survival Tip #2: Avoid homogeneity. 

Homogeneity is the belief that everyone is the same. It’s common for individuals to resort to homogeneity when assessing their audience. Your communication efforts are sure to fail when you misinterpret all areas of your audience as one and the same. This mistake is heightened for those who operate communities, as they tend to believe that a shared location means shared values and beliefs.

Demographic information isn’t isolated to geographic location but also includes race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and political identity. You can understand your audience on a larger, more in-depth level by assessing all components of demographic information. By avoiding homogeneity, you can shape your communication efforts to include and gain support from all members of your audience. Your audience’s support can help your community withstand the test of time.

Conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis.

A S.W.O.T. analysis assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of an entity. Many mistakenly believe that this kind of analysis is only applicable to businesses, but a S.W.O.T. analysis is beneficial for anyone looking to develop a plan or strategy, including communities. Conducting a S.W.O.T. analysis can help your community grow in ways that it hasn’t considered before.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal, things that you have some control over and can change. If you follow the two previously mentioned tips, you’re sure to have audience communication as a strength. However, it’s important to understand that the presence of strengths doesn’t make your weaknesses disappear.

Opportunities and threats are external. Typically, there’s little to no control of these factors. You can take advantage of opportunities and protect against threats, but you can’t change them. The COVID-19 pandemic is surely a threat for businesses, non-profit organizations, and communities around the world. However, sometimes threats can present us with opportunities. For example, your community can take this time to strengthen its internal operations by addressing other needs that it’s brushed off. 

Reach out for help.

Survival is difficult as is, but when a force as powerful as COVID-19 is acting against you, it can be difficult to even see survival as an option. Don’t let this scare you! By following this survival guide, you can ensure that your municipality is doing everything it can to thrive during these times. PivotPath understands that implementing change isn’t always easy. Contact us for a free consultation today. Our team of innovative creatives can help your community carry out this survival guide.

5 Signs Your Agency Needs a New Logo ASAP

A logo largely defines how consumers will perceive a brand. In other words, it can make or break a brand’s success. Here are five signs that your agency needs a new logo ASAP.

It doesn’t reflect who you are.

Branding is the representation of your agency as a personality. An effective logo design must communicate who you are.   

  • What is your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • Who do you serve?
  • What makes you different?

Imagine your brand as a person. What does that person look like? What does that person sound like? Develop your design with consideration for how you want your brand to be perceived. 

It doesn’t consider all aspects of visual communication.

A brand’s logo is easily the largest component of its visual communication. 

Visual communication involves using visual elements to tell a story. For instance, the color, shape, form, place, proximity, and typography of your design should readably illustrate your agency’s identity. Is the shape distracting? Is the font readable? Ask yourself these questions. Ineffective visual communication can cause potential consumers to deter.

Its colors don’t communicate.

Color influences perception. Color theory recognizes that each color communicates a different meaning. Once you understand who your brand is and what it looks like, your logo should include colors that reflect that identity. 

Warm colors like red and yellow evoke action and urgency, whereas cool colors like blue and green communicate peace and calm. When using more than one color in a design, it’s important to understand that some colors work together, while others do not. 

It’s not consistent. 

Your logo must be consistent across all channels. 

All of your branding materials must have your logo on them, from your website, to your social media, and even your letterhead. A brand compromises its credibility and the trust of its audience when it fails to consistently display its visual identity.  

It doesn’t motivate.

An effective logo will add value to a brand and influence its audience to engage with the brand. 

Your design should communicate the emotion and personality of your brand in efforts to persuade. Your brand’s image can motivate your audience to act. Audiences are more motivated to act when they identify with a brand. Motivating action will bring more business, and more business will bring consumer loyalty, which is crucial for a long-lasting presence.

Restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult.

Branding involves creating an image that markets. A logo motivates consumers to recognize and engage with a brand. 

If you’ve read this far, the odds are that your agency needs a new design. It may sound overwhelming, but restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact PivotPath for a free consultation today, our team of innovative creatives can help your agency develop a logo that is sure to entice your audience and promote growth.

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