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Scofray Yeboah: Branding, A Process Not Just an Event

Branding expert, Scofray Nana Yaw Yeboah, is a transformational coach and a public speaker on entrepreneurship, mentorship, leadership and largely on branding, who is passionate about the branding process for businesses, organizations and individuals. He is the founder and Lead consultant for Zoweh Global Consult & Golden City Business Magazine as well as the CEO of Nyansapo Clothing.

Scofray Yeboah, believes all sectors of the human society should be taking branding seriously and for businesses especially, branding should be important to you as funding is necessary, provided you want to run a business that is relevant for the future. Mr Yeboah has consulted for many segments of the Ghanaian society, from politics, events management, media, religious institutions, etc. and the author of Branding 360, Art of Life and Transformational Pearls.

Mr Yeboah is a known face on a number media houses in Ghana as well as GFM Radio UK, shedding light on the relevance of branding. In this interview, he tells you how you can appreciate branding for your small business.

What is your classic definition of branding?

First of all, I want to say thank you for the interview opportunity to discuss one of the most important subjects in the 21st century. 

Branding according to my book, Branding 360, is giving definition of distinction to a project, design, thought, idea, person, business or something. Branding is the process that becomes the physical of the ideas that set up or formed the company. Let me use Coca-Cola as an example. The name is not just Coca-Cola, there are aspects that makes it a brand, check the uniqueness of how the bottling is done, check how the labeling is done, the chemical equation that gives the content or liquid a unique taste and employees who bring all these ideas into reality. All these components define and distinct the brand Coca-Cola from other forms of soft drinks or soda. So branding is a process that is first birth from within. 

How can startup companies effectively brand for success?

Start-Ups must birth brands that form part of the ideas and ideals on which the business is founded. They must know which category they are in i.e. manufacturing, engineering, services, etc and study how they can fashion out a strategy to stand out uniquely among their competitors. This must be something that can be interwoven with the personal brand of all employees right from CEO to cleaner.

Military men just don’t grow in moral because of the uniform, but rather they birth it from within to resonate to the level of the brand the uniform bears. If workers cannot own the brand of the company that resonates with their personal brand then there is recipe for disaster when reality sets in. 

What are myths of branding you have come across in your years of practice?

Well, many cannot decipher between ‘HYPE and BRAND’ or ‘LOGO and BRAND.’ This misconception birth mediocrity until they run into crises and seek the services of a brand expert. Hype comes with the things we do to be noticed and heard but brand is a process and strategies deployed for a lasting presence on the minds of people. 

Why is branding relevant for businesses?

Branding has been very relevant in many developed nations which is now gaining roots in developing nations like Ghana and across Africa. It is very important just as capital is in running a business, except one wish to run a business that has no tomorrow. Your business brand becomes one of the bargaining chips you use to have a say and control in your specific market or category of business which we call niche.

It is the perception you imprint on the minds of your customers or client which get deepened by long track record of quality and integrity. It is that which gives customers a feeling and experience of a royal treat as being the reason for the business’s existence. 

What mistakes should be avoided in the branding process?

I will encourage the avoidance of copy and pasting, or copy and modification, because every brand from the mind to the physical has a meaning and purpose it serves. Remember also not to just do something because you have the capital and there is a ready market for the said product or service. Plan out and put mitigation factors in place so you don’t find yourself and the business wanting when reality sets in.

In as much as some separate business brands from their personal brand, it is equally important to build a personal brand to augment the other, because you the individual birthed the business idea which was processed into a brand. People should not toy with the potentials of social media branding. One must deploy the right strategies to maximize benefits of social media and as well as minimize its dangers too. 

Who are top brand experts you follow and learn from.

There are couple of experts within but I follow the works of Bernard Kelvin Clive and equally do a lot of reading from varied writers or sources on branding.

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As brand expert, what has been your major achievement so far?

Sadly I am not entitled to give names but I have consulted for some hospitality industries, media houses, projects, events, etc.

What advice do you have for African entrepreneurs for success?

Don’t just approach anyone at all because they speak ‘branding,’ but it is very key and prudent to seek the services of a brand expert if indeed you mean business. Never underestimate the power of branding, even strong existing business enterprises still invest in their brands. One cardinal principle to always be aware of is that, branding is a process not just an event. 


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Clinton Chibueze: Utiva Talents Transform African Businesses and Compete Globally

Utiva is providing the solution to the record graduate unfit for the business world in most African countries through their unique program that adequately equips students to be excellent and stand out in the business place. Utiva is an education enterprise that is using blended learning approach to bridge skill gap of teeming youths, especially undergraduates in Africa.

Clinton Chibueze is the Program Associate at Utiva based in Lagos, Nigeria. In this interview, he shares the major problems confronting the corporate world lacking skilled labor as only 9% of graduates are really prepared for the job market.

In explaining the nature of his work at Utiva, Clinton Chibueze said, “I work with students in about 20 universities, helping them get value for our engagements, training and internship program. I provide leadership to about 40 campus leads (2 per school), communicating the vision and the mission of Utiva to them, helping the organization scale its presence in all the schools and supporting our social impact mission.” He as well provides back-end support to the training program going on in the schools.

If you are an undergraduate or a graduate who wants to be talented and a highly skilled labour to your employers, enjoy this interview with Clinton Chibueze who recently graduated with Summa Cum Laude and join Utiva.

What is Utiva and what challenges in the market has necessitated its development?

Utiva is a system of learning which combines both traditional classroom approach with an online learning experience to deliver value to the students and to the market. This system of learning prepares students for work whether as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs in the private and public sectors as well as with non-governmental organisations by refining and improving their work skills. In other words, Utiva is a finishing school.

The song of “University graduates are unemployable” is a major challenge in the market. What this phrase actually means is that most graduates lack the necessary skills for work in the 21st century. Think about this for a moment. Most undergrads spend almost 4 years studying plant and some rocks. That is fine, honestly. But the question is this: who is ready to absorb them into jobs afterwards? Most people become stranded and left out. Our job is to communicate constantly with the job market, understand the dynamics of this market, research into the skills global employers are recruiting for, come back to train college students in those schools and help these companies find our talents.

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The problem is that if Africa refuses to equip its labor for productivity and other companies improve theirs, we will continue to have a nation of cheap labor.

How in practical terms are you closing the skills gap in the market?

Our model integrates online with traditional face-to-face class activities in a planned, pedagogically valuable manner to train undergrads for the future of work and business. Our one and half year programme is divided into three phases. At the beginning of the journey, the students are enrolled into a 6-day training programme (105 hours). This engagement with our faculty allows the students to focus on three broad areas: Project Management, Corporate Leadership and Lean Entrepreneurship. After this, competence and knowledge is tested against a 200-question examination and then we move each student into an intense 52 weeks Business Case Review program.

In addition, during this program, learning is coordinated through on-the-job program which we call the ‘Uternship’. Some of our students are paired with fast rising companies, some get into volunteering experiences, some even get to work directly with entrepreneurs and a few work directly with Utiva.

Utiva talent building in session

Why do you use Business Cases?

One of the reasons we use business cases as a good and more productive approach to learning is that many students are more inductive than deductive reasoners, which means that they learn better from examples than from logical development starting with basic principles. The use of case studies can therefore be a very effective classroom technique.

Case studies are long being used in business schools, law schools, medical schools and the social sciences, but they can be used in any discipline when instructors want students to explore how what they have learned applies to real world situations. Utiva cases come in many formats, from a simple “What would you do in this situation?” question to a detailed description of a situation with accompanying data to analyze. Whether to use a simple scenario-type case or a complex detailed one depends on your course objectives.

SEE ALSO |  Clinton Chibueze: Utiva Talents Transform African Businesses and Compete Globally

What are some of your success stories?

We currently work with an average of 500 students per school and have a presence in 20, that is about 10,000 schools with some variances. We have a 75-80% success rate at pairing our students to internship programs and ensuring they’re hired.

Since the days of our early setup, about 17% of our students have started their own businesses.

We are currently improving our Utiva500companies project which is structured to help us on-board the leading 500 companies in Sub-Saharan Africa into our programme for skilled labor.

Who qualifies to be trained at Utiva?

Utivans are learners, constant learners! Young people who are very meticulous. Hence, anyone who is open to learning. As long as you are an undergrad or a recent graduate, we are out to work with you.

What is the vision for this initiative to help improve the quality of graduates into the job market?

Utiva’s vision is to produce individuals who are capable of transforming African businesses and competing with global leading businesses. It’s that simple. We are building global brands by building Human Capital.

Talents from Utiva to transform Africa

What does the support by major institutions like the NYU, the Atlas Corps and others mean for your operations at Utiva?

We are growing and are still learning. We always want to improve on standard and quality so we can train students who would be able to identify and tackle current issues. Many of our partners are committed to helping us build a strong learning framework and also revamp our pedagogy. For instance, the country director was trained in the United States for a year under the tutorship of Deloitte consulting and this is courtesy of one of our supporters, Atlas Corps..

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In clear terms, how will a Utivan differ from the regular graduate?

Walk into an interview room, you’d see the difference. A Utivan is all-rounded and well grounded. An average Utivan has developed the Utiva 8 skill for the job market!

Tell us the caliber of your Utivan trainers.

Our trainers are highly experienced professionals in their areas of specialization. These trainers are accomplished practitioners, people who have carved a niche for themselves in the market and are well aware of the remote and immediate demands of the market. For example, Eyitayo Ogunmola, the Country Director for Utiva is an expert in Project Management, Emeka Ossai is a specialist in Corporate Leadership and currently the Chief Community Builder at Campus Labs, Tomilola Adejana, a Financial Technologist and Business Strategist and others alike.

Utiva Country Manager, Eyitayo Ogunmola

What significant challenge exists as you implement this unique initiative?

Scale. There is more to do. There are more schools to cover. More people and more. Especially in some disconnected communities in the country.

How soon does your oufit intend to roll out Utiva to other African countries?

We have tested our programme in 2 other African countries. We are building a scalable model which can be tested anywhere. We are the future of human capital development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more about Clinton Chibueze

Clinton Chibueze, Program Associate at Utiva and an emerging Corporate Leader in Global Education is passionate about functional education for African youths and helping young people in Sub-Saharan Africa transition from school to work. His biggest aspiration is to work in the space of policy development and educational program implementation.

Clinton Chibueze has gathered experience in Leadership and Management as well as a demonstrated history in writing, proofreading, editing and teaching. He holds a certificate in Project Management and an alumnus of Common Purpose in 2017, a global institute which trains youth for leadership. His is a Classics graduate from the University of Ibadan who just graduated with a Summa Cum Laude.

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