TINK Africa Chief Executive Officer, Franklin Ozekhome, is an avid adman. He has spent decades in the industry but instead of toeing the line of forerunners, he introduced an innovation called trend reporting.
In the interview with Senior Correspondent, GODDIE OFOSE, he says trend reporting will enhance the conventional, not compete with it.
Wired for the future
The company is actually called TINK Africa, and that is strength plus intelligence network Africa. It is a consumer insight company.
We develop industry trend reports both online and offline. We organise innovation workshops for brands, agencies and marketers where we educate them on the future of what is happening next.
We do future of transport, energy, water and mobility where we talk about what is happening today in the marketing environment. What the trends are and how you can tap into them for tomorrow.
It is about having insights but most importantly creating innovation, so we actually work clients to develop products, services and experiences they can leverage on.
The most important thing is the consumer and we want to analyse the consumer in such a way that you will understand him as a person before he is a consumer. So, our strategy is humankind.
Let us understand us as humans because we have motivations and we have issues and things that inspire us. Once you do that then you can think of how you can make him a consumer rather than the other way round.
That is what TINK wants to do in this market.
Between traditional advertising, marketing research and innovation
I believe they have owned a space that we cannot really do without. I want to be part of that value chain. We are not taking away, rather we are adding value; so we even leverage traditional reports because we need to work with them, we work with agencies across their brands.
We don’t do data analytics, we understudy culture; that is what no one is doing and yet that inspires us more than any other thing.
Pop culture affects other industries, people take it for granted, they say I don’t like Davido or I don’t like that kind of music and yet what Davido says on video can change how people travel. So, don’t put yourself away because the way you say something on twitter becomes a trend that can change the mindset of people.
The culture has changed and the way we do target segmentation has changed. Your market segment is not necessarily that person in your sector anymore.
A blogger can be a major competitor with the biggest media house, so that is where TINK is coming to play. We understand consumers. Whether you are an advertising agency we can work with you, we are not going to do your advertising or media placements but we will tell you who that consumer is.
Once we create that platform we will go because it’s like a building plan; after we must have gone you can then build your house. We want to be the heart platform because nobody understands consumers more than TINK.
Marketing vacuum to fill
A lot of communications from some of the top brands are similar because they are all tapping from the same well. They all have the same platform.
No matter how creative you want to be, no matter how many millions you put in or how many reality shows or brand ambassadors you use, you are all telling the same story.
The consumer is smarter than we take them for. Why do we take them for granted? We always say they don’t get it, but they do; they see us coming before we even get there.
I noticed that need and I said I want to be on that side but using my experience from marketing communication, I am breaking the divide. I know what I want as a consumer and I also know you want to commercialise your brand so I want to be the anchor.
I am bringing the agencies and the marketing people, and I am saying I understand this man because we are together and then I put them together. That is the need I want to provide.
Changing the mentality of conventional practitioners
We developed two products specifically for that. The first one is innovation workshops where we create bouquet. We have two major kits for marketers and agencies.
We create real engagement platform where we sit down and discuss and analyse what the potential of your brand, consumer, product, commercial platform, communication, and pricing are. How are they doing, how they perform before and most importantly how far they could go.
We redesign these things, we call it the business model innovation, we tell you how to commercialise the trends, we tell you where the trends are happening and also where they are going to be.
So we can start creating those experiences coming from here. Once you do that then you own the consumers because they understand that you have created things for them that they were working towards.
Enlightenment and education are one of the important things so we want to work with them and say this is what trends can do for you.
We have models for different sectors, we are talking to people in mobile and in hospitality, and we are talking to a lot of people interested in doing things in this market especially in confectionaries and retail.
Another product we are working on is online intelligence where every day you and your business team, if you subscribe, can see the trend that happened about two minutes ago.
We create customised reports and trends for your own business; so if you subscribe to, maybe health, if you want to open a pharmacy, every day you log on to a portal with your name and see everything for you and your business team differentiating from other agency.
The report is going to be broken down in such a way that what they see offline is also what they get online.
We will not just report to them what the trends are, we will also tell them what the innovations are doing, we will give them local case studies and also tell them how they can tap into those innovations and how they can tap into the customer.
It is called a three-prong strategy, which strengthens analyses, gaps and opportunities and also how they can apply those things to their industries.
Trending reporting in other markets
The biggest market for trend now is London and they have been doing it for over 15 years. TINK has a unique high breed. As a true Nigerian I discovered that we needed to develop something that is truly us.
Having worked in the industry for decades across different sectors I felt what I needed and I saw what the consumer wasn’t getting. I created something customized, so what we have in the United Kingdom and the United States’ market is basically trends.
Trends is just the starting point for me, I apply innovation to it, we have innovation workshops in London but they stand alone, so what I did was bring them and marry them because I felt we needed that montage.
The third thing was that we created a cloud sourcing platform which people also do separately and I put them together as TINK, which is also a play on the word. TINK is actually one of the most unique models in the world because it is what we actually need and that is what I am bringing to the market.
It is very sustainable because we have different business models. One of the key things is the fact that I love what I am doing and this is what I have been doing for over seven years. I have been lecturing trends and innovation for seven years.
I did not decide to set up a trend company because I want to make money, I am doing it because of the passion. For over seven years I have taught over three generations; some of them are marketing managers in some of the major big companies.
I found out his was me, it wasn’t my company’s decision, it was me.
Aside Orange Academy where I am the dean of studies and also helping in developing what Orange could become as a brand, I also created a mentoring platform where my mentees and those who want to call on me have access to me in terms of case studies I have developed over the years.
We need to develop a culture of Nigerian case studies. Why it will be sustainable is because I am sharing local case studies that no one has done. Do you have a story on Indomie or MTN as a brand? No.
Every brand that is successful, from the Bella Naijas to the Linda Ikejis, I will take it as a task to write insightful case studies, well written and analytical, in terms of how they can drive their own businesses free online.
No one is doing that, and as long as you are a businessman and you want an idea to grow then our business is sustainable.
Average Nigerian consumer
The average Nigerian consumer is a fan of pop culture; I call them super heroes. We need to see the average Nigerian consumer as a hero of themselves and as a hero of different markets.
Pop culture is a very key thing in the Nigerian market. What I mean when I say pop culture is you can break it in different ways like “popular entertainment”. Those things, from music to sound to the kind of food we eat, to the kind of haircut to fabric, affect the whole Nigerian industry.
The way a girl dresses can affect what that manufacturer company is going to do with the next consumer hair care product. The way I speak can affect 10 people I teach in terms of the school they want to go to.
If you what a nice video like shoki shoki or skelewu it can inspire how people dance or dress and how night clubs will do their things for the next three months. It affects the industry.