Startup Interview: Prospects in Branding and Advertising

Amaju Adomi is the Creative Director at WDK STUDIOS, an agency that specialises in branding, web designing, printing and signage.

In this exclusive interview with TECH dot AFRICA, he talked about the prospects in branding and advertising, and the pros and cons of managing a new business.

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Kindly introduce your company

We are a branding agency. We handle businesses from the start – from logos to websites, and how their offices look. We like to start from scratch because most business is about the promise and if the client does not see that promise or feel like this is how it is supposed to look like, sometimes you don’t even get their attention.

That’s why we like branding. When you brand right, it makes sure that your target customers pick your product every time because business, as it is right now, is so competitive. Everybody is putting their product out there through social media. What we are about is – how do you meet your client? How do your clients find you?

Where is your company located?

You can find us at 8 Ayinde Giwa Street, off Ogunlana Drive, Surulere, Lagos.

When was the company founded and why? What inspired you?

We are six years old. For me, I started from advertising to merchandising then did a bit of entertainment before I started out on my own. While I was in advertising, there was a disconnect between my role as a designer and the customer.

In advertising, usually there’s a designer, there’s the customer relations officer who liaises with the clients and a lot of times, there is no communication between them. So I decided that I wanted a situation where I could always talk directly with the customers. Sometimes, a customer might complain that this is not working but what they are saying, in essence, is that “I don’t like yellow,” or “I don’t like flowers.”

Right from when I was young, I always liked communication – basically, that was my motivation. I wanted a situation where I could talk directly with customers and solve their problems. We are basically a brand/design agency so most of the solutions we come up with are design based.

Who are your clients?

We’ve moved around a lot, from entertainment to e-commerce. We mostly move between FMGs, movie companies and e-commerce.

How has the market responded to your services?

Because what we do is targeted at people directly, usually, we get clients who say this is expensive and yet they come back every time because we make their life easy. So, in situations where you keep on giving value, you don’t really have much of an issue. We are starting to target a lot of bigger companies.

One big company can pay your bills for the year. When we first started, we targeted mostly start-ups. Our passion is start-ups because they are the few companies that will let you start from scratch. If a company wants to rebrand, it’s a bit more difficult because they are already set and there’s not much you can do. But with companies that are just starting up, it is easier. We got to a point where we could now handle bigger portfolios and that’s where we are now.

What sets you apart?

Nigeria is a services country so whether you like it or not, you will find people who do what you do but most of our market is based on referrals – we have happy customers. The moment you can connect with customers, the moment the customer knows that if they say A, you understand what A means, (which would probably be B, C, D, E, F) the moment you have that “connect” with your customers, it doesn’t matter where they go. As they grow, they keep moving with you, so you’re safe.

For us, our major strong point is the connection. We have had clients that have been with us since day one and they didn’t just come and stay, they brought their family.

Does the company plan to explore new markets?

Yes. The truth is this generation is changing. Before, it used to be text. Now there is “New Media”. We are starting to shift and consider video a bit because nowadays we have a lot more data and internet is much better in the country. Good thing, most of our clients are in the movie industry so somehow we are starting to look at video a bit and see what the possibilities are.

What are the challenges your company has gone through since inception and what do they mean to the business?

Power. As a businessman, you could decide to save overheads and work from home but if you do that, you’d be spending more. Electricity and housing are some of the few things we’ve had to struggle with.

10 years ago, you could quietly rent a space and you’d be fine but if you do that as a new business now, what will happen is that you’d spend most of your income paying rent. Part of that income will be spent on power. That’s why we work in a virtual office. Here, we can save our overheads.

In situations where we have to bring in our staff, we can just pay for that time. Most businesses cannot afford to pay the huge sum of rent or power. That’s basically it.

Every other thing can be worked on – you build clients with time, so that’s not a problem and as you build your portfolio, your client-base will increase.

Where do you see the company in the next five years?

As I said, we are starting to target big companies. In the next five years, we would like a situation whereby we are entrenched in our particular niche. We are about making sales – it’s about approaching major companies and meeting their needs.

Some popular advertising firms are where they are today because they’ve done major projects that are worldwide. The only way to get to that point is to meet a big company (client). Five years from now, we would really love to have handled at least a few of those.

If you get a major deal, as I said, rent and all other things won’t be a problem. At the moment, we are targeting new businesses, which we love, but in the end, there’s a limit to how much you can charge new businesses.

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A design work by WDK studios

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Gbenga Ajao
Gbenga Ajao is a journalist. He has garnered experience in print, electronic and new media. He is passionate about mobile and web technology.

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