Business, Consumer, Guyana, Industry

The market is in shock. Your brand? Caught in the middle of course.

VAT is here and as per expected, everywhere is swarming with angry, price-conscious shoppers in fear. Most products they usually bought on a normal day has suddenly now fallen off the list – thanks to the ‘C-Tax + VAT’ policy the majority of businesses insist on implementing; a decision I found to be grossly inconsiderate to consumers, inspite of all arguments considered.

How can our products survive this crazy season of vicious price comparisons and slashing shopping lists? Bite the bullet and strike a compromise! Until your old stock is sold, reduce your profit intake and ensure the discount passes onto your customer. If you don’t, your product may very well never be sold before its expiry date.

“It’s still selling, but at a slower than normal pace?” Sure… but think! In the meanwhile, during that slow-coaching, you stand the chance of loosing precious customer loyalty to lesser competitive brands since demand is not likely to decline in the segment. Shoppers are just looking for a cheaper way out.

So now that time is of the essence and your consumers are undecided? Sell! But sell as if you cared about the long term survival of your brand, its customers, and staying in business. Atleast until this ‘old stock’ grievance has passed and the market has adjusted. Consumer salaries are sadly not going to increase, so they can’t afford to be the understanding ones here even if they wanted to be.

If things were different in Guyana, and we practiced a culture of proper ‘brand building’ from the start, price cuts would never be necessary to survive.

Our stronger brands would have ‘equity’, making them invaluable to consumers. The result: price tags become secondary.

Maybe, VAT’s re-arrangement of the marketplace may help us to faster understand the need for better brand standards. Or atleast, here’s to hoping!

Happy VAT, followed by an interesting New Year.


:: sharon


What makes our big agencies small?

In Guyana, we tend to call the agencies with a couple of staff running around, ‘big’ agencies. Which is probably a fair assumption to the untrained eye.

But my friends, we need to measure advertising agencies by its ‘correct units’. In the creative world, it’s ideas, client responsiveness and sales outcomes that matter most.

Not the number of ‘bodies’ that are on the payroll. And most certainly not the number of years an agency has been in existence. It should be about what they are producing TODAY? Is it any good? Are their campaigns increasing the sales of their clients’ products? Are they doing so without compromising the integrity of brands? That level of reasoning.

Now, now! I know local advertising agencies do not have it easy. You struggle in a world where most clients do not value creativity and, where good, trained staff in this particular segment is hard to find.

But those are the challenges we happen to face in Guyana. What’s important is, we must not allow it to change us. We must change it!

Transform the industry man. Bring back the spark and integrity of our advertising profession. Do good work and compel your clients to go with it. Pretty soon, they are bound to get used to higher standards. Just stick with it.



“It’s ok for the Guyana market.”

Let’s examine this dreadful statement – “It’s ok for the Guyana market”. I’ve heard it 4 times in the past 2 weeks already. And quite frankly, I don’t like the connotation.

4 different people, in 4 different business segments, made that very comment when discussing the inferior status of their brand image and marketing approaches. For me that’s alarming! Because it clearly demonstrates how complacent we’ve become about the mediocrity we call our advertising. Mediocrity incurred by choice!

Tell me. Why do we always have to see Guyana as undeserving of better standards? Why do we choose to have such little regard for our brands and the consumers that support them?

This is exactly the line of thinking that keeps us waddling in the struggling economy we complain about. Exactly the reason why we could never reach our full marketing potential as businesses in the developing world.

Many of us represent global brands. With spotless values and solid international reputations. Well atleast up until they get here. We ignore the culture of quality and creativity and slap any ole crap across the media. As many as we can, as fast as we can count it.

Stop tarnishing the image those brands have worked so hard to build. Pay attention to what they stand for and represent them. Cultivate the same level of respect for our local brands as well. So they stand a fighting chance at foreign growth when the time comes.

Your first step is simple. Have the courage to admit, you have not been living up to your brand’s integrity. Then, muster the guts to fix it.

If you’re humble enough to do that, you’re halfway there already…



Business, Industry

Sex and your advertising.

You’re heard it before – sex sells! Then, you see everyone getting excited about advertising. Draping half-naked women over bonnets in automobile commercials and showing legs and skin to convince viewers to buy tech gadgets. Even the ladies on those inescapable ‘call-in-programs’ are now wearing dangerous bosom-boosting low cuts. Pleading with our kids to “act responsibly, have safe sex”.

Well! I regret to inform, many of us are misusing this theory of sex in advertising. Yes this approach tends to get people’s attention. But it stops there. It does not convince them to buy. And it certainly does not help to put your brand in their ‘good books’. This equals wasted advertising in the real world my friends.

The truth is: sex does sell. But it only sells when it’s relevant to your product. A few instances of when it may be… are in ads for beauty and cosmetic products. When naked or skimpily attired models can show the actual results of a product’s usage on their bodies. Making the element of ‘skin’ relevant. Even health foods could be considered suitable depending on their benefits.

I know! Some advertisers in Guyana may want to argue that they are quite contented with getting people’s attention full stop. Their other promotional efforts will close the sale. Again, you’re putting too much at stake.

When you wildly drop sex and seductive imagery in your ads regardless of relevance, you send the message that the brand is shallow, desperate. “My product does not have any real benefits to offer you, so hey! I’ll give you pretty faces with legs and boobs instead”.

Stop this nonsense of prostituting your product. It’s the only way you’ll build a strong brand with integrity that sells. In many cases, your products are great! They offer sound benefits. Convince consumers by promoting that instead. You’ll find over time, my advice paid off in dollars.



What do you expect from your ad agency?

It would be interesting to know what you thought of the service your local ad agency provides you. Here's your chance.

Make suggestions of what you'd like and/or give examples of what you hate. But be aware, any direct negative comments regarding named agencies may be edited to remain objective. Don't let that stop you though. Blog on.


Business, Industry

Guyana’s ugly ads need fixing.

So you have a business and you advertise. You, or perhaps your ad agency, designs something that looks like 'a set of words and pictures thrown into a square box on a page'. But that’s ok. You then spend good money to print it for all Guyana to see, only to have few or no one respond to your offer. What gives?

You are suffering from a classic case of ugly advertising my friend. The kind that never sells but only compels your customer to turn the page. Leaving them open to the other guy's sales leads.

Ask for some advice, I'll give it. Send me specific questions, if you feel your advertising could do with a face lift. This is no time to be lazy. Do something. You're loosing customers and paying to do so, every time you publish one of those ugly ads in Guyana's newspapers.


Business, Industry

Is your ad agency really on your side?

It's my view that most advertising agencies in Guyana, don’t really care about building their clients' brands or generating sales for their products. They merely collect your money (sometimes premium amounts at that), only to return poor creative work. Work that often lacks sales strategy and the simple ability to convince your customers to buy.

Do you know how to tell if you're being ripped off? If you believe you are, send me your scenario, without openly mentioning the agency’s name. There are things you can do today to start getting value for your money.