Hot, cold, or a cocktail, a cup of Happy Coffee is a best seller that is mixed to meet the peculiarity and demand of every customer. A cup of happy coffee is also a cup towards changing the market and industry for coffee farmers, vendors, and retail hubs and ensuring that Nigerian coffee sits at the table of global coffee players.
In 2015, Ms. Tekenah, a recipient of the seed capital from Tony Elumelu Foundation tapped into the growing demand and forgotten industry of the beverage with the mission to transform Nigeria’s coffee narrative and at the same time, to alleviate the plight of coffee farmers and vendors especially with the country importing over 95% for its consumption.
Princess Adeyinka Tekenah referred to by Financial Times as Nigeria’s Starbucks copycat is giving Nigerians a delightful coffee experience and placing Nigeria’s coffee culture on the map with her enterprise, Happy Coffee.
But navigating a start-up in the busy hub of Lagos is not all that simple, giving into consideration the unfavorable conditions and rising competitive market. Happy Coffee has continued to satisfy its customers and sustain the extensive network of coffee enthusiasts by making use of locally sourced coffee, which not only adds to the richness of the brand but also gives customers a chance to participate in the Nigerian coffee transformative narrative.
This indigenous brand of beverage is gradually becoming a must-have accessory in different Nigerian scenes such as corporate gatherings, literary/art festivals, offices, and homes while creating and giving happiness with their visual happy emoticon.
With Happy Coffee, a personal narrative is essential as each Happy Coffee vendor and sip leaves you with more than just a taste. In her words;
Coffee is a fantastic gift that lends itself to dynamic dimensions. I believe the human mind is exceptionally diverse, hence progressive in its relationship to creating and designing great social experience. That’s what coffee does to you.
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Can Social Media Control Political Narratives? This was the discourse to kick start the fourth session. Moderated by Broadcaster/Political Enthusiast, Ezugwu Chukwudi, the panel had in attendance Founder, Rise Networks, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji; Lawyer/Politician, Faruq Abbas; Founder, Let’s Make Impact, Ferdy Adimefe. So when I thought it was about time to hit the bar of boredom, is that political issues are filled with long talks with nothing to excite one, it turned out I (as well as many others) was wrong.
The youthful population of Nigeria spends a staggering amount of time on social media. The question is, what do they do online? Chukwudi reeled out the top ten search words on YouTube by Nigerian users in recent times with “Yoruba movies,” “Arsenal,” “Chelsea,” “Movies,” “Wizkid,” amongst others making a list.
Toyosi took the floor first, with her deep voice, dropping punch lines that rang in everyone’s head, causing people to make all sorts of exclamations, because she was speaking the hard truth about the realities of Nigeria. In her first few words, she said: “we live in a society where the future of a yahoo boy is brighter than that of a degree holder.” She held that our youthful population spends a lot of time doing trivial things; “Social media for the Nigerian youth is overrated.” She points out two categories of young people in Nigeria.
On the one hand, are the educated, smart, and exposed ones, which form the inconsequential minority and nonchalant to elections. While on the other hand is the more significant part of our population, they feed one time a day, poorly or not educated, and are at the mercy of our politicians. These are the ones who will stand outside under the rain and sun on election day to vote for politicians who give them food or cash. “As long as our people are poor and uneducated, social media will not drive any political narrative.” In essence, social media cannot shape the political narrative.
For Ferdy, it takes more than social media to change the narrative. Staying online and talking does not change anything; it takes more than a tweet to change a nation. Action must be taken as we must play a big part in the process. Those in the Senate constitute a large part of our problems. They are overpaid and underworked people. We, therefore, must use social media as a weapon to effect a change.
Faruq appeared to be expressing his frustrations with the whole political scene, sharing his experience as a contestant in the Osun State House of Assembly race and strongly condemning the act of people collecting things from politicians in exchange for their votes, because we end up not having the right to speak against them as we have compromised our values. However, he shares the view that social media can change the political narrative, of course. But for him, the truth remains that we are not using it as we should. He, however, tasks users to engage politicians on social media by asking them logical questions that affect us.
My earlier prejudice disappeared into thin air as the session turned out to be the most engaging.
There is a whole lot more that can be done on social media, acquisition of knowledge, jobs, and so on. As the conference was about coming to a close, this was the issue up to discuss signifying the fifth session. ‘Creating Additional Value Using Social Media,’ was the topic, and media personality, Olayemi Ogunwole (Honeypot) was to moderate the session. The panelists include Nollywood Actress, Mercy Johnson-Okojie; Media Personality, Tolu Oniru-Demuren (Toolz); and On-Air Personality, Dotun Kayode (Do2dtun).
Dotun opined that social media is about selling perceptions. So what impression of you do you give on social media? A lot of things can be learned on social media, however, depending on whom one follows. Does being popular automatically translate into having influence? For Mercy, they cannot be separated. For Toolz, one could be famous and not necessarily influence people. Having an impact is people wanting to do things because you did the same things.
I sought an interview with one of the panelists from the first session, Digital Manager, Ndani TV, Oyinkansola Ewumi, and asked her a few questions.
• One might argue that the social media space is a whole different world on its own, do you see a connection with ourselves as individuals – does social media affect us one way or another?
Ans: “Yes, indeed, social media does affect us all as individuals in one way or another. It affects the way we think, it affects the way we perceive others, and it also has a way of changing our view of the world as a whole.“
•How engaging do you think the online social community is in Nigeria?
Ans:” I think the Nigerian community online is still growing. You have pockets of people spread across platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, e.t.c. And while the number is not as substantial as we may think it is, (Statista.com puts the number of Nigerian internet users at 92.3 million), – Nigeria’s population was 190.9million as at 2017 -, the prospects for Nigerian internet users in the future is excellent.
As it is, the Nigerian online community on platforms like Twitter have been instrumental to affecting actions in real time – governance and social engagements -, and acts like this can only grow more prominent in the nearest future.“
•Where do you see the future of digital media in Africa?
Ans: “Well, I think the future of digital media in Africa is bright, and with time, Africa may emerge as a force to reckon with in the digital sphere. From Kenya to South Africa, and Nigeria, more Africans are taking charge of the digital narrative, creating more content and pushing the boundaries of engagement across various industries.“
The path to growth, if explored, can only get better. More Africans will be looking to develop their skills in digital, and hopefully, this would translate to the growth of other aspects of the economy and would mean a better Africa for Africans.
With all this shared knowledge, one can only confess that Handle It, Africa, being a great initiative, is living up to its expectations and is needed for this present generation that is so engrossed in social media. I look forward to what the conference has in stock for its fourth installment.
Olatunde received his Bachelors Degree in Philosophy from Lagos State University. He has a passion for social media and engagement and makes his debut as an intern for That Green Tea blog.
Follow Olatunde on IG: @olatundeh_ and Twitter: @olatundeh_
All images featured in this post are the original works of Olatunde and property of the blog. Any individuals featured were part of a public event were photography was allowed.
Building an online presence is very much a necessity in this day and age. With an estimate of well over 4.3 billion internet users and over 3.4 billion active social media users, the online space has reduced the world into a global village. Social media today has gone beyond being a place for us uploading our ‘dopest’ pictures and exchanging ‘bants,’ it has become a lot more, even so, a knowledge tool. How then should social media be optimized to ensure growth, personally or collectively?
Handle It Africa with the motto: Reach. Connect. Engage is an impactful conference geared at revolutionizing how social media is used, consumed, and deployed effectively to realize desired results. The meeting convened Olufemi Oguntamu, the lead consultant at Penzaarville Africa, a social media marketing agency. With years of experience as a social media strategist, Oguntamu understanding the power of social media decides to convene this conference, pulling big weights from the social/digital media, entertainment, and political spaces to discuss the role of social media in these corners. With its third year running, Handle It Africa with the theme, ‘Social Media: Extending the Frontiers,’ expands the standard of sharing knowledge to maximize the benefits of social media, which has established through the years. This third edition which took place on the 17th of May, 2019 at Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos, witnessed a massive turnout of enthusiastic young individuals seeking knowledge about social media and how it can be optimized for business growth and for building strong personal brands.
With an ambiance right for networking, after registration, everyone appeared to be engaged in discussions with one another, exchanging pleasantries, taking pictures against the backdrop, basically sharing good moments in general.
In the convener’s speech, “Today’s advancement in technology has had a comparable effect on social media. Trends are leaping in bounds, and only those of us who keep up can maximize the benefits of this growth. Our endeavors to harness the benefits of social media need a strategic approach, and this edition tackles all the best ways to not only maximize the benefits but also solve attendant problems.”1
The conference was designed to feature five-panel sessions, tackling five different topical issues that encapsulate what goes on in the social space today.
Session one with the topic ‘Creating Exciting Content that Wins the Clicks,’ featured panelists such as Akah Nnani, an Actor/Youtuber; Mc Lively, a Comedian; Food Content Creator, Winifred Emmanuel; Digital Media Manager, Ndani TV, Oyinkansola Ewumi; and moderated by Content Creator/Filmmaker, Adenike Adebayo-Esho.
Putting out content on social media is one thing, creating that which wins the clicks; that is one that goes viral and rings up thousands of likes and comments is another. This has got to be a budding issue for content creators. Akah was quick to point uniqueness as key to this problem, as he holds that social media is saturated and so one needs a content that stands out. In essence, find your selling point. An example is Winifred, who chose to base her content on food, thereby making it her niche.
One might ask, how does one get the much-needed attention on social media? According to Oyinkansola, what is needed is a robust online presence that engages and relates to people.
As a comedian who is famous with thousands of followers, Mc Lively emphasized that to “blow” is not as important as staying relevant. You do not want to be that person whose video or content goes viral or “wins the clicks” just one time, and then you become non-existent. It is imperative that you put effort into building yourself.
Wrapping up the session, Akah stresses the importance of consistency.
Session two started on a loud note, with the introduction of Tobi Bakare, ex-Big Brother Naija housemate. The girls couldn’t seem to get the hang of themselves, as the very handsome, stylish and sexy Tobi was making his way to the podium. Alongside Tobi on the panel were Amalia Sebakunzi, Marketing Director, Eat ‘N’ Go Limited; Terver Bendega, Regional Marketing Manager, Africa, Bolt; Sisi Yemmie, Food & Lifestyle Influencer. The session tagged ‘What Do Brands Really Want?’ was moderated by Chidi Okereke, Team Lead, Thisruption Communications.
No doubt, there is an increasing trend online with brands opting for “social media influencers” to help create awareness about a particular product or service, instead of the usual advertising on TV, radio or print media. There seems to be some friction between brands and social media influencers, where brands feel the influencers do not do enough as expected of them in discharging their duties, and influencers, on the other hand, feeling brands demand too much and even more, the demands do not match the pay.
For Terver, influencers are used to market or create awareness for something. It is therefore important to understand why you’re adopting influencer marketing as a brand: what do you hope to achieve?
Sisi Yemmie, however, was quick to the point that sometimes, the brands are inflexible, wanting influencers to stick to the script. For her, there should be room for some level of flexibility to enable the influencer be creative carrying out his/her duty.
For Tobi, brands should begin to engage influencers on a long-term basis; this allows for organic marketing. As a result, influencers will be able to create content naturally at any point in time, which most likely ignored as the influencer becomes a part of the family.
Amalia believed that the essence of influencers is to create original content for the brand. And most importantly, to drive awareness.
In all that was said, one thing stands out. And that is Tobi stressing that as an influencer, one needs to learn to say no at certain times. You cannot be an influencer who accepts jobs from any and every brand just because money is involved. Your focus should be on brands that their campaigns align with your image and persona, to realize a seamless synergy.
The third session started on a high note, with the moderator, Tomike Adeoye, a TV Personality, stepping out with a high spirit and oozing so much excitement. She succeeded at keeping the vibe in the room nothing short of one hundred all through the session. If ratings could be tallied, I think she would easily pass for the best moderator of the day. ‘Unleashing the Power of Lifestyle in Social Media Campaigns,’ the topic was, and the panelists were introduced. Ozinna Anumudu, TSC Agency Founder; Mimi Onalaja, TV Presenter, and Timini Egbuson, Actor. Now here we go, screams from the ladies because of course, fine boy Timini was on stage. I rolled my eyes while in my mind, I kept wishing they could just shut the hell up! I am not a kill-joy, so I would let them have their moment. LOL
There is a crucial role in which lifestyle plays in campaigns on social media. Brands look out for influencers whose lifestyle on social media fit their image as a brand and would do a seamless job with their campaign.
Lifestyle for Ozinna is what you are when people are not watching. However, there are two kinds: organic (natural) and created (mostly found on social media).
Instagram has got to be the best social media platform because it allows for the sharing of pictures and videos, supported with words, Mimi says when asked which she considers the best.
According to Timini, find what social media platform works for you and make the best of it.
Keywords from this session are from Ozinna and Tomike, holding that it is crucial to stay true to yourself and understand that social media is not real life. Tomike sharing the same view adds that life is not all about the likes and the comments.
#EatDrinkFestival is a one of a kind festival and social event. Now in its fifth year, the team is taking #EatDrinkFestival to greater heights. In addition to bites and sips from a dynamic selection of Lagos’ upcoming vendors, pop-ups from celebrity and aspiring chefs, and hobbyist cooks, the Food Festival is an annual event set in the beautiful bay of the Lekki coliseum. The festival takes place every year in the last days of the year after the holidays (ikr, what a way to end the year).
The Food Festival combines innovation and interaction with the audiences. In just six years, the Festival has gained momentum with around 30,000 visitors in only one weekend. The primary purpose of the festival is to communicate inspiration and gastronomic knowledge about the cosmopolitan culture to all of its visitors.
What was offered was a wide range of special events and tastings with a focus on indigenous food culture – from seaweed safaris to sausage-making and cabbage workshops, to gourmet picnics along the boulevard. Visitors of all ages will discover engaging and insightful activities and master classes.
There was an atmosphere driven by enthusiasm and passion for local food culture and seeks to promote the Nigerian kitchen nationally as well as internationally. It gathered some of the leading producers, chefs, and enthusiasts to raise questions and create experiences around cosmopolitan/indigenous food for all its visitors.
Smolefikpots was my fave at the festival the corn did taste like it was drizzled with honey (or was it raspberry?). The chicken was a tad bit over seasoned but the flavor was toned down with the spring onion, and do not get me started on the Jollof rice, exactly how I like it; slightly burnt and moist. It was foodie heaven.
Thanks to the blog ( *coughs* Fatima) I did not miss out on dessert. I had chocolate banana drizzled doughnut with honey dips and sprinkles. When I tell you the entire thing melted in my mouth like whipped cream (Y’all gon think I’m lying, but I’m not). Here’s a rare photo of heaven in a box.
Guests could choose from relatively simple meals such as seafood Jollof and ofada Jollof to more exciting concoctions such as Jollof samosa, Jollof shawarma, groundnut jollof rice, Jollof arancini and acha (Fonio) Jollof.
Other options included Jollof risotto, Jollof couscous, nkwobi ( spicy cow foot) Jollof, Jollof burrito, coconut jollof rice, smokey ofada infused Jollof rice, Jollof gnocchi, and Jollof quinoa which could be washed down with cocktails, zobo, smoothies, beer and of course water. There was gelato and popsicles (some alcoholic) for when the weather got hot.
For the people who, for some reason, weren’t there for Jollof anything, there were other options including dirty rice, chicken wings, pork chops, small chops, asun ( spicy goat meat usually roasted), cookies, BBQ wings, native rice, and salads. The Food Festival did offer a diversity of opportunities and great experiences to a broad group of people in just one weekend.
Hopefully next year’s even more thrilling.
Rashineh is passionate about covering events in the Lagos metropolitan area and is available for collaborations.
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All images are original works of Rashineh and the property of That Green Tea blog.