3 Things Marketers Can Learn From Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o has shone on the global stage, and admirably so, banging the coveted Oscars and winning more than 60 percent of all awards she had been nominated for. It is no mean feat – hii si mchezo – as a Nairobian might quip. Regardless of where you come from, it’s difficult to argue with the fact that Lupita Nyong’o has pulled off one of the greatest triumph in the movie industry. And we can all learn from what she’s done.

The world celebrates her, and on that podium of success, every person and brand wants to be associated with her. Who wouldn’t want such increased buzz around their brand? What’s the takeaway from all these?

1. Be Natural…and Attractive

We had almost forgotten what in essence black beauty means. What our forefathers meant by, the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice. Lupita has been magnificent on the red carpet and carried herself so gracefully amidst all the fuss, selfies and photo-bombing. Indeed, marketing strategies should reflect that short-natural-haircut, no-weaves approach. To gain traction and deliver business results in today’s competitive market, it is the ONLY way. Don’t fake it because today’s customer knows more than you think. Don’t buy fake Facebook likes or spam people’s emails, it makes you look cheap.

Users are more likely to share their interactions with a brand when it reflects their style, personality, or aptitude. Vanity Fair got slammed for making Lupita appear a little lighter which shouldn’t have happened if they truly understood what motivates their target consumers.

The most successful marketing campaigns are devoutly audience focused; motivating their target consumers with authentic, value-packed content in a relatable way.

2. Become a Slave to Your Mission

Everyone who has watched 12 years a slave can see how Lupita lost herself in telling the story of Patsey. She absorbed the character and the character lived in her. It was indeed a performance worth the Oscars.

In marketing, we often put together a plan and some goals to measure against, but how often do we follow through with it? Sometimes great pitches never see the light of day, we are all guilty of this. As we know it, plans are useless unless someone rolls their sleeves to execute them with the utmost commitment. And it’s never too late to get started.

3. Define Your Style

In the notoriously choosy Hollywood, never short of stunning beauties, the 31-year-old Kenyan girl rose (almost from nowhere) to become the “it” girl. Lupita’s style has been exceptionally unique and often with a purpose. At the Oscars, she said, her sky blue dress reminded her of Nairobi.

It’s a crowded field and while every business moves to define its market segment, competition becomes cutthroat, and there comes an urgent need to build an identity that typifies the essential characteristics of your brand, and uniquely so. It is the only way marketers can break through the noise.


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