Monday, March 7, 2011

★ 5Qs with Paradzai Jawona

Rob: I have never had the opportunity to interview a marketing and branding specialist before on 5Qs, so today it is my extreme pleasure to introduce to you Paradzai Jawona. Paradzai Jawona locally known as PJ, brings to the table years of expertise and an in depth understanding of global marketing. Please help me welcome him to the 5Qs!

Q1: Good Afternoon PJ. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

PJ: My name is Paradzai Jawona, I was born and raised in a small Southern African country called Zimbabwe, where I was raised, attended school, and completed part of my college education. I have often surprised people by my perspective on life which is often considered extraordinary. I however, think this is one of my greatest strengths as a marketer because I am able to present ideas and concepts in very unique and interesting ways. I consider myself an all around marketer who is interested in the development of concepts. I have worked in marketing research, advertising, and also in the development of brands. My perfect day is when I can sit in the sunshine and read a good book.

Rob: I do think you have a very unique perspective on marketing. Because you traveled from Africa to the USA and have worked in marketing in both countries, you can see the bigger picture and the details who others that don't have your background may be oblivious to.

Q2: When did you first realize that you wanted to work with marketing and branding?

PJ: Oddly, I got into the field of marketing by accident. There used to be a 1990's TV series called Falcon Crest. The show had a character played by Gregory Harrison named Michael Sharpe. Each time he made a sale he used to be so excited about it, and as a young boy I was fascinated by how he would cleverly close a sale. So I was first interested in sales rather than marketing, and I worked in sales for about a year before I switched careers. I made the switch because I found the marketing process more interesting especially creating brands. It is a challenge to create a successful brand.

Rob: That's very interesting.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

PJ: My background in research and sales helps me to have a clear perspective of what the expectations of the target market is. Often marketers fall in love with their ideas that seem brilliant on paper, but fail to achieve intended goals because they lack understanding about the target market's mindset.

Rob: PJ, it's so true. I have definitely fallen in love with some of my ideas. They have seemed so great and yet produced such poor results. Because my target audience had no connection with my ideas, they didn't move my audience like they moved me, and as a result, were useless.

Q4: How does the process of branding differ between Africa and America?

PJ: The way different markets consume different products and services, also determines the branding process. What is key is understanding the social classifications and the differences in cultural and traditional aspects and what the need is. In America the diffusion of concepts is done through a very advanced communications infrastructure, and the main challenge in Africa is that the media is not as developed as in America. However, this can be considered as an excellent opportunity to introduce new products and actually go through all the stages of the branding process from something as basic as formulating a name for a product.

Rob: Again it's all about knowing who you are marketing to and knowing how to visually communicate your brand in a way that can be understood by all.

Q5: What is one easy way every entrepreneur can market better?

PJ: The simplest way to market a product is by offering a good service or product that exceeds the expectations of customers. Soon people will start talking and the business will benefit through word of mouth.

Rob: I have always tried to be upfront and honest in my business. If I can't do the project right, I will tell my client, that I can't. If I think I can get the job done in 2 days, I will tell them 3, so when my client receives a proof on the 2nd day, they are excited! Procedures such as these always give me tons of referrals.

PJ is currently a part of the wonderful staff at Rising Tide Capital, where they are "Transforming Lives and Communities through Entrepreneurship™."

You can click here to visit Rising Tide's Website or follow them on FaceBook and Twitter!

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