Mrs. Anthonia Ehanmo is the Group Head, Brand & Marketing Communications at CWG Plc, Nigeria’s largest system integration company. In this interview with ITPulse’s Martin Ekpeke, she disclosed how the CWG’s brand has enabled the growth of businesses in countries where it has operations. She also adduced reasons why the name of the brand was changed from Computer Warehouse Group to CWG Plc in 2017.
As an insider, what is your assessment of CWG Plc as a brand, placing it side by side other brands in its class?
CWG Plc as a rebranded identity is gaining recognition and matching up to the credence of its previously known name Computer Warehouse Group. The organisation has been in existence for 28 years and has over those years built a reputation that has earned it a position at the top-end of the ICT Industry in Nigeria. Given the vast range of IT solutions and the key Industry players that CWG Plc serves; it is not surprising that it is a Brand to reckon with amongst other brands within its class. The organisation operates out of four African Countries; with a full-stack of IT Experts and other Professionals operating out of its stables. CWG Plc runs IT Infrastructure Hardware Services, Software Services, Communications – Mobile Connectivity, Managed Services and Cloud Service Solutions; as evident in the Financial Services, Telecommunications, Government, Utility and Emerging Market Industries of the African economy where it operates. The inclusion of an Academy also ensures that CWG is able to add its quota to Nation building by contributing to the continual training and development of IT Professionals.
It used to be Computer Warehouse Group. Now, it is CWG Plc, which was officially changed 2years ago during the 25-year anniversary. Can you say the essence of the name change has been achieved?
The name CWG Plc was changed in 2017, from Computer Warehouse Group as a Strategic intent for very obvious reasons. As an organisation that had existed for 25years, it had begun as a reseller of foreign IT products and services operating within different industries, providing IT services, with its core, then, being hardware. In recent years it had changed to become an innovator and developer of IT Platform services focused on enabling growth not just efficiencies for business. This evolution was not in tune with its ‘conversation stopping’ name. It is ‘a lot’ in a name for brands and for a business that was doing so much, its name had become limiting; hence, the need to have it changed, to accommodate its growth and open conversations for the business. To further clarify; if you heard, Computer Warehouse Group, one would automatically think the following; computers, computer parts, being sold in a warehouse; it would be unlikely that you would think to ask what exactly the business did, it was implied by the name and assumed by the brain. So the name was not a conversation opener. As opposed to, CWG Plc; your thoughts would more likely be; oh! A Plc, big, credible organisation, CWG…brain ticking to form varying words with the C, W and G. In a few seconds, people are more likely to stop wondering, with no preconceived notion and ask simply; what do you do? That is a conversation starter and that was something the company desired more of, particularly as its line of business was evolving. CWG PLC began solving core economic and lifestyle challenges within the environment and what better way to identify problems than to have an opportunity to sell yourself and explain your competencies to potential clients, on challenges that you can deploy tech-solutions for. So, yes, the name change has brought about a lot more conversations and invitations to tables for the organization to play more relevant roles in solving key challenges with Technology.
Between that time the name was changed and now, how would you describe the perception of the general public and the shareholders?
The perception has been great, particularly, as existing clients have not found any difficulty in relating to the new name, seeing that it seemed like an acronym of the old name. The name change is deliberate, so that people realize CWG is more agile; the expertise, also, has remained top-notch with the culture of continuous improvement very well in place.
Many people argue that CWG Plc is no longer the CWG of old, citing poor marketing campaign strategy and implementation. Can you highlight some of the campaigns the company has embarked on in the last few years?
Well, they will be right to think that, as there was no CWG of old; there was a Computer Warehouse Group and now a CWG Plc. Giving the transitional phase the company has passed through in the last couple of years; it will be foolhardy to think it was without marketing strategies or implementation plans. These have, however, been deliberately placed to allow for key business concepts and models to be deployed and tested; before they are exposed for public consumption. A few of the CWG business concepts that have kept the organisation busy in implementation and modeling are ATM as a Service (AaaS); Smart Utility Systems (SUS-Metering); Cloud Services / CWG 2.) products; BillsnPay, SMERP, UCP – Unified Cooperative Platform, to mention a few. Whilst the business has not pushed out heavily themed campaigns, it has ensured its stakeholders, regulatory bodies and media partners are aware of its plans and achievements. CWG hosted the NITDA/NOTAP 2019 Conference, couple of Media parleys, a series of interviews and articles on a number of thought leadership and lifestyle shaping tech-solutions being birthed and promoted weekly. Not forgetting the continued yearly hosting of the Free D-Coder Initiative, which has also given the younger youths something to look forward to, every vacation, less the Christmas holidays.
How do you see competition in the industry?
The economy generally is volatile and uncertain, the Industry is nimble and having competition keeps everyone on their toes if you intend to stay relevant. One thing is sure though, with the ever changing landscape and the prevailing entrant of digital into all spheres of life, the game field will get more competitive and we are definitely in it for the winning.
With the advent of digital marketing, what are the biggest challenges you foresee in the role of brand managers?
Digital Marketing is not just being birthed and any brand manager who thinks it is, obviously has not been paying attention. It is important for everyone to embrace it for what it is; a game changer and use it to their best advantage. Digital marketing has ensured that the gap between brands and consumers are closed, as you get to be in the mind space or intent channel of your customers more now than ever. Finding what the space and channel is and carving a non-intrusive way of being a part of that is what will make the difference in the long run and that is where the challenge lies.
What metrics are important to you as a brand custodian?
Recognition for our brand, acceptance for the solutions it provides in the scheme of providing ease for consumers, its role in enabling growth for the economy at large and the satisfaction that our brand is making an impact that gives appreciable returns for our investors.