I have noticed a recent ceremonial trend that Nigerian startups adopt in launching their product or service. Saduwa launched in March with lots of unnecessary fanfare. Last week there was another showmanship of such at the mobile app launch of a new online laundry delivery service — Instant Pickup.
For a startup, the way Instant Pickup went about launching its mobile app raises a lot of concern. First, is the choice of venue. Landmark Centre is as expensive as it is exquisite — a possible justification for this is because it is located on the Island of Lagos. And of course, such an exquisite hall requires a matching audience.
This expectation was met, as the launch was graced by high-profile brand ambassadors, celebrities, and a high-profile MC. There was even a red carpet session to probably “spice things up”. Don’t even get me started on the splendour of packaged refreshment. All of these for a mobile app launch isn’t really necessary.
Let’s take a look at some big tech brands we have today. When Uber came to Lagos, there was no such hype. They grew (sort of) organically, especially through referrals. Reason being they had an excellent service. Also, there wasn’t so much fanfare surrounding the launch of local startups like Jobberman, iROKOtv, and PayStack. The founders particularly clarified how they started small and scaled gradually. In addition, established companies like Interswitch, MainOne, and a host of others never made so much noise. And, I bet we all know where they are today.
Unfortunately, the reverse is the case with so many budding startups. The fact is, a startup remains a startup, nothing changes. What this should drive home is that like an infant it needs to be groomed, nurtured and protected. Hence, frivolities that draw too many people’s attention at the same time should be totally avoided.
A mobile app launch ought to be more of a process, and not a once off thing. So, the launch doesn’t stop at the fanfare but extends to development, testing, analysis of user behaviour, and upgrade.
Google gives a hint on how best to launch a mobile app.
True enough, some global brands, especially banks, surround the launch of some of their products with a bit of fanfare. However, these are already existing brands that have little or nothing to lose should the launched product fail. There’s actually no specific way to go about a mobile app launch, but there’s a way to ensure that an app launch doesn’t defy its essence and be easily mistaken for a party.
I am neither saying the absence of fanfare equates product success or vice versa. But the money spent on it could be invested in improving on the product after feedback is gotten from users. This way, the mentality for an unnecessary fanfare will be corrected before every Tolu, Dike and Halimat feel it is the right norm.