More than any sector of the economy, the telecommunications industry has consistently leveraged on promotions and reward schemes to connect with the market. Raheem Akingbolu writes on the promise and expectations from Glo’s new initiative
In a particular season of a given year, especially when the year nears its end, all the media go abuzz and Nigerian consumers of products are sucked into the frenzy of reward programmes and promotional offers by producers of goods and services in the country.
While some promotions offer mouth-watering cash rewards to lucky consumers for their loyal patronage, others creatively skew the pricing of their goods and services to attract more patronage or retain loyal customers. Yet others offer below-the-line shows and activations coupled with raffle draws designed to both create fun and reward customers who had stayed with their brands through the year.
According to the Head of Mass Communications at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Ogba Lagos, Mr. Jide Johnson, a properly-implemented promotional activation can be blended with a reward programme to create and retain loyal customers’ base for a brand. To him, the benefits of such a blend are multifarious for the rewarding company and diverse for the consumers.
He said: “For the consumers, there is first the joy in participation. On another level, there is the pride for them in emerging victorious, especially in a promotion that involves a raffle draw. The consumer of products also enjoys the feel-good effect of being appreciated by a company with which it has always had an impersonal relationship over time,”
He stated further that in the case of the rewarding organisation, promotions and reward programmes help them to determine the profiles of its customers.
“It can be used to gather information about customers’ buying habits, typical expenditures and other preferences. This information is also useful for other purposes. The producer of the product can through it discover opportunities to increase sales to a particular section of the customer base. Also, it may be useful for the development of a separate marketing campaign to target new customers who share similar demographic or psychographic profiles with the already discovered ones or others that are not in the category at all,” he added.
However, in Nigeria, many consumer promotions have been anchored on raffle draws. Many of these draws have succeeded in rewarding loyal customers of the brand while others have drawn criticism from the public based on noticed impropriety and unnecessary gap that the rewarding companies allow in the conduct of draws. A lot of raffle draws are shrouded in enough mystery to attract curiosity about its defined mechanics.
Guinness Nigeria opened the market early this year, when it threw caution to the wind and launched ‘Fly with the Eagles’ campaign, as a springboard to galvanise support for the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The campaign, which was inaugurated with promotion, ended with the sponsorship of close to 200 consumers to AFCON. Few months ago, Guinness’ rival brand in the stout market –Legend, from the stable of Nigerian Breweries, came out with what was tagged; ‘Legend Real Deal National Consumer Promotion’, through which it took 25 consumers to Dubai to shop with N1 million each.
And in what looks like a preparation for market activities as the last quarter approaches, Globacom has launched a N500 million consumer promotion, through which it intends to reward its loyal prepaid and postpaid subscribers for their support over the years.
The new promo tagged ‘Recharge to Stardom’, is offering loyal subscribers on the Glo network the opportunity to celebrate with Glo by winning various prizes ranging from N10, 000 up to the grand prize of N25 million in the next 100 days.
Globacom’s National Sales Coordinator (Channels), Mr. Kemi Kaka, said prepaid and post-paid Glo subscribers, who recharge with N200 and above during the promo period, stand a chance of winning any of the amazing prizes.
Glo Brand Promise
Handlers of Globacom are not new to promotions and so far, it has not been on record that they swindle consumers. This notwithstanding, the brand will need to keep to its latest promise to maintain its unblemished record, especially when eyes are still on telecoms sector over questionable promotions.
According to Kaka, the grand prize of N25 million will be won by a customer at the end of the promo, while two lucky winners will cart home N5 million every 10 days.
Breaking it down further, he said: “5 winners of N1million each will emerge every 10 days. In addition, 50 lucky winners will take home N25,000 daily while 200 customers will win N10,000 every day. This means that winners will emerge every day till the end of the promo”.
He restated that customers only need to recharge with a minimum of N200 during the promo period to stand a chance of winning any of the prizes, adding that the customer's chance of winning will increase with every recharge.
“Our objective is to turn our lucky subscribers into stars as we intend to reward them every day for the next 100 days. It is also important to us that our loyal subscribers are handsomely rewarded as they celebrate with us during our 10thanniversary. That is why we want them to win cash prizes of varying amounts up to the N25 million grand prize”, he stated.
To win any of the cash rewards below N1million, subscribers must recharge a minimum of N200 every day to stand a chance of winning N10,000 and N25,000 daily. Multiple recharges will increase the participant’s chances of winning the daily prize.
To win any of the cash rewards between N1million and N5million, subscribers must recharge a cumulative of N1, 000 in 10 days. They can appear in every draw of N1million and N5million if they recharge with N1, 000 every 10 days.
Also, to win the grand prize of N25million, customers must recharge a cumulative of N5,000 during the promo period. Recharges in multiples of N5,000 will give more entries the chance to win the grand prize.
“This promo, therefore, gives our existing subscribers a great opportunity to become richer. Potential customers can also buy a Glo prepaid SIM or port to Glo to participate in the promo," he said. He advised subscribers who are not yet on the Glo network to adopt the Glo SIM as their primary SIM and recharge in order to win the amazing cash rewards and enjoy all the other benefits on the Glo network.
Looking back at Globacom exploit in the market, it will be difficult to doubt its power of innovation. Three years ago, in its characteristic manner of jolting the Nigerian telephony market, its handlers announced the introduction of a new Glo infinito, which allowed subscribers to pay only 25 kobo per second for calls made to any network in Nigeria.
According to the company, the 25 kobo per second charge was a flat rate, which applied for all local calls irrespective of which network was being called or time of day or which part of the country the call was originating from.
The new package also allowed subscribers to call one Special Number at only 2 kobo per second. Interestingly, no daily or monthly rental was charged to enjoy the cheap rate. The subscriber, however, had an option of registering 5 Glo numbers, which could be called at 18 kobo per second. Again, registration was free and there was no rental charge.
Like others in the market that are struggling everyday to grab substantial part of the telecommunications market, Glo is definitely not losing sleep on positioning and marketing strategies.
In protecting consumers’ interests, regulators in various sectors and Consumer Protection Council (CPC) have not relented in their calls for transparency in promotions. As a result of this, a few organisations have in the past run contrary to the provision of the law.
A few years ago, a particular soft drinks producing company was caught by the authorities in the act of fraudulent practices that occurred through ‘crown-cork jamborees’. Winners of prizes, especially the star prizes, were denied the ownership of the won prizes and some of them cried foul. The controversies that ensued attracted the attention of the authorities, and that was it for the bottling company.
In 2008, Samsung rattled the Smartphone market when it introduced Samsung J700 phone. To win consumers’ loyalties, the company had supported the new product with a campaign called 'Samsung NextHero Cup', through which it intended to empower youths.
And to further push the campaign, the mobile phone company listed a consumer promotion to reward buyers of the Samsung J700 phone. The winning prize was a trip for 10 lucky winners to London to watch Chelsea Football Club. Another contributory factor to the success of the new product was the role played by player Didier Drogba; then the company's brand ambassador for Africa and the Middle East, who was well loved by football enthusiasts.
As a result of this strategy, Nigerian youths, who were willing to go to London to watch their favourite club live, rushed to market and bought many Samsung J700 phones. Few months later, the company placed a full page advertorial in a national newspaper to announce the name of the 10 winners that would make the London trip.
Among other things, the advertorial urged the winners to come to a designated place in Lagos, with their ID cards and international passports. Though the supposed winners complied with the conditions, the process was frustrated by Samsung. According to THISDAY investigation, on knowing that the development could tarnish its image, the company, assembled the winners and gave each of them N50,000 and one Samsung J700 phone.
A source in the company, who craved anonymity, revealed that one of the winners, who rejected the gift, dragged the company before a Lagos High Court. Though they later settled out of court, the family was paid an amount higher than what others got with a phone.
Before the players in the telecommunications market were restricted from rolling out promotions last year, MTN Nigeria was almost caught in the web, when it introduced ‘MTN Wonder Promo’, through which a subscriber was expected to win an aircraft. From day one, the promo attracted criticism because analysts believed that it was mere bait and another fraudulent way of attracting consumers.
As a result of the criticism that trailed it, the CPC quickly directed the telecommunications company to make further information available to its subscribers on the ambitious campaign. At the end, it was held but not without pessimism in the market.
However, it is not all promotions that are bad. Over the years, many organisations, including Nigerian Breweries Plc, MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and Guinness, among others, have actually rewarded consumers and touched lives through promotions and reward scheme.
The model promotional raffle draws in the country are ones done in the open at public venues and in the presence of all concerned, with the mechanism of the draws well spelt out to participants. Apart from the fact that this increases confidence and hope of the participating consumers, it also helps regulatory agencies and the monitoring public put a stamp of professional good conduct on the records of such company.
An ideal raffle-based promotional campaign sets out to achieve fairness, transparency, gamesmanship, excitement. Fairness in a raffle based promotional campaign involves correct and proper dissemination of information about the promo in a way that all willing consumers may have it.
The conduct of the draws should be done without any ulterior motives on the part of the organisers or those related to them in any way. All cards should be put on the table for all and a gaming spirit should be encouraged in all participants.
The excitement that such events create in the public, especially when the activations involve a lot of public participation can go a long way to promote brand equity and positive public perception, depending on the nature of the brand and the message it set out to pas to the public.
The model raffle draw-based promotional campaigns are expected to be carefully planned, spanning a specific period and well publicised. And the results for both participants and the organisers should be easily measurable. It should be a win-win situation in which the sales of the organisers are increased, while the satisfaction of the participant is guaranteed.