Raheem Akingbolu writes on how the promoters of the Chi brand have explored research and quality to compete in the dairy and juice markets
From any angle one chooses to look at it, the Chi brand has fought a good fight in the Nigeria juice and dairy markets. For a brand that was barely unknown some 20 years ago to have suddenly won consumers loyalty and become top players in various segments of the market within a decade, its promoters must have done a good job. Today, products from the stable have not only become consumers’ favorite, they have become household names.
From day one, the journey hasn’t been an easy one. There were giants like Coca Cola and Dangote to compete with in the juice market and there were also giants like FrieslandCampina WAMCO and Promasidor to slug it out with in the dairy market. As a result of this, contest for the mind of the consumer has always been tough. From time to time, each of the players explores advertising, experiential and networking to win consumer’s loyalty.
Place of research and quality
The question that readily comes to mind anytime issues related to the growth of Chi is mentioned is naturally hinged on how the company has achieved so much within a short period, despite the competition in the market. But its handlers have consistently emphasised that the company’s early investment to consumer research and commitment to natural ingredients have helped the brand to grow in the market. According to a source within the company, two decades ago, when the promoters of the brand were preparing to navigate the Nigeria market, their first area of interest was to know where the shoe was pinching consumers. The first thing they identified, according to the source, was the fact that milk, especially, was for the rich. Another thing was that the existing dairy companies before its arrival were only keen about their bottom line with little or no consideration for the feelings of the masses. With this, they saw a vacuum and they moved in heavily to fill it.
However, while they were working on how to make consumers get value for money, they also considered quality, hence the decision to enter the market with juice and dairy products with health benefit at affordable price. As at the time this planning was going on, competitions in the market were still living in fool’s paradise, thinking they could still continue to extort Nigerians. Before they woke up from their slumbers, Chivita and Hollandia Milk had gained the substantial size of the market share.
Looking back at the history of Chi Limited and its brand promise when it entered the market in 1982, it is easy to conclude that it has not derailed. At the inception, it was stated that the brand primarily catered to the needs of discerning Nigerian customers, for high quality, healthy and refreshing fruit drinks, fruit juices and a range of dairy products. Other drinks from the stable are; Chivita Premium 100% Pure Fruit Juices, CHI Exotic fruit nectars, CHI Happy Hour fruit drink and Capri-Sonne fruit drinks, which has now become a must drink for Nigerian children.
If there is anything that has helped the growth of the company in the market, it is the naturalness of its products, which has been extended well to Hollandia Milk. The group’s pay off line; ‘Happiness has another name, Chi!’ can be said to have been the guiding words for Hollandia Milk. Nigerians found the quality they wanted and the quantity they desired and quickly pitched their tent with the brand. Another major factor that has helped the brand success is in the area of pricing. Perhaps deliberate, the brand primary target at the beginning appeared to be the consumers at the low end of the ladder and the middle class. With time, the people in other segment, especially in the upper class saw the beauty and benefit of identifying with the brand that is adding so much value at a friendly price and they too quickly jumped. The rest as the saying goes becomes history.
Sharing his experience, a Civil Engineer, Mr. Ayo Akinyemi painted the dramatic way in which he switched from his favourite Milk to embrace Hollandia. “In my house, we were used to Peak Milk but my children always preferred Hollandia. We ended up started buying both. Then one day, the kids went for a birthday party at my uncle’s place with our house help and they slept over. The following morning, my wife was forced to resort to the left over of Hollandia in our children’s compartment because we didn’t have our favourite at home. As we were taking our breakfast and drinking the tea, my wife broke the silence. “Honey, we have been wasting our money for nothing”, she said. I told her that was what I have wanted to say. From that day, we started taking Hollandia because it offers what others offer in a friendly price,” he said.
Despite their success in the market place, handlers of the brand have never allowed complacency to set in for a day –they have consistently been inventing and adding more values. Recently, in order to make customers get more value for their money, the company added 25 percent extra milk to the brand. Asides, Hollandia is the first milk brand in Nigeria to be packaged in Tetra pak, the product is designed to provide consumers with creamy, great tasting, highly nutritious and affordable evaporated milk in handy 215g packs. Hollandia Evaporated Milk’s 215g unique packaging ensures supreme convenience as the innovative pour, cap & keep pack eliminates the hassles of milk storage and the design ensures longer safety from spoilage and contamination.
In taste, quality, innovation, and satisfaction, it is believed in some quarters that no other milk is at par with the product. Promoters of Hollandia Evaporated Milk also understand that for their patrons to stay with the brand value for money is paramount, this possibly explains why 25 percent more milk was provided for consumers as against what other brands in the same price range offer.
In what looked like a confirmation of the strength of the brand in the market place, Chivita from the stable of Chi Limited, was recently awarded at the 2016 edition of Marketing Edge Summit and Awards.
In a similar way, Hollandia Evaporated Milk, marketed by the same company, is steadily gaining market share by leveraging on innovative practices to win the hearts and minds of consumers. The brand’s wide acceptance and growing popularity, especially in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, and in the South West, was recently affirmed by AC Nielsen’s Retail Audit data covering the last 12 quarters.
According to AC Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, HollandiaEvap has consistently gained market share across the country. The brand, according to the measurement company has increased its market share by 7.4 points while its closest rival dropped market share by a whopping 7.9 points in the period under review.
With all the innovations and recognitions, there is no gainsaying the fact that the Chi brand has come to stay but its handlers will need to work harder, giving the challenges in the market and likely responses from competing brands.