Repositioning Amidst Stiff Competition

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Raheem Akingbolu reviews the new credential campaign launched by Nigerian Breweries to reposition Goldberg and argues that ‘Your Excellency’ title given to the brand could only resonate with consumers if it is supported with relevant communications tools

With many business owners within and outside African continent looking in the direction of the Nigerian market, the terrain has become more competitive. Consumers too have become more sophisticated and selective. As a result of this, each of the players is engaging the market through different positioning tools to gain competitive edge. Of course, some have come out with feedback of good results while some have failed.

Business owners are fond of publicity stunt and marketing strategies to push their brands in the marketing place. In Nigeria, two sectors – the fast-moving consumer goods and food and drinks, appear to be the most popular in this regard. Over the years, Unilever, Nestle and Cadbury have explored various strategies to create news around products like Milo, Maggi, Bournvita and Knorr.

In the Nigerian Choco beverages market, where Bournvita, Ovaltine and Milo are the major players, the competition to win consumer loyalty is strong. For some time, Bournvita, which has remained a household name for years, appeared to have allowed complacence to weaken its brand equity. In particular, Bournvita and Milo have been at ‘war’, in the quest to be crowned ‘King’ in the market for years. From any angle one chooses to look at it, the intense competition has not been helped by the incursion of other popular Choco beverages like Ovaltine, Hollicks, Richoco and Suco, which have punctured the market share of the market leader.

The beer market

With last year forecast that the African beer market would grow faster than any other region in the next five years, the competition has become intense. According to Canadean, a global market research company, the growth would be driven largely by rising population, urbanisation and increased GDPs.

The report states that African consumers largely depend on the products of four multinational companies that dominate the African brewery industry – notably SABMiller, Heineken, Castel Group and Diageo. In addition, interests in premium drinks are expected to rise.

In the larger beer market, where Heineken, Star, Harp and other top players are making waves, many products are playing at regional levels and they are eating deep into the market shares of the big players. For instance, while Life and Hero are slugging it out with the big players in the Eastern market, Trophy, 33 and Goldberg are doing the same in the South-west.

Goldberg’s credential campaign

Since the year 2012, when Nigerian Breweries rolled out the drum to re-launch Goldberg in Ibadan, handlers of the brand have not looked back on their determination to make the beer brand the number one in the western market. To achieve this, they have been involved in many activations and sponsorship to connect with consumers. Top among this is the periodic sponsorship of various cultural festivals like Osun Osogbo, Ojude Oba and Udiroko festival in Ado Ekiti. The latest was the sponsorship of the Oba of Benin coronation.

Few weeks ago, Nigeria Breweries caused a stir in the market place when it suddenly christened the product ‘Your Excellency’. Though, it was the first time such campaign would be launched in the market, few things made the Goldberg version unique. Already in the market, Heineken is being addressed as ‘chairman’ while trophy, a strong competition to Goldberg is known as ‘honourable’.

By the new credential campaign, the company appeared to be sending a message that wherever ‘excellency’ appears, ‘honourable and others should bow. To herald the campaign, the company, against all odds, located a massive restaurant called Aso Rock at Abaranje, Ikotun area of Lagos, a name that is similar to Nigeria’s seat of power, to creatively prove another point that ‘excellency’ resides in Aso Rock.

Objective

According to the company, the campaign of a new identity was activated to further strengthen the affinity of Goldberg Lager Beer with consumers in the South West. Corporate Communications/Brand PR Manager, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Patrick Olowookere, said the activation could not have been held at any other place because Goldberg is the number one brand in the South West region. “Your Excellency” could not have commenced its journey from any other place apart from the South-west of Nigeria where it is the favourite beer brand of the people,” he stated.

Due to the brand’s cultural affinity with the people in South-west Nigeria and the loyalty of consumers there, Olowookere said the unveiling was held at the two locations to strengthen the bond that has developed over the years between consumers in the South-west and Goldberg Lager Beer. According to him, the people of the South-west and Goldberg Lager Beer also share a common bond – respect for traditional values and institutions. That is why the brand has thrown its weight behind festivals like Ojude Oba in Ogun State; Udiroko in Ekiti State and the Osun-Osogbo in Osun State, festivals that define and capture the essence of the cultural ethos of the people.

Corroborating him, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager and Stout Brands, Nigerian Breweries, Emmanuel Agu, said as a brand that demonstrates its high regards for the culture and traditions of its target consumers, Goldberg is a befitting beer that deserves the befitting title: “Your Excellency”. “No other beer brand matches Goldberg’s respect for the people’s culture. Goldberg has demonstrated that it occupies a class of its own in adding value to the way of life of the people”, he stated.

Similarly, Senior Brand Manager, Regional Mainstream Brands of the company, Funso Ayeni, said, “Just as “Your Excellency” is at the apex of all kinds of addresses used for occupants of certain positions of high standing all over the world that is how “Your Excellency” is a befitting address for the befitting beer, Goldberg.” He reiterated the fact that in various spheres of life, ‘Your Excellency’ connotes someone in the highest hierarchy of affairs or who controls affairs on top of the food chain. “Hence, ‘Your Excellency’ in politics, religion, education as well as other socio-cultural life means someone who’s at the apogee of affairs,” he said adding, “in the same vein, when we examine the beliefs on which Goldberg is founded, we discovered that it serves its leadership position as a social lubricator that stimulates ‘Excellence’ in people. The activation of the campaign attracted a large turnout of consumers as well as the company’s distributors in Lagos and Ibadan. The events featured colourful cultural performances as well as an appearance by wave-making Lil Kesh in Lagos and the popular Small Doctor in Ibadan. Despite the huge investment made into the activation, observers believe that the campaign could only resonate with consumers if it is supported with relevant communications tools.

A brand analyst, Mr. Ganiyu Olowu, commended the company for thinking out of the box but argued that the development could confuse consumers if not well communicated. “No doubts, this is another milestone achievement on the part of Nigerian Breweries but it must be followed up with good communication to avoid confusion,” he said.

Other activation

Knowing well that the relationship between music and consumers is like that of Siamese twins, top brands often ride on the platform to further extend their frontiers in various markets. In Nigeria, this has also remained a strong connecting tool for decades as many brands have rode on music to woo consumers. This notwithstanding, when handlers of Goldberg, from the stable of Nigerian Breweries, announced few years ago, the commencement of Fuji T’o Bam, a talent hunt initiative, it sounded unusual. This was so because the trend in the market then was to promote hip-hop and other classical music. Aside creating entertainment ground for consumers, the initiative is also a specially designed platform for young talented Nigerians who want to hone their skills in Fuji Music.

Now in its fourth edition, Fuji T’o Bam has suddenly become a good tool with which Goldberg is winning new consumers and retaining the existing ones. To this end, not a few analysts have commended the promoters of the brand for a good home work and ability to identify the hidden treasure in that genre of music.

According to findings, more percentage of youths and adults in South-west Nigeria follow and listen to Fuji more than any type of music. It has also been established to be the only Nigerian music brand that is devoid of foreign contamination.

Last year, the company took the activation up a notch with the intellectual dimension introduced to it to deepen their relationship with the patrons of the beer brand in the South-west of Nigeria.

With this, the exercise didn’t only achieve its aims and objectives; it opened a new chapter for Fuji Music.