When Promos are More than a Business Strategy



Whilst most companies churn out promos for cheap funds, FCMB’s unrivaled commitment to satisfying customers’ needs is evident in its promos that offer fantastic prizes to customers beside encouraging the savings culture, writes Nosa Alekhuogie

Today’s explosive economic environment has had a profound impact on Nigeria’s business world. The suddenly reticent consumer base has left many companies across the spectrum of Nigerian businesses, scrambling to make changes on their marketing plans. Regardless however, among the banked, underbanked and unbanked, money still basically exchanges hands either in the formal or in the informal space.

For the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), its financial inclusion initiative tailored towards encouraging these segments to look towards an organised system-the bank, is said to have been predicated on its focal promises held as a tool for economic development, particularly in the areas of poverty reduction, employment generation, wealth creation, improvement in welfare and the general standard of living. In the banking industry, who gets what and the scramble for market share, has now resulted in some level of stiff competition in the financial services sector.

It is a common notion the world-over that every business is in business to make profit. And to a large extent, its strategy and execution, among other indices, determine how its set objectives are achieved towards making this profit and achieving expected return on investments (ROIs). Today, the market is awash in the contest for market share by the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) whose products and services’ promotions seem to be the in-thing. Many reasons have been put forward for the creation of this frenzy among the banks. To get the people’s attention, it has been, ”open an account, and win millions, win a car, win a house, win a plot of land”, etc.

What could be responsible for this aggressive drive among Nigeria Banks? Many theorists have tabled a couple of reasons. While an anniversary celebration or a rebranding project can easily qualify as solid reasons to announce a promo by some banks, successful promotions have the ability to nurture relationships with consumers through retention and engagement. They often shape the characteristics of a brand. Another reason could even be just for the retention of existing customers or outright corporate image and branding.

“It is assumed that one common ground is the drive to elicit more patronage out of customers in a collage of activities made manifest through different events utilising various platforms. But when First City Monument Bank (FCMB), was 30 years, coming from its long years of merchant banking since 1983, to its recent transmutation to Retail Business, the lender said it just wanted to reward its long standing customers who had shown consistent loyalty and stood by it.

The Bank gave out millions of Naira and some brand new Hyundai SUV vehicles to a number of its customers. While another banking executive spoke about promos as a quest for cheap funds, recognising it as necessary to recognize every customer and reward or appreciate their patronage and also to attract new ones, the Executive Director, Retail Banking at FCMB, Mr. Olu Akanmu said: “Our customers are the reason why FCMB exists. And as a Bank committed to continually satisfying their needs, this promo is to further empower them, encourage savings culture, engender the desire to establish small businesses capable of improving their living standard, and show appreciation through the fantastic prizes on offer. Our eyes have never been on the numbers. We want to touch lives and the chances to win are quite high”, Akanmu pointed out.

“We are strategic in all our plans, while sensitising the populace as represented in our customers, FCMB wants to add value in the life of an average Nigerian. We want the individual to know why it is good to save a portion of his income. We want to inspire and teach them how to establish small and medium scale enterprises. We want life styles that experience prosperity through transparent commitment and sheer hard work. These are some of the ingredients we embed in our model of promotions and corporate social activities which uniquely separate us from the pack. Today, a number of FCMB prize winners, have established businesses that are flourishing, and we are indeed, very proud of them”, Mr. Diran Olojo who is the Group Head, Corporate Affairs at First City Monument Bank (FCMB), reiterated.

A review of various promotions in the Banking Industry in the recent time, indeed largely shows the empowerment of the customer as one of the objectives for which promotions have been organised. Many lucky customers have won a lot of money running into millions of naira. This financial windfall has enabled these customers to establish businesses. Brand new vehicles, including SUVs, houses, plots of land as well as other exciting prizes, have also been won by customers at draws conducted at these promos.

FCMB’s Millionaire promo described by Mr. Oluyomi Victor Temidayo is more of corporate social responsibility, the winner told THISDAY. “You are God-sent, who would have guessed correctly that today, I would be a proud owner of a car, an SUV for that matter. It can only be God Almighty. May our good Lord bless FCMB, its Board and Management”, he said with excitement.

When FCMB set-out to execute its 30th anniversary promo, it did not see the full weight of social value the exercise would present, as the project evolved into a tool used for actualising the dreams of many. What an observer described as an intervention that directly provided a platform which provided timely aid for Nigerians, across different psychographic spheres beyond gender, religious and geographical location and limitation. Men and women who never in their wildest dreams expected to become millionaires and SUV owners, so soon and in this era of harsh economic difficulty, have thanked their stars, giving testimonies across the different parts of the federation.

Other winners who remain ever grateful to this bank include Dangero Adamu in Kebbi, Udo-Afa Gabriel Udoh in Calabar; Ajitena Saidat Mojirike, Dubge in Ibadan; Unuarhe Onovughe Francis in Warri as well as Abubakar Adamu from Gombe.

Traced to the founding fathers of the establishment who built its foundations from City Securities Limited the precursor of the old and the first fully indigenous financial institution, First City Merchant Bank, the culture of excellence impacted on a team of people that does business with a strong sense of ethics and corporate governance, created the platform for FCMB’s present day operation. Really, can any business succeed without relating with people in the community within which it operates? The answer is no. The 34 year old financial institution’s adopted mantra is that consciously impacting the society to touch lives is not an option, but a business objective. Over 4,850 Nigerians have won millions of Naira and other exciting prizes in FCMB promos, our reporter, discovered.

As key players in the financial arena, the banking sector is uniquely positioned to advance economic growth and development in Nigeria through its lending and investment activities. However, the business environment is increasingly being destabilised by mounting challenges bordering on poverty, population growth, food insecurity, urban migration, energy and infrastructural deficit, human rights, labour and climate change issues amongst others.

It is in recognition of this myriad of challenges that members of the Bankers’ Committee adopted the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBPs) in recognition of the Nigerian banking sector’s role and responsibility to deliver positive development impact to society whilst protecting the communities and environments in which we operate. The principles aim to promote a development imperative in Nigeria which will not only be economically viable, but will also be socially relevant and environmentally responsible.