After an evaluation by brand analysts, the Dangote brand was recently named the number one brand among the Top 50 Brands in Nigeria. One of the analysts, Mr. Taiwo Oluboyede, in this interview with Benneth Oghifo, explains how Dangote emerged number one
Can you briefly talk about yourself?
My name is Taiwo Oluboyede and I work with Top 50 Brands Nigeria.
Recently you had a programme on brands in Nigeria. You brought out a survey and you had the results. Can you disclose how you arrived at your conclusion and the material that you used?
Basically, what we do is that we help brand owners to appreciate the value of their intangible assets; their brand, and brand has become the most valuable asset of a corporate organisation. You will agree with me that for something that important, there is the need for recurrent evaluation and benchmarking as it is obtainable across the world. So, what we are doing is to bring out the values and separate those ones that are really hitting the marks as far as brands are concerned because we have the understanding that the brand is the driver that drives both the company and its products.
Arriving at the annual 50 top brands, we used a model called the Brand Strength Measurement (BSM) index in short. What this does basically is it measures a brand’s ability to deliver on its promise to the consumers. Brand is not just a promise, it is promise delivered. For example when a certain brand makes a promise of satisfaction through its product, the moment people buy that product, what they expect to experience is the ‘satisfaction’ promised. And this is measured from their perspective because whatever you are doing is about the consumers. The BSM model has seven variables as inputs, which starts with a top on the mind (TOM) survey, where we test people’s knowledge about brands or their affinity with them. We asked respondents to name brands that easily come to their mind. We carried out the survey via WhatsApp, Google and physically, visited certain individuals at various locations. These are streamed down to the ones with significant number of mentions. Then these are further subjected to the other variables, such as Innovation, Quality, to Category Leadership, and then Online Engagement.
You also agree with me that the online platform has become like a first point of call when consumers need information about you. It’s your virtual office. People get more information about a company online, much easier than when they physically visit. So we check how much you are engaging people on your online platform. We check how widely spread you are across Nigeria. All these are factors that go into the Brand Strength Measurement. And then we have the ranking.
From your survey and the results and the analysis before you came out with your position, what did you notice as the strongest points of the Dangote Brand?
I think personally, the Dangote Brand is a brand that a lot of people are getting to see as ‘our own’. The Brand has a strong personality behind it; that is also its brand ambassador and the face of the brand. So when people come across any of its products, what they actually see behind it is the credibility of the ambassador who they have grown to respect. So his personality has been a major driving force behind the brand. The brand has a strong endorsement of its founder behind it, who is also a global citizen. This is someone that many people also like to refer to as Nigeria’s Number 1 Brand Ambassador.
Asides from this, we have also seen exemplary leadership in arguably all the companies under the Dangote brand, and consistent upward trajectory in its annual returns.
Recently there is the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical; it is something that brings pride to a lot of people in Nigeria. Dangote Cement is doing wonderfully well, sometimes ago, Dangote Cement was rated as the most capitalised on the Nigeria Stock Exchange, I don’t know about now, and lot more. So all these come together to add to the value of the Dangote Brand. There are things that the group is doing right that make all things seem to just be going right for it. So by the time you now ask people to mention the brands that easily comes to their mind, it is no wonder that Dangote is one of the leading.
Apart from the Dangote Cement or the Dangote Refinery/Petrochemicals that is ongoing, which other initiative do you think will readily come to mind of the consumer or brand analyst?
There are not many people that will easily forget the Aliko Dangote Foundation, through which 150 cars were donated to the Nigerian Police and even the Inspector General of Police acknowledged that this was the largest donation given by any corporate organisation or individual to the Nigeria Police. We also have the various interventions, like at the IDPs situation in the North-east. Whenever there is any issue in Nigeria and even beyond, the Dangote brand is one of those names that you hear that is always there lending some helping hands.
Now, Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s personality brand himself who is the organisation’s chief endorser has been at the forefront of disease eradication, malaria especially, across the world and this is well acknowledged. As a matter of fact, one of the world’s topmost philanthropists, Bill Gates came recently and said ‘My friend Dangote’. So when you have such association with the brand ambassador, it a big plus, a thing of pride to Nigerians. All these add up. One of the key variables in the BSM model which we used in Top 50 brands is CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and you will agree with me that if there is anything that sells a brand to the minds of the people; if there is anything that endears an organisation to the people, CSR is among the top. It creates enduring affection; people begin to see the brand as thoughtful of them and their wellbeing beyond just their businesses. One other important feat that the brand achieved I think in 2017 was helping Nigeria to end importation of cement and now a net exporter. So, all these things just added together to increase the value of the Dangote brand.
Are you one of the consumers of the products under the Dangote brand?
Yes, the cement and Mowa water.
If you were to describe the Dangote Brand in three or four words, what would your description be like?
Quality, leadership, innovation and consistency. In fact there is another word I want to add; daring! That is the impression a lot of people have. How did a Nigerian think of this huge refinery project, doing it in Nigeria, and they even have a timeline for 2020? To the average mindset, that project appears impossible. So I think in that instance, I can say the fifth word to describe the Dangote Brand is daring; very daring and it is also inspirational, the brand is inspiring. And then there is the personal quality of the founder, Humility. The Dangote brand and the man behind it are largely scandal-free. If you watch the news and the perception over time, you hardly hear negative news about the brand; the person or the products. The few instances that we have heard anything is the issue of truck incidents but that can be explained. It is the driver and the vehicle, so that is easily explainable and those are accidents.