2017 in Review: Brands’ Bulls eye Moves and the off Targets in the FMCG Sector
In this second phase of our 2017 marketing industry reviews, BrandCrunch considers a few hits and misses by notable brands in the fast moving consumer goods sectors of the Nigerian marketing industry in the year that just ended. The focus here, being the inherent lessons in some of these exploits or misadventures as the case may be. Please feel free to comment in the comment section under the story. Enjoy.
Pay TV: The Still birth, The Boaster and the Winner
The Nigerian pay TV Market, a market dominated by South African DSTV Multichoice, in 2017 witnessed some earth shaking moves characterized by the entry of some more players with the mindset to cause havoc to the dominant player.
Being a near monopoly, the dominance of the DSTV with its fighter brand fighter, GoTV posted glaring threats to intending competition. Therefore, the target of every contender was to rupture and rattle the market leader. The most formidable of them all remains Zimbabwean digital TV brand owned by the Econet Telco group, Kwese TV. To be sure it presents a formidable opposition and gain immediate popularity, the brand started with Kwese sport and its already in about 20 African markets before it ventured into the Nigerian market in September, 2017. Speaking at the launch, Elizabeth Amkpa, General Manager Kwese TV Nigeria said “We are excited to launch our dynamic content business in Nigeria, a market that we know is hungry for a compelling alternative pay TV network”.
The platform introduced for the first time in Nigeria, the “pay as you go/watch” offering 3 days, 7 days and 30 days packages at N990, N1850 and N6,275 respectively. This was meant to be Kwese’s unique selling point. The euphoria was however, short-lived as Indian owned Startimes countered with its daily payment plans which come cheaper. Its super bouquet goes for N240 per day, N1200 per week and N3800 per month. This put paid to the Kwese uniqueness.
Similarly, the market lead fought back with GOTv, reinforced the offering subscription fees – Plus and Max at N1900 and N3800 per month respectively. Multichoice also dealt another blow by launching its “12 good reasons goody bags” consumer promotion. It offered incentives to lock subscribers into longer – 3 months subscription contracts. These forced subscribers to carefully weigh the option to leave the platform or not.
The greatest casualty of the industry, however, remains the TStv. It announced its coming ahead of Kwese, in a frontal attack on DSTV Multi-choice. Thrice, it had suffered official launch postponements while it battles with some back end issues including right infringement, and distribution rights. TSTV made so much noise, but it’s still a still birth for now. Never underestimate the power of the established market leader!
Dairy War of 2017: Hollandia Started a Battle it couldn’t Finish
With the population of the country in excess of 180million, the dairy need of the citizens provides a vast opportunities for the players. That explains the success of Milk brands such as Promasidor’s Cowbell, Loyal; Dano Milk from Arla Foods, WAMCO Friesland’s Three Crowns; Jago, Lunar, and other cheap Asian products meant to provide the required milk nutrients for the population.
Starting 2016, Hollandia Evap Milk by Chi Ltd tried to reenact the Peak – Cowbell milk war of decades ago. All through 2016 and early 2017, Hollandia Evap through its “Shikini Money waso” campaign stirred the hornet nest and it got stung.
The challenger further heighten the already tensed competition by challenging Peak’s claimed market dominance. It will be recalled that “N50 Shikini money” became a theme for competition between the two brands.
Hollandia Evap 65g pack that retails for N50 in its commercial finds expression with the saying which claims good things come in small sizes. Although, the N50 price mark is never an exclusive preserve of the brand or its promoters, as other similar brands sell at same price point. The claims and counter claims went on for over a year.
However, having engaged in the supremacy brawl for God knows how long, Peak as the de-facto No 1 was only able to silent the competition when the brand refrained from the usual functional benefits and technologically enhance packaging. The market leaders in the last quarter of 2016 unveiled its new “From generation to generation” campaign. It reinforced in simple but well thought out multi media campaign the brand’s unique assets to reinforce the brand’s position as Nigeria’s No. 1 milk brand, the Peak of the Pack as its pay-off reinforces. The brand speaks to the old and also finds more than a passing relevance with the new generation of consumers. The competition i.e Hollandia Evap is yet to find an answer to the “Peak since 1954” stick in your brain narrative!
The fall of the Innovative Telco brand
2017 was a year, the managers and brands owners of the Etisalat brand will not forget in a hurry. A love brand to some extent, the brand ran into troubled waters no thanks to the consortium of banks $1.2 billion syndicated loan which the foreign partners and owner of the Etisalat brand were unwilling to continue to service on the condition of the lenders.
The tsunami of a loan devoured everyone and everything along its path from the foreign partners to the Chairman and directors of the company. The popular Etisalat brand tagged the innovative telecoms company was not speared either.
The ensuing 9Mobile brand isn’t totally free from the baggage of its predecessor. While the fall of the brand remains a fatal brand miss of 2017, the speedy and seamless transition to 9Mobile almost overnight gave a fillip to the industry just like the changeover that resulted in the Airtel of today. Agencies and media profited while it also improved hand-on knowledge in brand transition. The lender is the master of the borrower. It’s a lesson to corporate and individuals.
Stellar Dilutes NB’s Iconic Star brand Equity!
There used to be one and only Star beer, now there is Stellar Star beer! Nigerian Breweries, home to Nigeria’s most iconic Nigerian larger brand, Star lager brand since 1949, last December launched, Stellar Larger.
Stellar being produced under license, is Belgian origin and has been in existence since 1897, the new product has the propensity to create internal and external rivalry for the premium larger, Star.
Although, Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Franco Maria Maggi, while explaining the Brewer’s motive for the venture, said the company is passionate about delivering quality and consistent value to our consumers. “Over the years, we have worked hard to earn the trust of our consumers, introducing Stella Lager Beer is our way of assuring millions of beer lovers that we will continue to innovate to deliver superior products and value to them at every ask.”
Yes, Stellar might be intended for to cater for a special palate, its packaging shares some striking semblance with Star. The biggest and most cherished iconic brand property of the Star Larger which probably distinguishes it from other brands of beer is the Star logo in its lively blue and silver shades of colours. This main physical distinguishing property is shared by the new product.
This is makes it rather easy for one to canibalise on the other. Although, the team will struggle to say “No”, the fact remains that some Nigerians are bound to see one as the shadow of the other. A new standalone product without any physical semblance with the Nigeria’s highly revered Star will have scored a thumb up without creating unnecessary internal rivalry. This is perhaps one of the marketing misses of 2017, I hope I am wrong! Time and stats will tell.
Noodles/Pasta Market: Dangote Losses out to Indomie
Just like the milk market, activities the Noodles market is synonymous with hyper activities almost all through the year as rivalries in the industry never stops at nothing. Despite the huge size of the market, the four foremost players, De-United, Dangote Honeywell and Golden Penny flex muscles year in year out and 2017 was no exception.
On the 2017 misses list case was Dangote’s Dangote Noodles throwing in the towel in the Pasta segment as it sold two production lines to rival pasta maker, De United Foods Industries, for N3.75bn ($12.26m).
Aliko Dangote, Dangote, Africa’s richest man owns majority stake in the Dangote flour had said he wanted to quit the noodles business to focus on flour and pasta production.
Nigeria’s noodle market is fiercely competitive with De-United controlling about 70 per cent of the total market share.
Smart decision by the Africa’s richest man, you would say by, as he was able to cut his losses and move ahead to concentrate on his area of his strength and where the company has comparative advantage.
The indigenous conglomerate had never had it good in the Noodles market owing to De-united’s Indomie’s stronghold on the segment. Yea, one of the huge misses of 2017 as the brand lost the ground to arch-rival and market leader, the inherent lesson is one should have the discipline to cut your losses and move on in life. It is a virtue.
MTN Escapes Just by the Whiskers
Dino Melaye, a senator of the Federal republic had accused MTN of illegally repatriating $13.92bn over a decade starting in 2006, triggering an investigation.
Upon investigations by the senate Committee, the report claimed “There was evidence of massive capital outflow but that alone is not conclusive that a crime has been committed,”
There were no “proofs of collusion to contravene the foreign exchange laws,” a Senate investigative committee said in its report released in Abuja, November last year.
Nigeria’s decision to drop the reparation case indicates that relations between the government and the country’s mobile market company are on the mend following the settlement of a $1bn fine in 2016.
The legislators asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to take measures against Stanbic IBTC Nigeria Plc “for improper documentations” regarding capital repatriation and loan repayments, adding that steps should be taken to enforce foreign-exchange laws to deal with known deficiencies. One good turn deserves another.