The Role of Insight in Growing a Brand to Its Next Level
Nigeria has been described as one of the three key homes to Kantar group across sub-Sahara Africa. The global research company rates the country high for her greatest potential and value-addition to the group when compared to other nations. “The growth is very important to us as a business because we see the huge scale and size of what the market will turn into” declared Charles Foster, CEO, Kantar Insight, Africa & the Middle East.
Charles was recently in the country for a CEO round table involving Kantar clients in Nigeria. This is an integral part of the company’s efforts at enhancing its clients’ business growth through the use of strategic insights. Now a more regular face in the Nigerian marketing Research space, Charles shares some of those insights with select media as to moving a company, either a start-up or conglomerate to its next level.
Oozing with enormous optimism and undaunted by the much taunt security issues, he noted that serious businesses should not be deterred as this isn’t peculiar to Nigeria alone. “We have security consideration everywhere we operate across Africa, in my view Nigeria is not worst off than anywhere. “The potential here by the cheer value of the size and the scale of the business in this market is mind-boggling”.
However, to realise and optimize the potential, operators have to commence a radical process to industrialize the economy, he explained, alluding to the Dangote refinery and the group’s business trajectory. It’s traditional to start with trading, “Moving away from mere trading activities to enduring manufacturing activities becomes pertinent. I see more and more evidence that Nigeria is putting in more infrastructures and structures to support the development of the country. I think the underpinning is the entire country being revolutionized by the kind of business integration and growth model exhibited by the Dangote Group and the Opay Business structure in Nigeria”, he said.
As an insight-driven professional, Charles insists what Nigeria needs is manufacturing, not traders but actual making, distributing and selling and he sees more evidence of that happening. “Frankly if that is the direction the country is going, it’s going to be rosy. What I fear is the opposite where many countries around Africa don’t have a manufacturing base”. Big time manufacturing can also be in agriculture as the government is currently pursuing in Nigeria, he also noted.
According to the CEO, Kantar Insight, insight-led findings indicate that “it’s going to be great, the country is going to be great, you just got to consistently demonstrate who you are, empower and grow your emerging middle class”. Building outstanding brands involves brand advertising, communication and understanding the consumer through insights are critical to securing the brand and the company for the future, he added.
Explaining how Insight can work for young companies and fighting brands to eke out a sizeable market share against conglomerates, Charles revealed that big companies like Unilever, BAT are all being attacked by little companies in subtle ways. Hence, you find some of your big players really anxious about protecting their market share.
For instance, as a BAT or a large cigarette company, you may be concerned about cheap manufacturers producing good products, avoiding tax and eating into major market share. If you happen to be large FMCG company of so many years, then your concern may be different, it could be there are small manufactures producing very similar products because in many cases, they used to work there!
“Before you know it, they become a real active competition against the ‘big boys’. They make mincemeat of the “big boys’” reliance on the power of their brands and distribution networks”.
According to the Insight specialist, the Power of brands in many cases is less strong because sometimes some of the small companies seem to be and do prove to be as efficient in delivering the product benefits. Consumers in most cases don’t really mind who they buy are from. What seems like small impressions against big brands do build up to huge marketing challenge. Airbnb, the technology-driven hotel group posts such threats to huge brick and mortal hotel conglomerates.
“It’s just the power of little people, little brands, little companies and particularly tech brands to really have an impact on big players. No matter how strong they have been, you cannot underestimate the power of tech led brands”.
Speaking on innovation, he advises that every company has to move very quickly because it can’t afford to stagnate or stay traditional in innovation which might mean line extension but rather do something right outside the box. For instance the Nescafe trolleys and the Opay’s many diverse offerings are really impressive. So let’s think out-of-the-box.
As a matter of fact, the research expert “doesn’t think traditional research is growing across Africa”, rather what is growing, according to him, is the broader industry which is “research, insights and analytics”. Citing the ESOMAR report (global research report) on size of industry, emphasises that the actual traditional research is still strong but the analytics business grew enormously in recent years.
By analytics, the Kantar Insight boss refers to research operators’ and other consulting companies’ ability to bring to the table analysis of their big data, consumer trends and get the real behavioural data performances with a view to understanding whole lot of the business life. In many cases, he says, “it can involve predictive experts”.
While underscoring the importance of insight in building and growing a business, Charles said, “Any investment that doesn’t have an insight or data supporting business decision, is less able to grow”. This is because they don’t truly understand the consumers and what they need to do to grow their brands. He regards insight and research as an intricate part of businesses and their growth. As a business, Kantar Insight, tells where there are greater opportunities for clients, where they can squeeze and reallocate resources, he emphasizes.