Winning in a Recessionary World: Your Nigeria Growth Toolkit (1) – By Tamara Ojeaga
The recession is a reality but, when seen through the lens of opportunity,brands can bounce back from the shock if they disrupt the new status quo. Factor in the new macro-economic trends and balance these with a view of new consumption priorities that are likely to stick, in order to embrace emerging opportunities and stimulate demand post-lockdown. Do so with the first volume of Kantar Nigeria’s growth toolkit
COVID-19 hit hard, with most Nigerian household incomes negatively affected and the Great Lockdown limiting both demand and supply for brands. But a crisis is a terrible opportunity to waste, and how quickly we recover depends on our ability to support and stimulate the economy. This means we need to better understand shifts in shopping and consumption habits in the changing landscape of consumer behaviour in the new normal. Some new behaviours are likely to stick in the future as they’re more convenient, satisfying, and rewarding than previous behaviours, but some will fade away – it’s the brands that leverage the changes that matter that will gain a competitive advantage.
These new priorities mean new categories are emerging, so the challenge for brands is to anticipate the impact of changes for their category. For example, a new era in shopping has emerged, with price-sensitive consumers opting for eCommerce and smaller neighbourhood stores close to home top trends as they offer the least exposure to others, especially during the month of Ramadan.
Retail impact: COVID-19 shakes up shopper paths to purchase post-lockdown
The popularity of ecommerce is linked to increased digital media consumption, now playing a larger role in shopper’s purchase decisions. This is due to new hybrid solutions of ordering via phone call and farm-to-door and bulk-buying options on Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook. This means brands need to balance touchpoint activations, as non-digital channels are still important.
With shopping no longer a leisure activity but a necessity for basic survival, window shopping is no more as shoppers now stick to their lists planned ahead of time and make trade-offs if they can’t find what they’re looking for. So, retailers need to look beyond discounts and promotions to lure back shoppers, as these won’t be sustainable in the long-term. Instead, look to ways to offer the best possible experience in order to protect brand and category value in the long-term.
Do so by activating short-term demand. It’s as simple as keeping your prices competitive in tracking retailer margins and tracking stock levels to ensure you have everything in stores where consumers expect to find them, as availability drives purchase decisions. Optimise channels and ensure products are strategically positioned in hot zones where consumers expect to see them, at eye level if possible. This could mean collaboration through partnerships with other brands to offer special deals that work well together, like bread and milk or bundle packs of cleaning cloths with detergent. Also explain your brand’s strategy to fight against COVID-19 and demonstrate purpose, brand salience, and meaningful difference in your brand communications.
Media impact: Accept the new, vital energy of the internet
Adeola Tejumola, CEO, West East and Central Africa, Insights Division, Kantar, says: “Ready or not, many brands were forced to take the technology leap in order to survive. But the internet is our new oxygen bubble, now serving as a means to most ends, so online media habits are likely to stay as with lockdown came an increased desire to connect, engage and be informed.”
Digital media channels made this easy to do from home, enabling virtual connection, online shopping and remote working. But that’s not to say that traditional media is a thing of the past, as offline activities feature strongly in the ‘way we were’ that Nigerians want to return to:
This shows that the connected world is building on traditional ways of marketing rather than killing them. While TV and non-video content are relevant media touchpoints for at least 80% Nigerians, traditional media remains significant, with higher consumer reach than online media. Media planning must drive relevant content in the right moments, as cutting through the hype requires a comprehensive view of how consumers’ media habits have changed. You may need to reallocate media budgets to gain efficiencies, but overall you need to know what your target audience is doing, on what devices, in order to reach them in the right way.
Ndeye Diagne, Managing Director, Nigeria, and Ghana, Kantar, says: “With social app use soaring, remember the importance and role of non-paid media in driving brand ROI, and that a clear brand voice driving positive sentiment can deliver up to 15% brand equity growth. Brand purpose is one of the top-selling points in times of crisis so amplify your brand values through relevant brand messages during this time in order to still be relevant tomorrow.”
You don’t have to reference the coronavirus in your marketing communications, nor should you exploit it. Be helpful and reassuring where you can, and display solidarity and togetherness, but don’t disappear in the sea of sameness in most advertising at this time.
1: Defend traditional trade and media: The new won’t necessarily replace the old just yet. Traditional channels will remain a priority for most businesses, while in the short-term, digital will complement and support traditional channels to achieve growth, enabling future fitness and sustainability in the mid-term.
2: Don’t wait to invest in digital: As the digital demand space evolves in Nigeria, the need to understand local nuances and peculiarities is crucial. Cultural and local relevance ensure brands are well-positioned to leverage opportunities as they arise. Co-create long-term solutions and seek partnerships to support improved sales/distribution in these channels.
3: Stand for something (out loud): Improve equity through your brand’s CSR and empowerment culture, as the crisis has triggered the need to be identified as a purposeful brand that’s socially responsible and empowers people. With livelihoods greatly affected through job losses, salary freezes and cuts, brands and businesses are positioned to aid improvement of low-level employees and the community overall through empowerment schemes.
4: Monitor, monitor, monitor: As consumers keep changing, you’ll need to be aware of how their coping mechanisms are evolving. Beyond optimistic, Nigerian consumers are extremely resourceful and resilient, always finding a way to thrive, irrespective of the situation. As such, many behaviours may change irrevocably as consumers discover new options through enforced choices. Brands will need to pay attention to these changes in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Tamara Ojeaga is the Chief Client Officer, Kantar Nigeria.