Nowadays, it is easy to assume media usage in Nigeria. What would this assumption be? That all media channels are controlled and monitored to deliver authentic and creative content- meaning that for any brand to reach and influence its target audience it must make use of one channel- most often television.
Perhaps, this may have been true of the Nigerian media landscape say nearly two decades ago. Today, this is no longer the case: Nigeria’s media usage, interaction and environment have become extremely dynamic, complex, fragmented and grappling. For brands to win customers and build loyalty, they need to understand and adapt their marketing strategies to the way people currently consume media
Nigerian consumers access information via multiple media channels and multiple screens. Today, digital media usage has increased considerably as the number of social media users continues to rise – twitter, facebook, instagram, linkedin; Whatsapp in Nigeria is estimated to have around 40-60 million active users- significantly more than the total number of internet users in some countries. Mobile is now the number one channel for accessing the internet.
Challenging Economic Times
As the economy experiences turbulent waters, the Nigerian consumer has become savvier and value for money driven hence becoming increasingly aware of its relationship with brands. Invariably, for brands to sustain their strength there is a need for them to foster and reinforce customer relationships in a strategic way through the media channels being used.
The average Nigerian is looking to purchase brands for reasons beyond price- they are looking for choice, specialized products and true value products. Why? More Nigerians have had to re-adjust their lifestyle to enable survival and continuity within the current economy.
To adopt new users and retain existing customers, brands need to develop strong value propositions by identifying their markets, understanding what they want and designing a variety of features, pricing, positioning and packaging that will engage consumers at a deeper level, by communicating their value proposition clearly, being precise in their targeting and messages and understanding which media channels to use and how to use them effectively.
Differentiation equals customer retention
Strongly communicating and creating differentiation is an important criterion in retaining customer loyalty. According to recent findings on the relevance of a PEPSICO CSD brand, differentiation is important for consumers because they associate specific superior performance with multiple brand benefits. Hence brands must seek to:
- Build on their innovation within current offering in packaging,
- Deliver an emotional user experience with their offering
- Consistently tell a story that is core to the brand’s DNA
Doing these will move it further up the differentiation ladder. According to Anne Czernek- a Digital Trends Research Expert, well differentiated brands are also 12 times more likely to grow in value than brands with only average differentiation.
Sensible differentiation is more than “being new”- The difference needs to benefit customers in a distinctive way that they recognize and appreciate it and brands need to communicate this in a clear way: a memorable advert can easily leave people entertained, for example, but without any clear understanding of why to select one brand over another.
Trust is synonymous with brand consistency and strength. Many well known Nigerian brands lack consumer trust. As consumers continue to have the power of information at their fingertips through the penetration of mobile technology, brands must consider the need to build consistent credibility by clearly defining their vision and values. Brands need to understand the essence of letting its customers see their reason for existing and the value contribution it serves to give to its loyal customers.
Make an emotional connection
There has never been a better time to be alive as a brand or business.There is a huge opportunity for local brands to use media to emotionally connect with their consumers at little or no cost at all.
Most Nigerian brands do well at communicating their functional benefits but very few excel at consistently engaging their customers at an emotional level. Brands with the ability to connect with their customers at an emotional level will be those who consider the cultural differences that exists across Nigeria’s multi-ethnic and multi culturally diverse society and seek to uniquely outline the factors that most contribute to customer bonding across different cultures while understanding the differences in media consumption- mostly in the commercially viable densely populated cities.
As digital media becomes more entrenched in society and the media environment becomes more complicated, brand owners may find that “ creating a bundle of smaller ideas with a consistent brand expression is more effective than looking for that one big idea ”- By considering each target audience and finding the best relevant channel for addressing them. This means the willingness to invest in multiple media with the aim to drive audience reach and impact with targeted messages.
Use engaging content
Content is ‘always’ king! There has never been a more relevant time in existence when content consumption has been at the highest. Consumers continue to look for good stories and respond positively to activities that reflect a commitment to improving the society. A mix of traditional and social media activities has the ability to strengthen influence and brands need to realistically incorporate social media touch points into their digital strategies- By creating platforms for active conversations and listening to what customers are saying on these different platforms. Brands can also start conversations with consumers and build clear and consistent brand images in their minds over time. There are different ways to engage existing customers by creating campaigns that align with customer needs through content creation that may include creating blog posts, videos, cartoons, photos and topical stories.
Consider multi-media exposure
As marketing budgets become leaner and brands have less to spend on advertising and communications, brands can leverage the use of multi-media campaign strategies to effectively reach its target audience by refocusing to include social media.
Nigeria’s GDP is predicted to grow around 4.2% in 2018- so the opportunity to do business remains bright as consumers continue to desire more value driven, indulgent, healthy and instant products.
Penetrating this vast and highly fragmented market will require deep understanding of the dynamics of Nigerian consumers, markets and media across multiple regions.
As a brand there has never been a better time to be alive!