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2016 ADVAN Conference: Brands Urged To Engage More During Recession

Brands in Nigeria have been urged to expand and sustain their platforms for consumer engagement even during periods of difficult economic climates. The advice was handed down last Friday by Nigeria’s frontline brand research and consumerism expert, Lampe Omoyele at the maiden edition of Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) Marketers Conference.
Lampe, who is  also the Managing Director of The Nielsen West Africa, a brands and marketing research company,   urged  brands  not to succumb to the temptation of cutting down on their marketing budgets despite internal and external pressures, adding that they will achieve better profitability that way.
Presenting a paper titled “Consumer Confidence Trends  and Engagement,” Lampe noted that since the third quarter of 2015, consumer confidence in the economy has dropped significantly, and it has dropped even further in the first quarter of 2016 due to devaluation, foreign exchange crisis, high inflation, budget delay  and many others.
He also noted that that there was a general decline in job prospects and a reduced willingness to spend by most consumers.
Because of these challenges, he explains, most households now prioritise their expenditures and are consistently cutting down on what they spend on.

Lampe also noted that, as expected, the sector that has had the worst hit is the FMCG, a major indicator for consumer confidence in any country.  Most of the companies in the FMCG, he stressed, have reported losses. On the other hand, alcoholic beverage brands, Telco brands and non-alcoholic beverage brands have all recorded some growth despite the drop in consumer confidence.
According to Omoyele, the growth in the alcoholic sector resulted from the natural tendency for alcoholic consumption during “down or low moments”.  Telco companies, from his research, recorded growth because of the general attitude of Nigerian to talk and connect with family and friends regardless of the economic situation.
However, from his study, the growth in the soft drink segment was primarily driven by Coca-Cola’s share a Coke campaign which was a highly successful and inspiring marketing drive. Likewise, growth in the alcoholic segment has been largely driven by Nigerian Breweries. Diageo Nigeria was in a form of decline despite the acclaimed success of Orijin, the rave of the moment alcoholic brand.
Lampe explained further that the key factor responsible for the growth of NB Plc was their acquisition of Consolidated Breweries which had a host of value brands. “So the growth was driven by the value brands,” he said.
Ultimately, Lampe warned that the FMCGs must begin to engage consumers in a positive way if they want to retain or even expand market share. “They must ensure they remain in touch with people consuming their brands, and they should do so through quality engagement” he advised.

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