By Lukmon Oloyede.
Nigerian Muslims make up about 50% of her over 170 million population. This makes the 30-day Ramadan period a huge window for marketers as it offers multitude of opportunities for brands to leverage on. Just like Christmas, Ramadan comes once a year but it lasts for an entire month. While brands have exploited the Xmas/New Year marketing window effectively, the huge opportunity in Ramadan begs for exploitation on a yearly basis.
Over the years in Nigeria, the common marketing communication approach by marketers is wishing their Muslim customers a happy and blessed Ramadan at the start of the month, and the same for Eid-al-Fitr, at the end of the period. Few players, mostly FMCGscompanies such as Nestle, Cadbury, Friesland Campina, and Unilever have taken some extra stepsto key into the season through commercials.
[ad id=”187″]But there are still several opportunities brands canharness the spiritual month. As marketers are cutting down on marketing budgets and tilting their attention to brand engagement, marketers can run many multicultural content campaigns such as recipe/ cooking contests, Islamic fashion contests, fairs/exhibitions, quiz, koranic recitation competition and photo exhibitions that are likely to get the attention of huge number of Muslim consumers. In many countries with dominant Muslim population, these approaches are taking over.
Marketers also have the option of launching campaigns that can educate the masses of the Muslim folks as their of concentration and level-headedness are at its peak at this period. Collaborative campaigns with local philanthropists can also help brands enhance their reputation.
[ad id=”169″]Ramadan is also an ideal time for cause marketing or corporate social responsibility (CSR) due to the heightened emphasis on giving back.Cause marketing has become common practice for established brands and startups alike, particularly in today’s collaborative economy.
In this new era of social responsibility, cause marketing is now the norm, and customers who visit a company’s website and see the massive advertising blitzon television would be touched if they realize that they are trying to make the world a better place by supporting an important cause.. For instance, providing supports for consumers in Boko Haram troubled region in the country will mean a lot to many true Muslims who can reward the brands with loyalty and goodwill.
Mr. Tunde Tani, Managing Director of Explicit Communication however called for caution so that the marketer would not be seen as “over-doing things”. “Organising a very intensive campaign at this period can create some negative or biased impressions in the minds of non-Muslim consumers” he opined.
“Ramadan period is a good time for brands to leverage on in terms of their offerings, delivering value, and rewarding their consumers. However, they need to also be sensitive about the idea because Nigeria is a secular society were religion play a key influential role in consumers’ life” Tani explains further.
“Brands are very careful against showing head on support to any religion so that they would not have to start battling with their reputation after the season is over. On the other hand, cause marketing for instance could be introduced in areas that have been having Boko Haram attacks. Corporate Social Responsibility is what brands need to do though it has to do with their organizational policy. Ramadan is a period that can really build brand goodwill if strategically engaged”, he said.
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Managing Director of PR Redline, Mr. Lekan Ishola also pointed out that the reason why there are fewer commercial during this year’s Ramadan is due to the fact marketers are cutting down on their marketing cost. He pointed out that consumers’ engagement is what brand owners seek and only content that could appeal to all everyone are usually activated.
“Brand owners are cutting down on marketing cost and experiential marketing is becoming the in thing. Brands can engage the consumers with activations that will appeal to both Muslims and non-Muslims. However, it’s important for brands at all times to ensure that whatever they do, it should always match the brand values and promise”, he enthused.
[ad id=”147″]Jamiu AbdulAkeem, an Abuja-based marketing consultant also stressed that marketers could also use the season as an opportunity to give back and spread their faith. “Brands should ask the question: What is Ramadan all about and what can their role be in truly becoming part of this holy month and help consumers experience Ramadan. Ramadan is a sensitive, spiritual time and brands must know how to balance between the authentic nature of Ramadan and the business opportunity”, he said.