Raheem Akingbolu writes on how players in the dairy market are using influencer marketing to extend their frontiers, pointing out that the strategy has helped both consumers and various brand owners.
Women and children are important to promoters of most consuming goods because of their prime positions in the family. In the dairy and beverage industry, brand managers and their marketing communications agencies often conceptualise special campaigns to attract this segment of the market. This can also come in terms of activations or promotions that are specifically directed at mothers and children.
In the Nigeria's dairy market, top players like Peak Milk, Three Crown and Cowbell have successfully leveraged on these influencers to boost sales and strengthen loyalties among their targeted audience. For instance, Three Crowns Milk, from the stable of FrieslandCampina WAMCO, has latched on its adoption of mothers to approach the family through the tagline "Healthy Mums, Happy Families", which also gave birth to an initiative tagged "Mum of the Year". Peak Milk, also from the stable has also set aside mothers' day as an ideal platform to connect its targeted audience. Few years ago, promoters of Peak Milk followed up with essay competition that tied children with their mothers. For Cowbell, children have remained the major area of focus and the brand has over the years, used its mathematics competition in both primary and secondary school to build trust among children. Recently, the brand took it a notch higher with the introduction of Cowbell Summer Camp called "Chocademy".
Dairy market at a glance
The dairy market remains one of the highly saturated markets in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Industry. Little wonder, the number of new entrants into the category seems to be growing on a consistent basis. For good measure, developments such as this was seen as an improvement in the economy as the country continues to attract investment portfolios from such quarters. But over time, the adoption of value propositions by the brands has clearly helped in differentiating one from the other. Over the years, many brands have tried to latch on their value propositions to grow consumptions with little or no result. But for Three Crowns Milk, the adoption of mothers appeared to have paid off significantly as the brand continues to gain market share consistently. With the tagline "Healthy Mums, Happy Families", the brand took its proposition to a new level as it launched a communication campaign that has taken a life of its own. To many analysts, the campaign was considered strategic given the important place occupied by mothers in the family. Since the launch of the campaign, it has been cheerful news all the way.
Mum of the year initiative
With a determination to reinforce its presence in the mind of consumers, the management of FrieslandCampina WAMCO came out with another initiative tagged "Mum of the Year". Since the birth of the competition, the brand has not only witnessed growth of immense proportions, it has consistently contributed in improving its sales figure. Findings obtained from consumers particularly mothers showed that at least one out of every 10 homes now take Three Crowns Milk on a regular basis. A cross-section of those who spoke with our correspondent stressed that their relationship with the brand stemmed from their 'contact' with the campaign.
Beyond the rise in consumption pattern, the brand has also experienced exponential growth on the social media since the commencement of the competition. Between now and the time when it was launched, Three Crown's fan base on Facebook alone has grown from zero to over 336,552. Beyond Facebook, the brand is also said to be experiencing increasing social presence as other platforms continue to grow in leaps and bounds. Prior to the grand finale, some consumers were also selected to witness the event.
However one chooses to look at it, it's clear that the initiative has already triggered the interest of mothers and families as many of them have begun showing keen interest in the competition. Records available from past three editions showed that participation has grown astronomically.
Since the commencement of the initiative, consumers have been rewarded with varying degree of prizes including an all -expense paid trip to Dubai.
At the 2017 Mum of the Year Competition, 40 entries were said to have stood out among the lot while six mums made the final cut. The list of mums that scaled the hurdle includes Doyin Olaiya, Oluwakemi Alonge, Eziamaka Ogechukwu, Gloria Ojoh, Mosunmola Aindero, and Ezinne Ibe.
At the end, Oluwakemi Alonge came tops ahead of Eziamaka Ogechukwu and Gloria Ojoh who came second and third respectively. While Oluwakemi was rewarded with an all-expense paid trip to Dubai alongside other gifts, Eziamaka and Gloria went home with a double-door refrigerator and washing machine respectively. Besides that, the two runners up were also given cartons of Three Crowns Milk.
At the grand finale held in Lagos recently, finalists were taken through series of activities including challenges to determine the smartest person among the mothers. For past winners of the competition, the joy of embarking on an all-expense paid trip to an exotic location remains an evergreen memory.
Sharing her experience, the 2016 Mum of the Year winner, Nkechi Brayila said the trip was an eye-opener for the family as it afforded them the opportunity to see the world.
She said, "The experience was nice because that was my first time travelling out of the country. Before now, I had never travelled out of the country. The Dubai trip was my first time to go anywhere outside of Nigeria. When I got to the airport, people were still congratulating me. Even when I got to Dubai, they also congratulated me. My family and I went sightseeing around the city".
While commenting on the activities that took place after her emergence, Nkechi commended the management of Three Crowns Milk for providing another platform for all-round wellbeing. She described the experience as mind blowing even as she advised women to cultivate the habit of regular exercises and eating healthy.
She said, "Although it was rigorous, the excitement for me was mind blowing. I engaged in cardio dance sessions which contributed immensely to my physical wellbeing. I also had the privilege to become the face of the brand".
Like Nkechi, Oluwakemi Ojo, the 30-year-old mother of one, who emerged the 2017 Three Crowns Mum of The Year is already savoring the fun as she prepares to embark on the Dubai trip with members of her family.
As she prepares for the trip, Oluwakemi's joy knows no bounds, noting that the trip would provide new experiences. She says participating in the contest has created a wonderful experience for her.
Women focused campaign
As part of the strategies relied on to strengthen the power of the brand in the market, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria repositioned it early 2015 on the platform of "Healthy Mums, Happy Families"- a positioning that stemmed from the need for the brand to evolve into providing value experience and give consumers strong reasons to buy the brand. To analysts, the campaign was timely and strategic given the important place occupied by mothers in the family. As a major influencer, it is believed that getting the attention of women is as good as capturing the entire family.
From the conception of its thematic campaign 'Don't You Wish' and its re-positioning as 'The Healthy Choice' with the tagline 'Healthy Mums, Happy Families' analysts saw the move as a step that would take the brand far. Between last year and now, the campaign is said to have fortified the relationship between female consumers and Three Crowns Milk.
To push the campaign, the company had made a bold move to address an important social challenge -health. Knowing well that most times, the tasks of taking care of the family gives mothers no room to think of themselves and how to also take good care of their own health, FrieslandCampina WAMCO had quickly repositioned Three Crowns milk, as a brand that cares for mums so they can continue to take extra care of the family.
"Milk is an important part of our diet. We begin drinking it when we are young, but our intake decreases as we get older. Some people shy away from it because they fear that it will add too much fat to their diet. Others leave it out because they believe that they no longer need it. You are never too old to reap the rewards of drinking milk. It is a great source of vitamins and nutrients, and it has several health benefits, such as: glowing skin, healthy bones and teeth, muscles, weight loss, less stress and healthy body among others," the company had stated in a statement issued after the unveiling of the then new Three Crown milk in 380g and 30g powder form in Lagos last year.
Looking back, one can see the different between what is happening to the brand now compared to where it was coming from. The brand was last communicated in 2010 with no clear emotional benefit, a fading functional benefit of low cholesterol and zero presence in the powder milk sector.
The 'Don't you wish' campaign was launched along with the introduction of the Powder packs in February 2015. The new communication was hinged on the positioning "Healthy mums, happy families", positioning Three Crowns milk as a healthy choice because it contains low cholesterol which helps to keep the whole family fit and healthy. It has a great taste, contains vitamins and minerals to support daily growth and body maintenance.
From available records, handlers of Three Crowns Milk appear to be the first in Nigeria to acknowledge the role of mothers as care givers, believing that if mothers take care of themselves, they can take extra care of their families.