Nigeria: Marketing Lessons of Covid-19

22 July 2021

2020 was considered not too good for new businesses to enter any market but despite the odds, a few brands, including Amber Energy Drink took the risk and weathered the storm. Raheem Akingbolu takes a look at the circumstances that helped the brand to survive the turbulence.

In the last 14 months, many businesses have faced unique and difficult challenges in the face of new regulations and social distancing constraints. As a result of this ugly circumstance, many existing businesses have closed or are operating with reduced capacity through effective use of cashless and digital payments.

Globally, brand owners recognise the strain this is placing on businesses as storefronts are seeing lower foot traffic or closing temporarily. To cushion the effect, many merchants quickly adapted business models that support customers online as well as using other measures to maintain physical distance while keeping their businesses running.

It is therefore unimaginable that a new brand may choose such a period to launch into a new market. That was exactly what the management of Amber Energy Drinks Ltd did in 2020. They entered Nigeria's market with a bang when many experts had predicted that new businesses could not survive the heat.

Beyond COVID-19 and the lockdown that followed, the Amber brand from the stable of the company had more challenges to contend with but its promoters damned the consequences. First, the energy drink market was almost saturated. Another challenge is the fact that there were existing brands that had become household names at the time of Amber's arrival. Of course, not a few market watchers predicted that it would be an effort in futility but the promoters moved on. One year later, the brand has not only survived the heat but beaten competitions to it.

The question today is; how did the brand and its promoters make it? General Manager of Amber Energy Drinks Ltd, Ms. Titilola Adedeji while responding to this, simply captured it in two sentences. "The management of Amber Energy Drinks Ltd believed in the market and were sure of the quality of what they were bringing. They plugged in with confidence and arrays of innovative ideas and strategies that would empower trade partners and connect consumers,"

According to Adedeji, the joy of the handlers of the brand is not only because it's succeeding in the market but satisfaction it has given to trade partners and the consumers.

Loking back, one can simply conclude that the brand has actually sailed through bravery and boldness to dare the lions in their dens and seized the market from the grip of the oldies. No wonder, its promoters can now possibly state that the mustard seed planted a year ago has grown in equity and relevance.

Like every business venture, the company came in with brand promises. It is believed that it has started fulfilling the promises and proving its essence as it continues to stimulate the energy in all Nigerians. As an enduring brand, Amber has continued to gain market traction and set an agenda.

The brand presence is beginning to be felt across the country as its promoters spread their tentacles through the states of the Nigerian Federation with the care and concern for the brand's teeming consumers.

Perhaps the first major step that ease the journey was that Amber started connecting with the consumers by activating the market long abandoned due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its vicious imports and percussions in untimely deaths, suffering, hunger, anger and isolation.

After activating the market, the team went on a social charity binge by innovating Free BRT Bus Ride for millions of Lagosians and commuters just emerging from the pains and pangs of the pandemic.

To consolidate the inroads the brand is currently making, the management just re-assured stakeholders with the latest campaign- 'Amber Dey For You' which has continued to resonate with the target audience even as they relish the high premium quality the brand offers on their palate.

Observers have concluded that it is a bonding that has a beginning but may never have an end as the brand remains a legacy brand and a trustee of posterity.

As part of efforts to push the brand further, the company had earlier launched an empowerment programme aimed at improving the standards of living of several thousands of Nigerian citizens in becoming self-employed and financially independent.

Through the initiative, the company has succeeded in creating a huge number of entrepreneurs popularly called Amber-ssadors who now own their own in the Nigerian enterprises sector.

Then when everybody thought the brand had seen it all, its manufacturers again launched a web-based game called "Amber Rush" that seeks to entertain, relieve and reward its teeming consumers as part of activities marking its one year anniversary in the Nigerian energy drinks market.

The game, which was formally unveiled recently, is a major driver of the brand's one year anniversary aimed at creating awareness, arousing interest while inciting more consumers purchase and also further bonding with the key target audience.

Commenting on the new innovation, Adedeji, said the game is a representation of what Amber stands for which includes stimulating the energy in consumers and tapping into the company's TGs active lifestyle, social connections, and digital convenience.

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