From the COVID-19 pandemic to Big Brother Nigeria, the #EndSars protests and beyond, 2020 has been quite an interesting year for the world of marketing and branding in Nigeria and Africa at large.
In this final blog post of the year and ranked in no particular order, here are 7 of the most iconic and memorable moments that have played a role in pushing marketing as a discipline forward in what has already been a historic year in Nigeria’s marketing space:
I can’t help but think that some people– many people, take sadistic delight in overextending themselves. Far too many people exist in the intersection between humble bragging about how much they work and running on fumes stretching themselves for all they are worth– piling on one responsibility after the other until even the things they do really well start to suffer.
Brands do this too.
A few days ago, I had a heated conversation with a friend.
The argument? Pitch fees or more simply, fees that advertising or creative agencies desire that clients pay as compensation for time spent developing creative concepts in a bid to acquire a project or account.
That debate filled me with curiosity: why are pitch fees such a contentious topic? does every agency that pitches for an account deserve to be paid for their time and efforts, even when they are unsuccessful? Or do clients not get any real value from these unsuccessful pitches and there is no actual business case to justify paying pitch fees?
To get a better sense of the answers, I asked four industry leaders in marketing (split across the client’s side and the agency) about their thoughts on pitch fees:
In October 2020, young people across Nigeria did something they had never done before. They came out in numbers to protest.
The protests were centered around brutality and extrajudicial killings by the Special anti robbery squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police force but also brought forth conversations around bad governance, rising unemployment, corruption and impunity.
People were speaking up, and they demanded that the brands they patronised joined them. While speaking up came naturally for a few brands bolstered by more radical leadership teams, for most brands, schooled in regulatory inspired conflict avoidance and the traditional public relations practice of avoiding issues with even a whiff of politics, the discomfort was palpable.
Last week, news broke about John Boyega stepping down as brand ambassador for fragrance company, Joe Malone London, after the company reshot and recast an advert he conceived, directed and starred in with a Chinese influencer for use in Asian markets.
While Nigerian Twitter had a good laugh over how the Nigerian in Boyega jumped out in the concluding part of his statement with the sentence “I don’t have time for nonsense,” across the world, public sentiment was split.
Shopping is my guilty pleasure. Very few things get me going like the thrill of discovering new places to eat, online vendors, bookstores, etc and being able to find the item(s) in their product line that serve me best.
Two days ago, I tried to get some brownies online and went scrolling through a baker’s Instagram feed only to discover that there were over a dozen variants. As I moved from option to option, analysing each flavour with its catchy color and deliciously sounding name, I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to try and ultimately ended up exiting the page without making a purchase.
As kids, we’re obsessed with fitting in. Our deepest fears are centred around being left out and we make behavioural, fashion and even lifestyle choices to gain the approval of our peers. This continues well into our teenage years no matter how many times we hear the words “just because your friends are doing it, does not mean you should too.”
And then as we approach adulthood, almost overnight, the script flips and the most backhanded compliment you can give an adult is implying that they’re not special.
I like to think that brands are like people. At inception brands are happy just for the chance to play in the category, fulfilling the same needs that the competition does. However, as they reach maturity, in an ideal world the best brands shed their “me-too” skins in pursuit of unique brand personas.
But a quick look across industries will show you that far too many brands are failing to grow out of “me-too” marketing. Colloquially termed ‘copycat’ marketing, the “me too” strategy is as big a problem for green horn brands as it is for even the most established brand names.
Getting the best out of your influencer marketing efforts
The surprise and delight strategy is burning a hole in your pocket and i’m here to tell you to stop.
In my early days as a strategist, I was obsessed with interrogating celebrity worship culture. Particularly celebrity worship culture fueled by controversy. It seemed asinine to me that the more problematic a public figure behaved, the more likely people were to tattoo their faces to visible body parts, scream uncontrollably and have complete meltdowns at the sight of them.
Can controversy be a tool for business growth?