All we needed to knock out St Louis Sugar was for one of our politicians who mismanaged us into recession was to open up a sugar processing factory and create cube sugars in a durable and stylish gloss polythene pack of 5 cubes and then call it Sugar Daddy!
The good news about this recession is that it will create the kind of hunger that will wake up all brain dead businessmen. Someone who runs a supermarket just broke the news that St Louis sugar now has competition. Now, we are talking. But before now, how did we get to that point where no one is packaging catfish in peppered sauce like Geisha and Titus Sardines. St Louis, after over 30 years of consistent presence in the Nigerian market without a single change in brand packaging or advertising, they wouldn’t even put a manufacturer’s address on the pack and still we bought. We made normal look supernatural. We made people like St Louis Sugar go to sleep in a cash bullion van, laying on billions. Wake up business men, there’s opportunities everywhere.
I rarely tweet, but on it, I’ve seen people ask “With No advert, No pack change, No promos. How can that sugar maintain market leadership unchallenged for almost 30 year’. The answer is that we don’t have to be technical about it. Business men were just sleeping. St Louis was just lucky it came when real entrepreneurs cared less to go head to head because infrastructures for industries had been taken over by churches and ballot boxes. Religion and politics became too lucrative for the best minds, so it killed business, through death by corruption.
There’s really nothing to use as a good case study in a business class with St Louis sugar. There was really nothing spectacular about their strategy than absence of competition and a good distribution network that kept it in our household till it gained a permanent mind-share. To think of it, they had bad paper packaging that melted once water spills on it (to think that it is always on the breakfast table alongside hot water and milk, or in the fridge), they never even made 20 Naira vesions in sachet to aid affordability of the emerging singles and middle/lower class.The name wasn’t even catchy. #SMH. It was just one of those outliers at some point we knew they had to die. The 21st century enterprise death will be powered by deafness to feedback.. don’t be one of them.. #TroubleShootThursday #HBC
Kodak in 1998 sold over 70 percent of all photo films in the world. They literally invented that technology. Today, they are as good as dead. Blackberry and Nokia invented the technology for smart phones. But today they are both on their way out. The problem is not technology. It’s not technology that kills brands, it’s the lack of innovation from feedback that does. Jik bleach used to be one of the most popular brand names for years in Nigeria. And then Hypo bleach knocked out Jik bleach from being the market leader in the Nigerian market by making cheaper units in sachet as against the large bottles that Jik used to make. This was innovative as the largest chunks of Nigerians are low income earners that will rather buy the sachets for their laundry, innovation.
I believe that the key to winning competition lies in innovation. I personally believe that Coca Cola in Nigeria once introduced the Diet Coke as a healthier option in perception to distract the market as an attempt to knockout Pepsi, Fanta Lemon to knock out Limca, The Sprite campaign to knock out 7Up. And even Eva water in the early parts of this century rebranded with a slicker bottle and seal of quality assurance to knockout the likes of the less innovative Ragolis Spring Water who by then had an easy to break plastic bottle which by the psychology of Nigerian consumers was a defect (we love to reuse our bottles).
Innovation involves being open to everything and attached to nothing because it breeds change. As a person in business, try as much as possible not to be rigid to decisions, information, packaging, plans or time. Know when to evolve. Know when to say YES or NO, or be silent. Know when to unlearn, relearn, undo, think and even out think your initial thoughts else they become cliched and old fashioned.
In the words of Vadim Kotelnikov, “Average ones compete with others. Great ones compete with themselves”. Always be better than you were.
In Greek mythology, the phoenix bird, burns things, its enemies and then to become better, it burns itself!
The highest battle is to win yourself. Conquer your laws and the world will be easy. Life and business is a challenge and not a competition. Its a subtle war, the market is the battlefield, your product is the weapon and the enemy isn’t always the competitor, you are
By the way, I’d be on radio this evening on radio continental between 6PM and 7PM to discuss Personal and Brand Effectiveness in the Marketplace. Tune in to Radio Continental 102.3FM or listen live on http://rc1023.fm/
I’d see you in class or refer someone.
Saturday, 24th September (Port Harcourt)
Saturday, 8th October (Abuja)
Saturday, 15th October (Lagos)
N60,000 Also, group/corporate bookings are available at a discount.
Call 08090490777, 08035202891
We are Hexavia!
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