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Building heritage brands for long-term, sustainable businesses

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Head of Marketing Services, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Nwando Ajene; Head of Business Development (EMEA), Michael Lawal; Pundi X; Brand Manager, Mitsubishi Motors Nigeria, Funmi Abiola; Editor-in-Chief, Aspire Luxury magazine, Bella Ikeme; Unit Head, Strategic Communications, Corporate Communication & Marketing, Union Bank Plc, Omotola Oyebanjo and Head, Corporate Communications & CSR, Oando Plc, Alero Balogun at the 101-year anniversary of Mitsubishi in Lagos

Creating a heritage brand in Nigeria is tedious affair, as it involves a deliberate effort to connect with people in a manner that allows them form an emotional connection to the brands that transcend generations.

It is less about how long a company has been in existence but more about their established track record of meeting needs, exceeding expectations, and consistently delivering on their core premise from generation to generation.

To this end, a panel of brand managers recently discussed the best approach to building a heritage brand and ways to differentiate the brands in an increasingly crowded market to create long-term sustainable competitive advantage.

The brands include Mitsubishi Motors, Oando Plc, Nestle and Union Bank Plc, who all have over 60 years presence in the market.

The event took place in Lagos at the instance of 101-year anniversary of Mitsubishi.

Oando Plc, Nigeria’s indigenous oil and gas energy solutions provider, led conversations where it’s Head of Corporate Communications, Alero Balogun, spoke extensively on her experience working with the brand, and how creating a world class brand was imperative.

“A bold spirit, leadership and being proudly African form our brand essence and these traits are evident in all our marketing communication endeavours.

We see ourselves as more than players in the energy sector.

Bearing in mind the challenging terrain we operate in, we see ourselves as solution providers.

We are focused on proffering innovative solutions that address the nation and ultimately Africa’s energy needs, and our brand essence and values have been instrumental in our success.

This same spirit forms an integral part of our brand storytelling and other marketing communication efforts.”

According to her, the brand’s proudly Nigerian roots have been seamlessly included in its story to create a proudly indigenous and African brand that has now become a national treasure, which has also changed the international narrative about Nigeria and Africa.

Also, Head of Marketing Services at Nestlé Nigeria, Nwando Ajene, said, “We are clear on our target market and how we communicate with them.

When we worked on our new Maggi product ‘Naija Pot’, we went to local markets and restaurants and conducted focus groups and surveys to create a product that was authentically Nigerian.

We also believe in collaborative efforts and leaving an open dialogue between the market and ourselves. What do people need?

How are they using our products? By asking ourselves these questions internally, we are constantly aligning ourselves with the customer and remaining relevant.”

 
While speaking on the importance of rebranding to stay relevant in a dynamic market, Head, Strategic Communication, Union Bank, Omotola Oyebanjo, said, “Our decision to rebrand a few years ago was based on the fact that our brand is over 100 years old.

We decided that in order to appeal to the new age of banking customers we had to bring ourselves into a new and improved modern aesthetic.

Never get too comfortable and understand that there is and will always be a generational gap.”

Balogun further said that through the development of policies and processes, the brand has remained strong and consistent in its marketing communications, adding, “It ensures that our brand essence and values are not diluted with the inflow of new people.

Instead, they are tasked with improving what has been done whilst remaining true to our brand spirit.”


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