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Nigeria’s most enduring and iconic brands

In his book, How to Build an Enduring Brand Like a Boss, Christopher Jan Benitez noted: “If you want to build a successful business, you first have to build a strong brand. An awesome product at a competitive price is great and needed, but those two things alone won’t get you the sales you need to…

In his book, How to Build an Enduring Brand Like a Boss, Christopher Jan Benitez noted: “If you want to build a successful business, you first have to build a strong brand. An awesome product at a competitive price is great and needed, but those two things alone won’t get you the sales you need to be a profitable business for the long haul – but a strong brand will.”

Building a lasting brand has been the major challenge of business organisations in Nigeria, considering the highly competitive business environment in which they operate.

Invariably, brands have to transcend their products or services categories to become part of the popular culture. They must become iconic, by setting themselves apart from others and inspire an enduring affection among the populace.

In spite of palpable daunting challenges, there are brands that have shown tremendous leadership in their sectors, across corporate Nigeria, and have earned sufficient brand equity.

In this Special Diamond Jubilee Independence Anniversary Edition, The Guardian showcases some of Nigeria’s most enduring and iconic brands, viz: Mouka Limited, Fidson Healthcare PLC, CWG PLC and Credit Direct Limited.

CWG Plc heightens its Innovative Prowess as Nigeria clocks 60
As Nigeria approaches its 60 years of independence celebration, one of the enduring and iconic brands that have stood out and are consistently churning out groundbreaking innovations to drive the economy is CWG Plc, the country’s largest system integration company.

Chief Executive Officer, CWG Plc, Mr. Adewale Adeyipo

As part of its mission to enable business growth in the last 27 years of its existence, CWG Plc, with operations in three other African countries of Cameroun, Ghana and Uganda, has initiated and designed award-winning technology solutions. Little wonder the World Economic Forum (WEF) recognized CWG Plc as a Global Growth Company.

Some of such innovations worthy of mention are SMERP, an Enterprise Resource Planning Solution and BillsnPay, a bill presentment platform that runs on the cloud and offers SMEs the required tools to manage their entire business operations such as Point of Sale, Inventory and Accounting. These solutions are especially targeted at the Small and Medium Enterprises which contributes to about 50 percent of job creation and the economy.

Though CWG Plc has restructured itself into various sector-focused units in a bid to deliver improved products and services to its customers, the Pan-African ICT Company also has a lot of innovations for the public sector in its cabinet. The CWG Smart Utility solution, which is designed to automatically and remotely manage and reduce electricity consumption, readily comes to mind.

Other innovative solutions from the stable of CWG that have continued to add value both to its customer’s operation and the Nigerian economy in general, are Unified Corporative Platform, HealthExchange, Third Party Insurance System, E-Gaming and Finedge, a digital core banking solution.

Speaking recently at a media roundtable, the Chief Executive Officer, CWG Plc, Mr. Adewale Adeyipo, said what makes the difference between the CWG Plc and other companies since inception is its constant innovative excellence. 

“With over two decades of immense contribution to the Information and Communication Technology sector, CWG Plc has continuously remained a benchmark for excellence in Africa,” he said, assuring that “CWG Plc shall continue to deliver ICT solutions that will add value to our customer’s operation, meet and exceed our customer’s expectation and we shall deliver them right, the first time and all the time.”

Adewale, who took over as the company’s CEO two years ago added that CWG Plc believes in and pursues an excellent service culture, and delivers its operations through global best practices using its ISO9001 certification process across the whole group.

As a business enabler, CWG Plc prides itself in the provision of software services, cloud services, managed services, IT infrastructure services and capacity building, which has produced many entrepreneurs and many others working in blue-chip companies.

Credit Direct Limited (CDL)  – A hallmark of innovation, consistency, commitment, quality service delivery 

Credit Direct brand success story
The Credit Direct Brand speaks to our critical role as a reliable financial partner to every individual seeking to bridge financial gaps or meet a pressing financial need in the easiest and convenient way. Our brand promise is to bring “peace of mind” to everyone who comes in contact with the company, our brand, especially our customers, employees, shareholders, regulators, and stakeholders. 

The company commenced operations in 2007, bringing what was then a novel financial product to the market – “same day loan disbursement” – at a time when the average loan processing and disbursement turn-around time in the banking industry was between three weeks and four months. 

What seemed like a huge risk thirteen years ago has now become an industry-standard today. Our timing was right as the market was in dire need of such a product which enabled customers to meet emergency cash obligations, immediately such situations arose.

Quite a few factors have contributed to our success over the years. Among the most important factors is the trust our 1.5 million-plus customers have placed in us to help meet their financing needs, our high level of consistency in quality service delivery, and our resilient team who have continued to work tirelessly to serve thousands of customers every day in the most respectable and diligent manner to ensure we meet our brand promise to customers.

Unique attributes, target audience, selling propositions
Our brand has always served as a means to educate our target market on our corporate values and service offerings. In the financial market where service offerings are highly commoditized, we believe brand differentiation built on our uniqueness and honesty will be a winning strategy for us. Our strongest attributes include:

Consistency: Since 2007, we have remained consistent in our promise to deliver ‘same-day credit’ to customers and we have delivered to over ninety-nine per cent of our customers since inception. As an organization, we are fully aware of the needs and preferences of our customers as regards enjoying top-notch customer experience and we are fully committed to ensuring that every year we leverage technology to ensure that our loans are disbursed faster and repayment processes are made more convenient for customers whenever they need credit, irrespective of location. 

Credibility: The confidence you get from doing business with the best crop of professionals in the industry is what we pride ourselves in. With a team that evolves consistently to provide quality premium services to customers, CDL has distinguished itself in the industry winning over ten reputable awards internationally and locally. We are a member of the FCMB Group PLC – Nigeria’s first indigenous bank that has stood the test of time, still continually standing out.

Caring: Our mission is to enable peace of mind; this translates into how we treat our customers. Our DNA ensures we provide the best service to all customers. Our differentiating factor is basically that we do not discriminate, we serve same premium treatment no matter who you are, where you are from or where you have been.  Our word is our bond, keeping every promise given to customers and stakeholders.

CDL’s current significant strength, brand equity 
To a large extent, we believe that our brand features have earned us the brand equity we enjoy from customers. Our Customers are kings because we exist to tend to their financial needs. We have listened to them and continued to provide bespoke financial products to meet their needs. Our reliability, care and diligence have helped us earn top of mind awareness among our customers and target audience. 

As a company, we believe we just do not give loans; we give hope; we give life; we give happiness; we fulfil dreams and enable peace of mind. We have developed a system that ensures that our customers are never left behind or treated without care. We have built a trail of loyal customers that have enjoyed our services over the years because we are consistent. We have continued to evolve as a business and constantly meeting the needs of our customers and surpassing their expectations every single year.

CDL’s innovative approach, impacting the industry 
From a business perspective, we have developed a brand that communicates innovation and deep customer focus like no other company. We created this brand perception by innovatively changing the way loans are originated, process and disbursed to customers, replacing the traditional system with a faster, more convenient way of accessing finance that was intentionally created to be more favourable to customers. 

In the last thirteen years, not only have we seen many companies attempt to replicate our successes in ‘same day loan disbursements’, we have also seen many joined us on our ‘customer-focused’ journey – prioritizing our customer experience before corporate profits.

CDL Brand’s Iconic Status: certifications, awards, recognitions 
In the past five years we have received awards globally and locally from reputable institutions. While we are honoured by these awards, we are reminded that our greatest commendation is the simple referrals from one happy customer to another. Awards are great, but customer satisfaction is even better. In the last ten years, we have disbursed loans running into several billions of Naira simply based on referrals from one happy customer to many.

Fidson Healthcare PLC: A Brand Built on Innovation, Excellence, Passion, Integrity, Ownership
Fidson Healthcare PLC, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Nigeria has relentlessly pursued the goal of becoming a leading player in the nation’s pharmaceutical landscape. For years, Fidson has built and cultured an organizational framework that has steadily helped its ascendancy in the industry. 

Dr Fidelis Ayebae

More importantly, since inception, we have crafted the pharmaceutical architecture of the industry, playing very defining roles in the emergence of the new generation of industry players. Innovation, Excellence, Passion, Integrity and Ownership are five core values that form the sub-structure on which we have built a world-class company. We have earned the respect and admiration of even the fiercest competitors. 

Currently, we run a CGMP-compliant manufacturing facility as one of a few Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturers that are candidates for the WHO GMP Certification. Fidson collaborates with selected technical partners globally, most of whom are market leaders in their areas of specialization in order to deliver unique products and cost-effective services. 

We have left no stone unturned in ensuring that our operations go well together with the best of practices globally. Today, we are the largest employer of pharmacists in Nigeria outside government and one of the most respected healthcare companies.

Unique attributes and selling propositions
The tremendous and phenomenal growth of Fidson, without a doubt has been guided by providence and a team of young, passionate, dedicated, goal-driven personnel, seasoned managers, and a visionary management team driven by a passion for excellence and credibility.

Fidson offers its customers an extensive product range of its own branded generics. The company works closely with research institutions to continuously develop formulations and healthcare solutions. Recently, we entered into a partnership agreement with the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom to foster collaboration in R&D. Beyond R&D, with an opportunity for knowledge and resource sharing between both organisations, as well as training opportunities.

Fidson has positioned and prides itself as a local company with global standards producing quality pharmaceuticals that are comparable to other pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, globally. 

Fidson’s current significant strength, brand equity 
As part of our strategic initiative to harness the potential of the market, Fidson had completed its N10 billion investment in 2016 and began full operations in 2017. The plant is at the forefront of our growth strategy, built to consolidate our manufacturing capabilities, increase revenue and returns to shareholders, and ultimately reinforce our eminent position in the Nigerian market.

The new plant is one of the most sophisticated manufacturing facilities in West Africa and more than doubled the company’s previous capacity – enabling it to grow sales volume and meet the rising demand for quality medicines in Nigeria and beyond in the nearest future.

Innovation – Fidson Healthcare’s approach to impact Nigerian pharmaceutical industry 
The demand for quality and affordable healthcare solutions for this population puts great pressure on available resources – requiring continuous improvements and upgrades. Therefore, one of our strategic alliances aimed at supporting and fulfilling Fidson’s commitment to providing the Nigerian market with the most advanced healthcare solution is with OHARA Pharmaceuticals. 

The partnership with Ohara (a major player in the Asian pharmaceutical market) brings cutting edge technology and innovation through first class products and medical devices, expertise and knowledge capable of sustaining Fidson’s ascendency in the Pharma Industry.

The iconic status of the Fidson brand
Our consistent performance in the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector was recognised by Frost & Sullivan, who named FIDSON as the recipient of its ‘2014 Growth Excellence Leadership Award in the Nigerian Pharmaceutical Industry’, as well as 2018 Best Practice Award. Amongst other notable achievements recorded since existence are: International Standards Organisation’s ‘NIS ISO 9001:2000’ Certiication for Quality Management Systems (QMS), 2007; Financial Standard ‘Pharmaceutical Sector Leader’ Award, 2008; Commissioned Ultra-Modern Head Office, 2010, and many more.

Fidson has recorded many firsts in Nigeria. These include Fidson brand of anti-retrovirals called Virex in 2005 which was 100% formulated, manufactured in Nigeria and has successfully reduced the cost of anti-retrovirals by about 70%. Similarly, Proton Pump Inhibitors in 2002, with Fidson’s Meprasil brand in the treatment of gastro-ulcer conditions.

How innovation, new product development set Mouka apart from others by Murphy
An insight into the Mouka Foam brand success story
In 2019, Mouka Foam celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in Nigeria. Mouka has been an iconic brand, not only over just five or ten years, but as a household name in Nigeria for several decades. We undertake consumer market research speaking to consumers across the country’s six geo-political zones. They instantly say Mouka – it is more than a generic name. 

It is a tremendous compliment because regardless of location in Nigeria, the first brand that comes to mind when you mention foam or mattress is ‘Mouka’. Specifically, over the last five years with the prevailing tough economic landscape when consumers are planning to spend, they want to make a qualified decision on what brands they want to spend their hard-earned naira on.

Over the last five years, we have increased our marketing investment by 400% because of the need to consistently communicate with our loyal consumer base without resting on our laurels. We need to be telling them why they need a quality, durable, longer-lasting Mouka and the comfort it brings to them with warranty. Mouka is an iconic brand with an enduring legacy. 

Unique attributes and selling propositions
Mouka offers several unique attributes: possibly, the only mattress and sleek brand that covers Nigeria irrespective of the consumers’ locations. There is no need to travel far before one has a touch with a Mouka outlet which makes relatively easy for our consumers. Not all other foam brands can make same claim, we are the first truly national brand. That is a very unique attribute.

Secondly, from our overall products line-up, we are not just for the rich, the elite or the middle class. We are also for the mass market. Meaning that, it does not really matter what your income bracket or income status is, “There is a Mouka for Everyone”.

Having in mind that the consumers have less naira in their pockets, they need to make a value-adding decision by choosing a product that they know, trust and comfortable with, rather than the unknown local or foreign brands. Equally, we have brand offerings for the middle market and through innovation we have developed products for the top-end of the market, as well.

Most importantly, it is new product development that sets us apart from many others in the marketplace. While renovating and improving on what we currently have, with innovation we shall continue to bring new and interesting products into the market. Therefore, the reach and product offerings are Mouka’s two unique propositions. 

Mouka features – a push for significant strength, brand equity 
There are two key points to note on how and why Mouka has become the ‘foam of first choice’ in Nigeria – we speak to the consumers and we invest heavily in research. We talk to consumers on what their needs are and what they want from foams and mattresses. 

Equally, we are influenced by what is happening in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world – we blend that with what the consumers actually want and need. With the report from our R&D department, we have been able to put together cost-effective products.

It is that process of renovation that is keeping what we currently do modern, fresh, contemporary and interesting. Coupled with innovation, communicating frequently with our loyal consumers base keep us ahead of the game, and put the brand in their minds, decades after decades.

Mouka’s new offerings
Before now, Mouka has brought a number of new and exciting products into the Nigerian market. We have invested in the state-of-the-art spring assembly plants and successfully bring in a new state-of-the-art Mouka Mondeu spring mattress product to Nigeria.

However, as we moved into 2020 – a new decade, we introduced the new ‘Coco’ which is specifically designed for the mass market. Despite its very high quality, Coco is a competitively priced product. It is a typical Mouka Foam first-class quality, yet affordable to meet the needs of the mass market to ease the effects of current difficult economic time, where consumers are in most cases cash-strapped. 

In the middle end of the market, we have launched the Flora Premium brand which has damask. This is to satisfy our consumers who want a different type of fabric. Although, it is a middle mass market we have given it a premium quality with damask fabric. Similarly, we have two extremely exciting state-of-the-art products not currently available in Nigeria.

Mouka, a truly iconic brand 

One very significant thing about Mouka being an iconic brand is consumer orientation. Secondly, our three state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities engage in environmentally friendly operations in terms of health, safety and the environment. 

As a company, we are concerned about the front-end and the back-end, whereby everything we do demonstrates the iconic status. We are ISO certified – everything that goes in, through and out of our factories, are always underpinned by quality.  

Over the past couple of years, Mouka has been recogniSed by a number of leading sources. One of them was from the London Stock Exchange as one of the “Companies To inspire Africa”. 

Interestingly, Mouka is the only company to be recognised in two consecutive editions – 2017 and 2019. This demonstrates the fact that we are not only iconic in Nigeria but also internationally. It is an important call-out in terms of the equity of the Mouka brand.