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How culture cuts a piece to hand ‘Trophy Larger’ to consumers


The beer segment in the Nigerian alcoholic beverage market has been projected to record significant growths this year following an expected improvement in the economy to be driven by increased spending power of the people ahead of the 2019 elections.

But as analysts make projections on what is likely going to be a boom year for the brands, most people are likely not going to be talking about positioning statements and other marketing activities that have been responsible for growth especially against the background of the economic recession that the country is emerging from. That some of these brands, a few years ago were off the shelves of many stores is also something of significance. Many of the brands, most especially in the beer category, were in the throes of virtual extinction.

In southwest Nigeria, for instance, one such beer brand is Trophy, which is the most popular among the local people and held on to for years until demand patterns shifted and adversely affected regional brands across the country. In the time past, Trophy as a brand, though occupying an identifiable niche in the regional value beer segment, was struggling and efforts by International Breweries Plc to raise the brand didn’t quite achieve much until SABMiller took over and tasked a new agency to be in-charge of its management.

Before this time, the successes around the brand’s credentials could be traced to Lagos, the country’s former capital which has remained the trend setter in music, fashion and lifestyle and the brand cuts a hole in the sprawling bustling city is sure to reach the rest of the country and with much more ease.

No one really knows what AbInBev, the global brewing behemoth that bought SABMiller (the former owners of the brand) wants to do to spin the brand Skywards. Although the former marketing Manager, Kunle Ogidi, insists among other things that product reformulation and superior brewing excellence were reasons the brand became a beer of choice for many, it is a known fact that most times, especially for consumers in this segment, certain other emotions tend to decide and determine brand preferences.

In 2012, the brand had begun the journey that has significantly raised its credentials in the market with the adoption of the vastly aspirational nickname, “Honourable.” The idea was to raise the emotional value of the brand among its core C-to-D market segment, creating a feel-good aspirational emotion around the brand.

Ogidi said this emotional benefit was designed to reinforce the rational values the brand already possessed, although most people will think the emotional side became a stronger proposition than the rational.Driving this overwhelming success became the lot of Yomi Benson and his brand “Babalawos” at Culture Communications and it was here that the idea of infusing cultural elements as a means of upping the Trophy drinking culture was cooked and served.

Yomi Benson and his team apparently had read through the Yoruba culture and folklore and reasoned that connecting to the core of the people’s value systems of honouring their icons and emulating those who stand out could become a pillar, which the brand could stand. This according to him was the reason the moniker; “Honourable” was adopted for the brand. It became so strong that consumers started calling the brand honorable, and that was why we had to infuse into the label. For Culture communications, consumers determine the path our brands take.

“The idea was to ensure that when consumers sit in their bars and at parties that the South West enjoy organizing frequently, there is for each person, a trophy conferring status, weaving strong emotional attachment to their persons as individuals. ‘We knew that the title “Honourable” is used to describe respected members of the society and community; first among equals and the leader of any social group. So we felt this is one aspiration everyone should connect with and have something they could take home with each bottle of the brand they take,” he stated.

Culture Communications also knew that for the brand to stand, its roots will have to be deepened in Lagos where the diversity of the population will afford it the potential for growth from a regional pretender to a regional force and possibly national mainstream.

Culture Communications has ample experience of other brands at its disposal to reinforce its confidence. Eagle Larger, Grand malt, Castle Milk Stout are just a few in the beer and beverage category. Trophy’s sister brand, Hero lager beer was, at birth, a beer designed for the South East market.

However, fate combined with faith to move the brand into Lagos where it took root to challenge other brands and grow to become a national mainstream brand. According to the creative Director at Culture Akin Akingbola “when you see your brand being consumed lavishly at Ikoyi Club in Lagos (one of the most affluent clubs in Nigeria) then you know the brand has broken the ceiling.”

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Trophy Larger
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