When the very popular bitter alcoholic drink got into Nigeria, it was well accepted but few years down the line, it has lost its relevance as many things got wrong.
Written by Alex Zqwan Yesufu
It’s funny that a brand once regarded by few as a special gift from God to men, has suddenly lost its mojo. Maybe it’s a ‘me factor’, but suggestions clearly indicate that Alomo Bitters has lost its grip on the market it once dominated. Although brands like Oroki and Ogidiga were launched into the market, they never really threatened until Orijin was introduced by Guinness Nigeria.
Below are eight mistakes that led to their failure in the Nigerian market in barely a year:
1. Positioning as a brand for the hoi polloi
If there is one thing that kills such brands, is the fact that the target audience are extremely unfaithful. What they care about mostly is which brand gives satisfaction at the cheaper cost, and which has the newest offering. They always want to test something new. Orijin made sure this was taken care of by offering a brand even the premium customers are happy to associate with, as well as affordable for the general public.
2. Complacency as a market leader
As a foreign brand (it is manufactured in Ghana), I believe the least that could have been done was to ensure there was a continuous marketing strategy to ensure it sustained ‘top of mind awareness’.
After successfully creating an emotional bond with its audience, Alomo decided to relax on its activities and completely lost this connection in the process to Orijin. Incidentally, Origin has not relented on its marketing since it began to dominate the market. Though I’m not an Orijin faithful, but I must say kudos to them for this.
3. Not providing varieties for consumers
I am unquestionably not the only one who likes to make choices. Many brands all over the world have comprehended that having varieties of a particular product helps them win the hearts of a lot more.
New brands in the beverage market tend to launch into the market with varieties, while the older ones are beginning to add some ‘swag’ to their products. If Alomo bitters had come up earlier with varieties of flavour, I’m certain they would have given their consumers a lot more satisfaction.
Despite a huge level of comfort in the market, non-alcoholic brand, Fanta, realized it was imperative to produce an apple-flavoured drink that will compete with the likes of Lacasera. Maltina on the other hand, perceived that consumers were getting so comfortable with buying drinks in PET bottles, and decided to go same route.
4. Overdue Re-branding
For brands who engage in rebranding, the idea is to present loyal customers with a feel of an improvement in the product, and at the same time, win new customers. With fake products infiltrating the market, the least that could have been done, four years after entering the market, was to re-brand with better security features to prevent fakery, and maintain customers’ confidence.
Yes, they finally tried that this year, but I am sorry that was too late.
5. Employing an agency with little experience in PR/Marketing of an alcoholic beverage
In a situation of crisis, and the strong desire to compete with brands like Orijin, Ogidiga, Kerewa, amongst others, I would have expected the brand to engage the services of a more experienced PR/Marketing firm.
A firm in the realms of the top three agencies would have been appropriate. Although I’m certain the retainer fee was a huge deciding factor, something a brand like Alomo should have ignored and rather focused more on the positive outcome to be enjoyed.
6. Poor media engagements
Until I visited the Kasapreko brewery in Ghana, I had the impression of a cheaply brewed drink. The million dollar brewery is actually one of the largest in Ghana. This is an information that should have been well communicated in the media, through the engagement of a reputable PR firm.
There were terrible comments in the media about the brand more than a year ago. Talks about fakery and it being harmful for consumption, and yet there was no proper response from the stakeholders to these claims, leaving many feeling insecure and gradually losing confidence in the brand.
7. Neglecting quality
Of course, the consumers are aware that it’s a blend of herbs, but that doesn’t prevent it from being properly filtered and brewed to perfection. Just from its taste, Orijin consumers are guaranteed of a ‘premium drink’ so to speak.
Alomo being more popular for its supposed sexual enhancement and patronized by the Class D citizens, resulted in less concern by the producers for improvement in quality.
8. Signing on a less active brand ambassador
When their direct competitor was signing on an artist like Reminisce, Alomo thought it wise to sign on a literally weak act like Gandoki. This was definitely the idea of the PR/Marketing agency, and one of my many reasons why they should never have been.
This might sound very harsh on Alomo, but a smart team would pick themselves up and re-establish their presence before new brands like Ace Roots completely knocks them off.
Alex Zqwan Yesufu is Business Development Manager at one of Nigeria’s leading PR firms. Originally a statistician, he has over the years accumulated vast skills in Business Planning and Development. Alex carries out the huge task of developing profitable business concepts and ensuring they become reality. His drive is to ensure every project he works on is capable of yielding maximum Return on Investment (ROI).