Godwin Anyebe of ConsumerAssembly, Adetunji Faleye of BrandImpact and Amechi Obiakpu of Espi News, all of MediaConsortium take a look at the dwindling market share of Bournvita in the beverage sector of the Fast-Moving Consumable Goods in Nigeria.
Bournvita, one of the most popular beverage brands from the production line of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, had in time past maintained the largest market share in the beverage sector of the Fast-Moving Consumable Goods. As a flagship brand of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, the brand was no doubt, one of the leading brands in the beverage segment of Nigerian market. It was a must have item in many homes.
Bournvita made its entrant into the Nigerian market in 1960. Following the establishment of a manufacturing plant by Cadbury in 1965, the firm spent funds on advertising Bournvita, and in the process increased the market share of the brand. Bournvita later became a market leader in its category. To improve nutritional needs, in 1994, the firm included essential vitamins and minerals in bournvita.
The brand not only enjoyed huge profitability and brand loyalty, it was also able to minimize its input costs by negotiating with suppliers.
The then brand custodians were able to build a brand that set the tone for the messaging of the benefits of their product, defined its ideal characteristics and eventually became a brand that is conflated with its offering.
Also, the deployment of innovative creativity and insight played huge role in making bournvita the then market leader and retaining that position for many years. Checks by the Intelligence Unit of MediaConsortium show that, the brand handlers invested heavily in market research to facilitate product development such that its offering was novel enough to attract a substantial percentage of the consumer base.
Sadly, investigation by MediaConsortium, an amalgam of brands and marketing analysts across different markets in the country revealed that bournvita is crawling in the market. Reason being that the brand is hardly on the faces of consumers.
Our findings also revealed that, apart from the display of bournvita in shops, there are hardly presence of the bournvita brand to indicate it’s seriousness about wrestling the chunk of the country’s market share. The situation has made consumers and store owners complained bitterly about the performance of the brand in the market.
For instance, a store owner in Dopemu Market, Lagos State, Eze, who runs Eze store said, the dominance of Cadbury’s bournvita was in 2015/2016. But, at present other more aggressive competitors have since overtaken the brand. He blamed this on the inability of the managers to reposition and work effectively on the brand.
“Compared to some of its competitors, the price of bournvita is relatively fair however, patronage is still low and I hope that managers of the brand can emulate some of the action of it’s competition to reposition the bournvita brand,” he said.
For Jude, another store owner, the quality is not in doubt, but the price of the brand may have to be looked into. He said the small sachet is experiencing good patronages. But the same may not be said of the higher grammage.
Corroborating jude’s position, Chidera Emeka, owners of Chidera Store in Doland area of Heritage Estate, Akute, Ogun State said it is not as if bournvita is not selling but consumers buy milo more than bournvita. For instance he said, “if I buy cartons of milo and bournvita, I do sell milo faster than bournvita, and the reason for that is because Nigerians generally like sweet things. Milo is sweeter than bournvita, and I think this is the reason why people go for milo.”
However, Adewale Michaels, the chief executive of High-speed Experiential Marketing said every brand has its own marketing strategy. According to him, because Cadbury’s bournvita brand is not adorning billboards and advertising space does not mean the managers do not have its tailored marketing plan for the brand.
“I feel that, they are operating the B2B2C plan by adopting the neighbourhood strategy where they ensure the products get to every neighbourhood traders like the small kiosk owners and retailers who then sell to final consumers,” he added.
He further noted, “we all operate from different neighborhood and if our neighborhoods are targeted then the plan is that we all are the target which is a clear way of reaching consumers directly.”
Another shop owner in Wuse Market, Abuja who does not want his name mentioned said, bournvita brand is truly struggling in the market, adding that, there was a time the brand was doing very well, but present happenings shows that all is not well with brand.
Continuing, he stressed that the texture of the brand which does not easily dissolve in water could be a factor because other brands with better texture have emanated and have taken over a considerable share of the market.
For Inusa Sambo, a shop owner in Mararaba market in Nasarawa State, a suburb of Abuja, “the sales of bournvita has abysmally dropped compare to how it used to be in the past, adding that, the owners of the brand must deploy exceptional marketing strategies to regain market leadership.
Speaking on the texture of the product, he pointed out that, though, the ones in sachet have good texture, but the Bournvita grains require smashing into submission in water without which the grains would float on the surface, distorting the composition and taste of the drink.
Other consumers who spoke to our correspondent said it is a matter of preference and taste. Mrs. Kehinde Oluokun who resides in Akute area of Ogun State said granulated beverages have been their favourite for years in her family. She added that she buys them for the family consumption which is very easy to prepare either with cold or warm water.
Also, Mrs Romoke Adejumo a resident of Ojodu -Berger in Lagos State said other brands have been the favourite of her children. She explained that she used to take bournvita when she was with her parents some years past but, her taste changed when she realized that her children like other brands more than bournvita. The same goes for Mrs Mary Tokunbo who is a resident of Ofada in Ogun State. For her, buying the granulated brand for the family is what delight her children. She said she could not imagine buying any other one apart from that.
How to bounce back
Interestingly, MediaConsortium learnt that the brand is in rebuilding process according to an insider. However, what is clear is that the brand custodians must remain on top of their game by following market trends and periodically collect consumer feedback to reclaim its position as a market leader. They should also use the information to focus on improving customer service and supporting the product offering.
There is also need to use the information to enhance the product’s attributes in order to offer improved variants to the market. This will enable the brand to remain relevant while catering to a diverse set of consumers.
In today’s market, any marketer who wants to increase the market share of her brand must cast its net wide to cover children whose preferences dictate the taste of their parents.
They should also make sure that they capture the Generation Z to stand the chance of increasing their leadership in their space. This group is the most racially, ethnically, and sexually diverse generation in history and matures into a unique and powerful consumer bloc, brands hoping to win over Gen Zers must understand how they grew up, what they believe in, and what makes them tick.
Further findings by MediaConsortium show that many consumers prefer other brand because they are sweet, granulated and very fast to dissolve in both cold and warm water. From the opinions of many consumers, it will be preferable if bournvita can also be in granulated form to enable consumers drink it with cold water as quickly as they like.
Also, there is need for Cadbury and its marketing team to increase marketing budget for the brand in order to constantly refresh the memory of consumers about bournvita. For instance, Coca-Cola remains one of the biggest organizations that is spending heavily on Coke brand just to make it stay in the memory of the consumers. Not only Coca-Cola, many other brands are spending heavily on marketing through sports sponsorship or advertisement to promote the image of their products and continue to stay relevant in their space. What bournvita which used to be the favourite in every family with its advertisement on both TV, radio and the pages of newspapers needs at this moment is an aggressive and creative advertisements (marketing) through these channels and the digital space to stand the chance of recapturing the market share from the competition.