Photograph — Emmanuel Olutokun

2018 saw brands tussle to keep up with rapidly growing consumer appetite and sporadic changes in the behaviour of the consumer.

In fact, one of the most distinct challenges posed with brand managers today is the ability to capture and retain consumer attention. Studies have shown that there is more information available today than it was 50 years ago, more information than one man can consume in a lifetime.

Consumer attention span is dropping while more contents are being produced, you will be in luck to have a consumer spend about 40-70 seconds consuming your communication whether online or offline.

In this, there’s an opportunity for brands to redefine their mode of engagement and take end to end ecosystem building more seriously. Consumers want to be led and tend to easily gravitate toward brands that understand their needs and is willing to achieve it across touchpoints. I see this as approaching the consumer’s ‘mumu button’.

Marketing has evolved from imposing to creating experiences that usher the consumer into a state that touches both the heart and the pocket. It is a blissful state where word of mouth becomes the most powerful medium.

Ecosystem Building

Attention is a currency millennials guard jealously but are willing to share with the smartest bidder. If your value proposition is strong enough to find expression across pillars of the consumer culture, then develop a brand property that meets with your consumer across touchpoints. Brands should leverage the opportunity to develop ownable assets that are consistent with the journey of their target audience.

Ownable platforms are sometimes capital intensive but it does far more good than a brand living in isolation. Brands have looked to sponsorships to offset the cost which is economical. The problem with that is the constant tussle for a share of voice and the restriction that comes with such sponsorship.

Ecosystem building involves developing authentic platforms that connect with your audience across levels bringing them to a point where your brand is seen as an extension of self. Creating assets consistent across movies, fashion, photography, music and more. It could be as little as a DIY Pop- up- store to a Pan Nigeria Tech fest

Nothing beats owned media

Social growth is good, and social investment is still very necessary but it is not a strong driver for brand love and increased favorability.

If social media were a physical location, it will be likened to EKO market where everyone is saying something but really no one is saying anything. Scratch that, there are some blogs that sometimes line up to two to three banner ads of competing brands. Staying above the clutter on digital requires a healthy integration of physical and innovative use of online channels.

Gulder Ultimate Search is perhaps one of the strongest brand properties I have seen in recent times. Its success was hinged on a localized story and the consumers desire to do more. It traversed beliefs and age groups. There’s still a demand for the revival of such GUS/ similar assets by Gulder though I don’t expect television to be the lead medium, that era is gone.

One of the benefits of owning a platform is that it drives deeper brand and product experiences. It builds a unique space in the mind of the consumer and gives them something to look forward too.

Brands like GTBank and Heineken are exploring the food and fashion space with the resultant effect being growth in brand preference. It’s a level playing field and there’s still dire need for brands to engage their audience along these lines.

Floating A Platform

Authenticity is key, the bandwagon effect does less good, create a genuine platform along select pillar that openly expresses the brand’s DNA and connects with the consumer.

Internationally acclaimed platforms like X-factor and The Voice have been tested in the market with little successes and possible consumer disinterestedness. True platforms with localized storytelling executed through the right medium will stand a chance in both capturing and retaining consumers.


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