TITLE: BRAND BUILDING BY DIRECT CONTACT
AUTHOR: Joe Dada (Ph.D.)
COPYRIGHT: © Joe Dada 2018
Published and Printed by DanObish Creative Prints
BOOK REVIEWER: Mr. Ayo Oyoze Baje (Media Consultant)
The factors that mark out a book with the potential to becoming a bestseller, especially in the highly competitive Nigerian, nay global market include its uniqueness and the value it has come to add to the lives of the readers. And by extension the larger society, especially if it possesses the pragmatic features to fulfill the consumer’s ever increasing socio-economic needs at a time it becomes accessible to the target audience. With Acknowledgements, a Preface, Introduction and extensive Index, the well-laid out book with a captivating red and brown cover and bold caption in white letters commands instant appeal.
All these and more are applicable to the new book that goes with the title: ‘BRAND BUILDING BY DIRECT CONTACT’ written by Joe Dada(Ph.D.) a thoroughbred management professional with over three decades proven track record. He has traversed a wide spectrum from the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sub sector to agro-allied industries. He recently retired from Nigeria’s foremost conglomerate, UAC. There, he served on the Board in the executive capacity from 2010-2017.
Expectations are therefore, high that any record of his remarkable experience, as an astute manager of men and materials would be worth the while of the reader. Would that reader be satisfied? One has to go through the product of his creative ingenuity to provide answers to that important question.
Written with simplicity of language, thought-provoking and engaging format what it brings to the table is the crying need for business-minded individuals, industries and corporate organizations to understand the nitty-gritty of his brain-child, aptly captioned Direct Consumer Contact (DCC) concept in the marketing mix of products and services. Then, the questions arise.
How did the sellable idea come into being? What is it all about? What is its essence in today’s globalized knowledge economy? What positive impact would its application bring to bear on products and services? The answers are there for those willing to read and imbibe its model.
As reflected in the Preface, much of the literature available from Europe, America and Asia in the Nigerian market as well as most developing markets is still skewed in favour of developed markets. This invariably creates limitations that impede applicability for the marketing environment in Nigeria. This apparent gap resulted in the quest to develop an alternative model for brand building via Direct Consumer Contact (DCC) framework.
To shed more light on this, Chapter 1 provides the needed insight with the title:‘ Society, Business Organization and Marketing’. Looking at specific areas such as The Nexus, Evolution of Marketing and Periods in the Development of Marketing, the book explains that the ‘increasing emergence of corporate business organizations presupposes that there are millions of human needs that must be satisfied all over the world on a daily basis.’
This simply means that they will always produce goods and services to meet the gaps that exist. The aim of course, is to satisfy the human, animal, plant and organizational needs. Since no organization can serve the needs of the entire society, to be more efficient, it must select a target market in a way that would engender customer-satisfaction and long-term social benefits that are mutually beneficial.
The uniqueness of the products is what has eventually evolved to what is referred to as product identity or branding. This has necessitated that brands have to rise above the crest and hypes of traditional marketing mix elements to remain visible, relevant and rewarding to their respective organizations. Hence, bonding and cultivation of relationship with the consumer even in developed markets remain the sine qua non.
Nonetheless, there are inherent challenges for marketing and sales representatives to confront and resolve. These include volatility of the market, how to achieve set objectives and targets and the most cost-effective and result-oriented models to adopt. Others are; the use of marketing gimmicks that are the most appealing to the customer as well as the ones that will bring him/her value for the money and resources spent.
As clearly spelt out on page 31 of the eye-opening and enthralling book: ‘Managers are aware of competition and the ease with which consumers shift allegiance to other products, especially where there are different alternatives’. There is no gainsaying that organizations have to retool their strategies for consumer’s interest, transparency, ethics and discharge of social responsibility accordingly.
The book’s emphasis therefore, is that DCC takes the concept of integrated marketing beyond components of the marketing mix to the realm of experimental marketing and sustainable touch points. The salutary aim of course, is to engender strong brand recognition, association and eventually increased patronage.
It would do marketing practitioners a world of good if they not only adopt standard marketing mix elements but endeavour to take on new techniques relevant to their own environment. The import of this is for marketers in Nigeria and developing countries to understand and key into the principles and practice of DCC.
Good enough, it is a cost-effective option for product demonstration, promotional materials, price discount offers, media hyping, merchandising and personal selling. In addition, the concept also simplifies the tracking and the measurement of the money spent on promotional schemes. It also helps to tackle the challenge of how to effectively deploy promotional campaigns.
Furthermore, DCC addresses the other challenge faced by marketers and brand managers in their work which has to do with the ambition to achieve rapid brand awareness, increased sales and brand penetration amongst the target audience. The book, which first focuses on business and society, explains the DCC conceptual model that was reinforced by the eight-year case study for a fast moving consumer good(FMCG) for select markets in Nigeria.
Other chapters run through contemporary digital marketing issues hinged on customer information management, customer relationship management (CRM) and the environment of marketing. The concluding chapter probes into the future of marketing and DCC. Given the dynamics of marketing it is expected that the new technology and tools would still be developed with time to meet consumer changes, preferences, buying behavior shifts and socio-cultural orientations.
The kernel of where DCC ‘s relevance comes to play when one realizes that brand building is central to the profitability and long term survival of organizations. It has therefore, become imperative to ensure that these brands are regularly refreshed and rekindled. The piece of good news on this newly discovered DCC concept is that it is easily adaptable and replicable across a broad spectrum of products and services.
With specific reference to Nigeria, with a continually growing population estimated at 198 million in 2018, this book will continue to be of growing significance. This is because the country remains a huge ‘market for organized firms which have a strong marketing vision’. Given our limitations and peculiarities of infrastructural deficit, inadequate deployment of information and communication (ICT) technology and of course, socio-cultural diversity, the DCC model, with its cutting edge features remains the most feasible tool to reach prospective consumers in a developing economy.
The focus of Chapter 2 is the DCC Model .Since consumers are more likely to be endeared to a product when communication is open by a company or its marketers, DCC comes in as the shortest link between the manufacturer and the consumer. It keeps the middle men away, and saves valuable time and efforts spent in search of a product. It is a target approach with the innovative feature of a tinge of hospitality.
Emphasis on brand penetration is predicated on the Four cardinal principles of Brand Awareness, Brand Association, Brand Trial Purchase and Brand Repeat Purchase. As Professor Smith, an American Marketing expert who spent years of research in Nigeria rightly noted, involving the customer in the brand is a significant factor that helps to build brand penetration. DCC ‘s application should ultimately follow Keller’s three step approach of (a) conducting brand audits,(b) designing brand tracking audits and (c) establishing a brand equity system.
Selected industry cases that emphasize the importance of persistent promotions and involvement in Social Responsibility Projects are MTN(Telecoms market), Coca Cola(beverages and non-alcoholic drinks), Toyota (automobile market), detergents and toothpaste(consumer product market) and Shell( Oil and Gas market.
Nonetheless, DCC’s concept is built around the six pillars of product demonstration, deployment of promotional materials, price discount offers at the point of purchase, media hyping, merchandising and personal selling.
Other important areas the book looks at include traditional model of brand building, theme and scheme advertising, consumer contact theories as well as direct marketing. Though proponents of direct marketing hail it as being cost effective with maximum consumer reach and measurement accuracy, its critics warn against a narrow approach to its adoption and application.
The Case Study conducted right on the field to drive home the enduring message of DCC is encapsulated in Chapter 3. African Modest Mills(AMM), an agro-allied company with focus on the production of rich organic foods and the processing of high-quality grains into cereal meal and oil seeds into cooking oil , the latter which became the first Nigerian brand to be endorsed as heart-friendly was tested with the DCC model and it came out excellently! The scheme provided more opportunities for AMM to communicate and interact with consumers in open markets, shops and high density neighbourhoods.
On the other hand, the proportion of consumers who have not previously experienced the scheme, but are willing to purchase the products in future is comparatively less. Chapters 4 and 5 periscope issues such as ‘Branding: The Heart Of Marketing’ and ‘Customer Information Management (CIM) respectively. While Chapter Six touches on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Chapter 7 has an in-depth analysis of Environment of Marketing. Here, the emphasis is that organizations must monitor key macroeconomic forces as well as significant microeconomic factors. These are likely to affect their ability to earn profits.
Highlighted therein are the 4Ps (product, price, place and promotion) and 4C s( customer solution, customer cost, convenience and communication) of Marketing. Chapter 8 rounds off with the Emotions and Ethics of Marketing. This is important because, understanding the consumer and what motivates him or her buying decisions enables a brand to capture and sustain a greater market share.
In all of this, the questions of how to reach, convince and sustain the patronage of customers will continue to dominate debates amongst academics, brand managers, marketing professionals and several organizations.
The rich and robust presentation stands it out for its high content information, easy-to-read format, without highfalutin expressions or hyperbole. It also comes with bold letterings that breathe. Others include the use of illustrations including graphs, the significance of instances given that are apt, uniqueness and relevance to current needs and the wide spectrum of reference materials provided.
For subsequent editions, the author should consider the use of relevant photos, inclusion of interviews with some stakeholders and provide specific application to select areas of the economy.
There is no doubt that the DCC concept has come at the right time as a child of socio-economic necessity. I heartily recommend its full application to all sectors of the national economy-both public and private, industry players, universities, marketers and public relations practitioners. One should not rule out its relevance to patriotic politicians, who should use the DCC model to sell their people-friendly manifesto to the citizens, based on their most pressing needs.
It is a job well done and deserves both our patronage and commendation.
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