The Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector in Nigeria has become an easy prey for fakers and pirates. Everything is being faked, pirated or adulterated; not just luxury goods but even everyday items such as toothpaste, soaps, drugs, dairy and beauty products, toys and batteries, to mention a few.
Yoyo-Bitters Any brand with a good market share can be imitated within few weeks of its entry. Sometime many brands have been pushed into extinction, which is why brand owners are not taking the issue of product imitation lightly. Alomo Bitters, the multiple awards-winning medicinal herbal drink from the stables of Kasapreko Company Limited, is a good case study in Nigeria.

 Until four years ago when the Group Chairman and Managing Director of the company, Dr. Kwabena Adjei and his team decided to formally launch Alomo Bitters into the Nigerian market, some Nigerians who travelled to Ghana for either leisure or business were bringing the product into the country in their hand luggage. Over time due to its popularity, some traders began to bring in the product in large quantities.

Alomo Bitters footprint gained momentum with the opening of Kasapreko Company Nigeria Limited (KCNL), in Lagos and the official approval of the brand by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). These steps further resulted in building a wider community of brand loyalists among Nigerians who had yearned for something different from lager beer.

Through the combination of strategic marketing and communication initiatives, increased brand awareness, visibility and market leadership of the bitters category were achieved for Alomo Bitters within a short space of time. Between 2011 and 2012, Alomo Bitters reportedly accounted for around 80 percent of the bitters market share. Only few weeks ago, the Institute for Government Research Leadership Technology awarded Alomo Bitters the Medicinal Herbal Drink of the Year 2014 at its Africa Product Forum, in Abuja.

But all of these gains appear to be fading away fast as fakers have launched an attack on Alomo Bitters by churning out millions of bottles of the imitation version of the brand. The evil act has resulted in huge loss of market share and by extension loss in revenue.

In further commitment to the health and safety of Nigerian consumers and in order to deepen consumer knowledge of the brand, and also to reward their loyalty, makers of Alomo Bitters have rolled out an initiative that brings the brand closer to them during the year’s Christmas and New Year festivities.

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The marketing initiative is also intended to deepen consumer consciousness about their wellness and safety by encouraging them to make healthier choices in things they eat and drink amidst the euphoria of the yuletide.

To this end, a well-branded activation truck and a team of Brand Ambassadors have been deployed to strategic touchpoints in the city of Lagos to educate consumers on the safety features of Alomo Bitters as distinct from the imitated version and other bitter brands in the market.

For days, the ambassadors have been moving from social events to street carnivals and jams, market areas and neighbourhoods across the city of Lagos to drive the brand key message of Alomo Bitters as the ‘‘authentic African herbal bitters.’’

The ambassadors also distribute flyers, which contain vital product information. Radio hypes anchored by popular On Air Personalities and a television commercial that has been specifically produced, are also running on select city stations just to ensure the consumers are equipped with adequate information they need on Alomo Bitters, thereby safeguarding them from harmful imitated products in the market.

According to officials of the company, the rationale for the initiative is that as Nigerians shop and catch fun of yuletide, they could also be assisted in making healthy choices while they also get some incentives for their loyalty to the brand over the years.

Managing Director, Kasapreko Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kojo Nunoo, said the marketing initiative is part of steps to empower consumers to have access to genuine Alomo Bitters at all times against the backdrop of the criminal faking of the brand.

According to him, in the course of the campaign, brand differentiation and consumer education have been integrated to make more Nigerians informed about the features that distinguish Alomo Bitters from the imitated version and other substandard bitter products in the market.

‘‘Criminal faking of the original Alomo Bitters has been a major challenge we face in Nigeria. As a safety, health conscious, ethical and responsible corporate citizen, this bothers us a lot, hence this campaign is aimed at helping the consumers to know the things to look out for when buying Alomo Bitters,’’ he said.

While stressing that the campaign also affirms the company’s conviction in the time-honoured dictum that consumer is king, Nunoo said the safety and wellbeing of consumers are of utmost importance to the firm.

‘‘This is why we leverage the Christmas and New Year festivities to bring the flagship Alomo Bitters closer to the Nigerians, so they can know more about their favourite Alomo Bitters, made in Ghana by Kasapreko Company Limited. We are delighted to use the occasion of the year-end to also share love with Nigerians and to promote friendship, a key brand personality attribute of Alomo Bitters,’’ he declared.

Corroborating, the Sales and Marketing Director, Mr. Sam Osafo, said the consumer activation aligns with Kasapreko’s vision of care which flows in every sip of Alomo Bitters which people take. ‘‘This consumer contact programme re-assures lovers of bitter drink that any time they drink Alomo Bitters, they are not only drinking to enjoy; they are also drinking to stay healthy because of the medicinal qualities of Alomo Bitters,’’ he said.

The Marketing Manager, Mr. Peter Adegor, on his part explained that taking the brand right to the consumers where they are, is an important aspect of the wholesome qualitative process that goes into the production of Alomo Bitters.

According to him, ‘‘we ensure that the quality of our product is consistent from the point of sourcing the ingredients to the production stage and all through to packaging and delivery. The intent is that the consumers have the finest Alomo Bitters in their hands, hence this initiative to get the consumers well informed about the original Alomo Bitters is consistent with the quality assurance value chain that stands out our brand of bitters from others.’’

In order to deepen consumer experience during the weeklong activation, Adegor said free brand collaterals such as flyer, T-shirt, face cap and ball point pen among others were given out in addition to huge discount enjoyed by consumers at the point of purchase.

Adjei has recently denounced the faking of Alomo Bitters by unscrupulous cartel which has resulted in significant loss of market share and revenue. He called on relevant authorities in Nigeria to wade in.



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