12 months
By Nemi Ariweriokuma

Growing up I never understood the relevance of adverts. In my mind, they were just breaks interjected by television stations and I either switched the channel or hissed out of frustration. Even in my early adult years, I still didn‘t grasp why companies paid a huge chunk of money for adverts or editorial campaigns. The dialogues with my mind revolved around subtle disses like " these people just like wasting money". I guess that‘s what happens when you never truly understand the essence of some things in life.


Fast forward to my enlightened self, I began hearing the word branding and I must say I would shut down several attempts of people to make me see the light. The brighter picture of what I understood the aforementioned term to be included cards, company websites, letter headed papers etc. I guess at this point my new dismissing phrase was " it‘s never that serious", followed by an outburst of sarcastic laughter.

It is actually funny how change truly is the only constant thing in life and I‘m shocked that I actually now advocate for the importance of branding. You see everyone wants to be a millionaire or a successful company but not everyone understands that the key to this lies in simple facets of life such as branding.

If we were to talk about branding as a whole, it would probably take a decade to dissect all the spheres within it. So to cut this short how about we define branding in this case as the act of diverting time, effort and creativity into product packaging to further influence consumer behavior?

The human mind is built to love the finer things of life and if I were to spend my hard earned bucks on a piece of item, I guess I would appreciate if it looked a little inviting. That‘s the reason why companies spend a lot of money on adverts to educate, lure the mind and work on the psychology of consumers. I mean what‘s the first thing that comes to mind when you watch a Toyota advert? I usually get lost for words and I imagine myself in the cars.

Nigeria is in a time of recession and at such, consumers are diligently seeking for products that provide good value for their money. Shoppers are becoming less patient due to their busy life schedules and this evidently means that marketers have a small array of opportunities to influence the consumers buying decision. As a result, companies are adapting branding strategies such as product packaging as a means of wooing consumers.

A detailed shopper is what I may describe myself as and this could mean that when I am shopping for products, I often compare product price with its packaging first before other things. Once I was scrolling through liquors to gift a friend, I ended up making my final decision based on the bottle, it‘s intricate details and of course extra finishing touches such as its box and factory included ribbon.

There is a general "It is never that serious" mentality amongst people and this varies based on the geographical location, general business culture, national culture and other influencing variables. In this case, it is safe to say that branding particularly product packaging is becoming a serious thing to invest in based on the following reasons:

  • Product packaging represents your company‘s promise to provide quality to consumers.

  • According to Marketing Profs (2017), online consumers usually return back to purchase a product based on premium packaging. I.e. if the product arrived at their drop off location in a premium box that could be reused in future e.g. Luxury designer shoeboxes.

  • 30% of businesses worldwide received an increased amount of customers when they showed strong interest and improvement in their product packaging.

  • Consumers who purchase products in attractive packages are usually proud to show off their purchase on social media, thereby helping to promote the server company.

In 2009, in relation to how to become an asset to any company; I was advised to be the best and the world would seek me. That is to say, present the best- packaged product and your possibilities of being highly sought after would increase.

Product branding could be conveyed through the smallest effort- key word here being effort. Once a company makes an effort to improve that gives them a competitive advantage over their competitors. If these efforts are consistently applied on a daily basis, such a company is headed for success.

Nightclubs would always put up messages such as "WE ARE CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS" and again my ignorant mind would say "closed to do what Kwanu". After club renovations, I used to be among the set of people who would rush to see what new thing was added. The lightings, ceiling art, the new location of the bar- all these things fascinated me. But still I didn‘t get why a nightclub would close down for renovation. After having a back and forth dialogue with myself, I realized it may be an image uplift or an upgrade.

In simpler terms I think branding could be referred to as an upgrade. I mean you can‘t remain the same forever! You always need to strive for the next best thing. I personally don‘t appreciate people getting too comfortable in all ramifications of life. This means that a company doesn‘t need to wait till the need arises before improving their product.

It all makes sense to me now, why products like Chivita, Ribenna, Mtn etc. change elements of their products. I also now understand why clubs have annual renovations to give their clients a new vibe and sense of relaxation. This should also apply to personal lives because your lifestyle is equally your brand and there is no such thing as too many improvements. 

To end this, I would like to give my PNN lifestyle product packaging tip of the day for Made in Nigeria footwear companies.

  • Get durable shoeboxes.

  • Include reusable shoes bags that could be used to store the shoes when out of use.

  • Take your packaging one step ahead of your competitor and do something innovative. E.g. Add a shoe brush, shoe foam or a cleaning cloth with your company name inscribed on it. Do not be too obsessed with the ‘extra cost‘, this innovation would intrigue your customers and that is even more important!

If a Nigerian footwear brand offered me a complimentary shoe brush, personally, I would use the life out of that shoe brush out of excitement! If as a foot wear maker you genuinely feel the cost of adding inscribed brushes would eat too deep into your profit, you could get regular brushes at extremely cheap prices from wholesalers at your local market.

Making your product packaging unique doesn‘t have to be expensive to be creative and undeniably useful. You must bear in mind that the aim is to ensure that your packaging is able to increase the level of gratification derived from the consumers.

So tell me, do you still think "it is never that serious"?

(Laughs) I‘m sure we all know various answers to that now!

Until next time, keep in touch in the comment box below or via IG: @Styletrailer for any questions and/or more tips and tricks!