Ufomba: Nigerian Beer Market is Promising

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Manufacturing Sector and Challenges
Overall, the sector has grown encouragingly. However, business has been slow in some industries in the FMCG sector. But at the moment, many companies are looking for better ways of connecting with consumers. Having said this, there are still more that the players can do whether at the ‘Below the Line’ level or ‘Above the Line’ level to further connect the market. At our end, what we have been doing in recent time, especially if one considers the Snapp lunch, Flying with Eagles Campaign, and the recent concert were all tailored towards such approach and they have remained global case studies.
In the beer sector, the business has been good, except for the slight drop in the purchasing power of drinkers, which is as a result of a little bit of harsh economy. Another challenge, which I think affects all business owners; either the service providers or manufacturers are the infrastructural deficiencies battling us in all fronts. But if one judges by what is happening at the moment, I think the beer market is promising.
Reason for New Look
It is a known fact in the market that Guinness Extra Stout is the number one beer brand in Nigeria and the entire Africa. According to the recent report, Nigeria has over 25 million beer drinkers and with about 100 per cent awareness drive of Guinness brand in the market, it is obvious that the brand takes the highest share of the entire drinkers. I say this because what the awareness drive of our brand indicates is that there is nobody who has reached the lager beer drink age that doesn’t know about brand Guinness.
However, if there is anything we have not done in recent time, it is to refresh the brand and give consumers a new expression. With what we have just done, we have successfully come out with a fantastic look to refresh the brand and position it for new and existing consumers. The new label is in line with the corporate trend of the brand and in line with what consumers want, at least drinkers around the age of 25 and above.
The new look gives an exciting experience with the dark bottle reflecting the quality of its contents. The metallic gold foil crowning the bottle simply makes it a drink for every golden moment. The distinctive appearance of the label reflects more of what Guinness Foreign Extra Stout offers. We simply changed our appearance to have more style, more soul and more substance. Of course, it clearly shows the signature of Arthur Guinness. Arthur was the originator of the brand and with this; we are simply saying we have not shifted from his dream of launching into the market a product for generations. If you look at it, it looks more trendy, inviting and sophisticated.
Deviation from the Norm
Yes, it was deliberate. It was done in a unique way to connect with consumers across the market segment. Aside traditional advertising support, it was showcased very conspicuously on the social media. Before then, a build up to the launch came through a teaser; ‘Have you been Tagged?…Colourful World Of More. Then the supper concert that heralded it; it was unique and exciting.  All these were done to carry our patrons along and I think we achieved our objectives. In a way, we are telling Nigerians that we are not just selling a bottle or liquid but we are selling a life style.
We are selling a product that aligns with consumers’ life style, class and personality. The import of the tagging style is a consumer language. For instance, if a stylish Nigerian wants to invite his or her friend to party, it will come through tagging and this we have done too to move along with our consumers. The whole idea was that if you had been tagged, then you were cool enough to attend our show. Two weeks before then, we opened a website and invited Nigerians to come there and indicate that they have been tagged to witness the concert.
As a lifestyle, Guinness must represent your choice of music, aspiration and personality. With such outing, we were simply calling on guys to celebrate the new look and the great future ahead. Again, our decision to make use of local artists was deliberate. By my record, since 2002 the country’s music industry has virtually been taken over by home grown stars. With the concert therefore, we have succeeded in putting together the mother of all shows by Nigerians for Nigerians.
Brand Strength and Durability
The first thing is obviously the personality of the brand; its properties, which have remained sacrosanct over the years. It doesn’t change. For instance, the liquid is excitingly bitter and generations of consumers had enjoyed it that way. It’s dark, unique and the texture is ever appealing, which makes Nigerians in particular to love it. Aside this, people have unbridled access to it. Above all, the fact that is daily inspiring people to greatness makes it a cherished brand any day. Go back to memory lane; our investment in football has remained inspiring. Either in the beverage sector, or across the FMCG, we are clearly different in our passion to promote football in Nigeria. That for me is adding to entertainment value of Nigerians.
Assurance on Product Content
Before I go to details, let me first say that consumers can be rest assured of the same world class quality and content inside the bottle. Nothing has changed in the content; still the same unique taste and texture. However, what we have done is a complete repackaging, which only affects the physical components that we can see. Look at the boldness of Arthur Guinness signature and the bold golden label, which in my view connects very well with our consumers. It also shows the heritage and originality of the brand. Now, what we have in the market is charismatic and attractive, just like the charismatic dress and look of an average Guinness’ consumer. Another thing we want to achieve with the new package is to protect the quality of the brand, which is now well sealed. In a way, this has also gone towards repositioning the brand as an appealing drink to consumers that have taste for uniqueness and quality.
World of More Campaign
World of more is our company’s claim for brand Guinness and we have been using it for awhile. Let’s start with the brand characteristic. Guinness is a leading beer brand in Africa and a unique black drink that appeal to all segments of the market. A quick look at the taste, texture and colour clearly differentiates Guinness from any product in the market.  In terms of how we connect with sponsorship, we are also clearly different. Now, when one looks at our investment in Sports and other activities, it is also miles apart. Therefore, our claim for the brand cannot be by accident but a true representation of what it stands for.
Experience Sharing
I have been in Guinness now in the last 16 months. Deliberately, I don’t want to call it a year because the extra four months have been full of activities and we cannot lump it up with that first year. And in fact a lot will still happen in the next two months. First of all, I can’t imagine any other marketing job I could be doing at the moment apart from Guinness. That tells me I have the right job and in the best place to work. Why are my saying so; there are few companies in this country that can confidently say in this market that they have full blown beverage organisation. At Guinness, we have larger, we have stout and we have ready to drink and very soon, we will enter the soft drink market. Look at Snapp for instance, the first wholly female alcoholic beverage drink which we launched last year and has since remained a success all through. We are a trail blazer in the spirit market with Jonnie Walker, we have Baileys and we have Smirnoff. In the last 16 months, we have continuously given our existing brands good support in the market and we have equally explored other markets. And within the lager beer market, the profile and sales volume of Harp has moved up encouragingly.
Plan for the Future
In the stout category, we are clearly the number one. Moving forward, we want to distinguish ourselves as that unique brand that cannot be matched by any rival brand. We want to remain the leading grown brand within the stout and beer category. The new label launch is the first step to show that difference and uniqueness. Look at the guy who is 25 or 26 years old today, it is not what they want five years ago that they will like now. We must be seeing to be growing with our consumers in their aspirations for a more fulfilling life style.
We understand this segment of the market, which we often refer to as ‘generation wise’. We are also growing with the adult consumers to tell them that we are still in tune with their expectations. We want to have a better conversation with both the existing consumers and the new ones. That will clearly show us as the fantastic growing brand. In the larger category, where we have Harp, the brand has done fantastic job in the last five years. Conveniently, Harp has grown very well in the years under review.
In that category, we are clearly number two but in the next three years, I’m saying this with confidence that we will grow to be number one. Very soon, we will roll out the activations that will finally take us to that position. In the market today, there is obviously no larger brand that speaks to the younger generation except Harp. Like in the automobile industry, where brands are daily evolving to communicate with the younger generation, we believe beer too should aspire to speak to that generation. And the best way to do this is to have the right conversation with the targeted consumers.
In the RTD market, we are also at the top of the market ladder. The last year lunch of Snapp and its subsequent success is a good example and we will not relent our effort to maintain the tempo. In the spirit market, Jonnie Walker is undoubtedly the number one brand.  However, we have not maximise the success of Jonnie Walker in this market and we are plunking into that right away. Let me quickly add that before the end of this month, we will roll out something big in the whisky category to make a core positioning statement on the potential of the brand.
We have started with Baileys, in the last six months, we refreshed the label, we refreshed the entire package and we unveil a new campaign to support it. Through the activities, we connected the brand more with its core female segment of the market. In summary, our target for the future is to be the business of choice and preferred brand to all our targeted segment of the market.
FAA Warns Airlines of GE Engine Icing Problems
The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday required US airlines to inspect General Electric engines on Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 aircraft that experience icing problems, which could lead to loss of thrust.
Reuters reported that FAA also required airlines to prohibit pilots from flying into high-altitude, icy weather conditions. The decision to issue an airworthiness directive had been expected.
The agency said that in certain kinds of high-altitude thunderstorms, ice crystals entered and damaged the engines, causing temporary loss of thrust, or in some cases increased vibration with no loss of thrust. The problems affected nine flights, and in two cases involving 747-8s it affected two of four engines.
The FAA said its concern was that "unrecoverable thrust loss" on multiple engines "could lead to a forced landing."
General Electric noted that there had been no unrecoverable thrust loss in any of the nine incidents.
The directive is effective immediately and requires airlines to inspect General Electric GEnx engines if the "engine thrust" indicator appears in flight.
The FAA said its order only applies to 14 aircraft operated by US airlines. Foreign aviation regulators typically follow the FAA's lead.
Last Friday, Boeing and GE said they had alerted airlines about the risk of engine icing and the loss of thrust that could result, and were working with them to resolve it.
Boeing and GE had said there were six incidents in which icing occurred, but the FAA's higher tally included three incidents in which the engines "experienced a vibration during the ice-crystal storms, but didn't lose any thrust," GE Aviation spokesman Rick Kennedy said.
The issues occurred with GEnx-2B engines on Boeing 747-8 passenger and 747-8F freighter planes. It also occurred on GEnx-1B engines on 787-8s.
Japan Airlines has said it is replacing 787s on two routes because of the problem.
United Airlines, the only US carrier currently flying the 787, said it was not making changes because of the issue.
Atlas Air, which flies 747-8F freighters in the US, said it was alerted to the problem by Boeing on November 14, and had already taken steps to avoid the weather condition. It expected only minimal impact on Atlas and its customers, spokeswoman Bonnie Rodney said.
GE said it has a software fix and will put it into effect early next year.
The regulator has not called the engines defective, and that the situation occurs only when "encountering weather conditions at 40,000 feet for which the engines were not tested at certification," Kennedy said.
"We had encountered a similar situation with our CF6 engine in the 1990s and early 2000s, and we successfully resolved the issue with a modification to the control system," he added.
In those earlier incidents, the FAA said, temporary loss of thrust occurred when the engine throttle level was changed, or when a flight was descending.
The latest incidents happened at cruise altitude and in icing weather conditions that are invisible to radar and unknown to the pilots. The events "caused permanent damage" to part of the engine, the FAA said.
The FAA said five of the nine incidents involved 747s, and the rest were with 787s.
Three of the 747 incidents did not involve loss of thrust, but "at least one engine showed elevated vibrations" while the aircraft was flying in bad weather.
After the plane left the storm, the engines ran normally for the rest of the flight, the FAA said.
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