NIGERIAN COMPANIES AND THE HERD MENTALITY

Philip Kotler, in his book, Marketing Management, posited that “all companies must look beyond their present situation and develop a long-term strategy to meet changing conditions in their industry. They must develop a game plan for achieving their long-run objectives.” He further opined that there is no one strategy that is optimal for all companies. Each company must determine what makes the most sense in the light of its position in the industry and its objectives, opportunities, and resources”.

This principle was applied by some notable companies in the United States and Japan in varying degrees to strengthen their operations as well as markets and hence improved revenue base. Companies like Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Uniroyal and Armstrong Rubber Co. in the US and Toyota in Japan applied this strategy to perfect their operations and products.

In the tire industry where all the major players adopted it, it was so used efficiently that each of the company got something and was, in a way, content retaining its distinct character and having to run to the other for assistance at any given time.

Here in our dear country, Nigeria, any thing and every thing runs on the herd mentality, This is why any strategy employed by company A to shore up its operations is automatically copied by company B irrespective of the differences in objective, resources and opportunities available to the two companies and to some extent, experience in their respective fields?

It is for the same reason that our telecom providers are all in the race to promote one event or the other usually in the entertainment sector that in a way alter and pollute our culture. No thought is given to the education sector by way of empowering the youths through scholarships as the oil companies do nor assisting with social projects that benefit the majority across economic strata.

During the re-capitalization efforts by banks, the stock market became the centre of attraction to all the banks. And they are yet to leave that market till date, not even the crisis in that pot of confusion is discouraging them, no. When it was the turn of the insurance sector to shore up their capital base; they too turned to the capital market for succor. The irony in this as it concerns the insurance companies is that the sector that is supposed to invest more in the capital market and in such other critical areas of our economy because of its potential to raise more money than other financial institutions, is the one begging for money. A direct opposite of what obtains in other climes is what our insurance sector represents here in Nigeria. Too bad.

By some slips arising from misconceptions or miss-application of strategy, our banks are increasingly finding it difficult to match reality with expectations. Rather than attempt a review of business plans and carry out some radical changes, marketing plans are being updated and probably are now made to replace business plans the result of which are the various panic measures being put in place to hunt for deposits even from school children as if that is what will give value and stability to their business.

While all these comedies are playing out, some of the banks are declaring mind boggling figures and mouth watering figures as profits, some as high as 98% over the previous year. And if we are to believe these fantastic performances it then becomes very difficult to reconcile the crazy hunt for deposits that now bothers on desperation. Worst still is the fact that daily, our highly performing banks are being accused of cheating their customers maybe to make up for the big profits declared.

Understandably, and in line with the bandwagon behavior, the new craze has shifted to the micro finance sector with virtually all the major banks falling over themselves to take vantage (?) position in that area. The obvious fact that that sector is also banking at the low level makes no meaning to the extent ‘deposit money’ will be sourced there.

While commending our banks for their innovation and ingenuity in what is gradually becoming a phenomenon in the way we do business in this country, it is better some good thought is given to carry out a review of operations based on reality. It will be a better strategy for each bank to look inward and turn its distinctive competence into its competitive advantage as IBTC used to be. Cutting an edge for your business will be a better strategy to this uniformity approach. Harassing people on the streets for deposits sends a signal that all is not well with our banks.

Can we be more creative in doing these things? Enough of these pretensions.

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DEMAND FOR NEW CARS HITS THE HIGH…INTENDING CAR OWNERS NOW ON WAITING LIST

Nigerians now seem to prefer new cars to used ones a FORTUNE&CLASS Weekly survey has shown. A snap survey conducted by the magazine’s correspondents across new cars dealers shows that there is a strong demand for new cars, especially, the Japanese and Korean brands.

Most intending buyers are now placed on waiting list. FORTUNE&CLASS correspondents explained that demand is now high that customers can’t just walk into a dealers shop to pay and drive off with a car. “It takes an average one month or more to get a car after a commitment to buy is made to the dealers.” One of our correspondents that conducted the survey said.

Three brand names are reported to be in high demand; Toyota, Kia and Hyundai. Giving reason for the demand pile up for these brands, a marketing manager with a popular Toyota sales outlet said the desire by Nigerians to acquire new vehicle may not be unconnected with the long term financing provided by banks.

“The five years vehicle repayment plan on a 10 per cent down payment being spearheaded by First Bank Plc has created a new demand push for new cars.” An official of a car dealership said.

The emerging preference for new cars is in sharp contrast to the choices of Nigerian car owners until three years ago when most intending vehicle buyers would rather buy second hand vehicles, this, in fact, gave impetus to the thriving ports in Benin Republic, Nigeria’s neighbouring country, from where the second hand cars known as Tokunbo are smuggled into Nigeria through bush paths and unmanned border points.

NCAM: A DAY OUT WITH AUTO SALES LEGENDS OF OUR TIME IN NIGERIA

Even though there is no business existence without its challenges, there is one particular line of business in this country that takes lots of guts and down to finger pushing to get it off the ground. It is even more stringent due to the saturation of the market, even though some players belief otherwise.

The business of auto dealing is one of the most lucrative businesses that is gaining attention in the Nigeria corporate terrain. Although most auto dealers try engaging in popular brands to boost sales and recuperate the investments in the short run, it still needs the ability of a good marketing team to devise creative strategies in getting even an unwilling customer to order for the whole company!

To this end, a forum on the happenings in the auto world, tagged National Conference on Automobile Marketing, where the legends in auto sales and marketing in Nigeria would be gathered to bare out their minds, and share their success stories with budding and up coming auto marketers.

The one day event, holding at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos on the 26th of November 2008, will feature a platform to chat with the big shots in the industry, interactive session and a paper lecture titled ‘the Magic of Volume Sales’.

The get together which commands the presence of the likes of Chief Michael Ade Ojo, Chairman, Toyota Nigeria Ltd; Chief Molade Okoya Thomas, Chairman, CFAO Group; Alhaji (Dr.) Sanni Dauda, Chairman, Peugeot Automobile Nig Limited; Chief Williams Anumudu, Chairman, Globe Motors, Dr.(Mrs) Diezani Allison-Madueke and Prof Bamidele Badejo to mention few, is primarily targeted at auto marketers, banks and insurance companies.

With full support from the federal and Lagos state governments, the event promises to be an epoch making one.