By Tony Monye
It is quite clichéd to say just like buyer attention, marketplace calm is fleeting. The market is always in an ‘incomprehensible’ transition. Today’s predominating products may not get the needed traction in the market, just twenty-four hours later. The market’s audacious desire to drive its own evolution and, in many ways, its own survival, is both unbelievable and unimaginable. The marketplace is neither a comedy club nor an entertainment podium. Its corrosive realities elevate, sanction and kill corporate organisations, as they entrench and or enforce alignment to its ideals. For existential reasons, growth and dominance, corporations must reflect they are more than engaging in passing activities and be pliant to the market’s prevailing voices, for they are not white noise. For instance, a market reality right now is the geometric explosion of the ‘netizen’ population while the citizenship number does so at arithmetic propulsion. Corporations must trail this path.
The competition for space (and fortune), in many spheres, is at the heart of this redefining trait for corporations, big or small. In fact, in a thin market environment, like ours, where the big ticket transactions are few and far between, the competition landscape becomes even more dire and strangulating. Leader-corporations must, time and again, remain discerning and innovative just to get ahead of the curve. Strangely, the contrasting rewards of the market arena are hidden in its biting hullabaloo. The market hubbub pushes corporations along its sliding scale of fortune. It displaces yesterday’s innovation-resistant champion corporations in today’s very dynamic world while rewarding high market-trending organisations. To survive the ever-changing marketplace, corporations too must be emphatic as they morph in line with its hardest and subsisting realities.
It’s illusory to assume the market sometimes stagnates. Few years ago, products and commodities dominated the market-space. They, mildly put, have run out of steam. Their lethargic, non-differentiating, neighbourliness attributes did their heads in. The market is self-centred; it only lives for the market. Unfortunately, these traits are inimical to its growth and advancement, products and commodities had to give way. Products and commodities are soft, accommodating and humane in the battlefield of sales. Like broken tornadoes, their appeals weaken over time. They are steep in primordial senses; their differentiating power is quite weak. They comfortably coexist in the market space. To the consumer, they trigger excitement only in the ‘stomach’. But time moves. And, the taste of players and conditions of the market too change. Brands are here. Brands are imbued with the gap-enabling capacity to absorb the bite of competition; they are switched on to work with the pervading challenges of the ever-changing realities of the market environment. With their hostile, highly differentiating and value-adding attributes, brands enjoy high definitional clarity – they are the arrow-heads for market edge. They are aggressively taking up every inch of the shelf and competitive space. With the prevalence of more discerning and demanding consumers, today’s market environment isn’t for the meek brands. It is solely for the strong. With their readiness to say who they are, what they think and feel, strong brands represent this categorical offer. With their shade, silent but penetrative strengths, they beat up a dissimilar pathway, giving a bit more. Amongst others, they add psycho-social value to ‘mere’ consumption, which can tilt the scale of sales in their favour. They go for the mind and then walk up the promenade to the heart for pompous wallet-share. They easily understand they must compete or die.
Strong brands are unfriendly. They are bad-eyed neighbours to one another. The sight of a strong brand on the shelf oftentimes leads to full-blown panic attack for another for they do not clasp co-existence. In fact, the most important thing in the world to a brand is the death of its rival. A dominant brand in the marketplace smiles richly to the bank. Two leading brands so quickly engage in some ‘mild’ ping-pong. Beyond two, the market is at war, only the fittest heaves survival. In today’s Nigeria, brands are increasingly ubiquitous. They are across the major market segments, even in hitherto neglected arcs. Every brand worthy of its name must sip from this poisoned chalice called survival, as the average consumer is appearing weak to its allure and pull.
Like in all wars, brands must admit the high grounds are extremely crucial. They confer positional strengths. Corporate imagery and product/service accoutrements are quite relevant in brand building. Beyond them, platforms are strongly rising as the new emphasis – the new high ground. And, with them, the elite platforms are the single players in a class of their own. They are definitely going to come back with the ‘golden eggs’. Brand managers must emphasise elite platforms to win in an environment aptly described as fleeting. Elite platforms aren’t the nape to ride over competition. They are the throat, arguably the most important alley. Elite platforms can so easily inspire elite outcomes. They are quite firm and astute in market-shaping and reshaping qualities. Elite platforms are innovation-friendly, engaging; highly mutable, subtle, penetrating and, are imbued with all of the new-age merits, which are ‘can’t do without’ in today’s aggressive sales environment. They aren’t necessarily expensive. With their variable character, elite platforms can so easily elevate brands into the hermetic class that rewards with sacks and sacks of revenues. All-comer, non-differentiating, regular platforms have quite little baggage. They are the market’s backbenchers. Therefore, brand managers must pay attention to elite platforms; they quicken the attainment of brand objectives. They must suffer belief in the elite platform arguments. Otherwise, they will miss out on the new mojo.
Tony Monye, an economist, is managing @ Rham Durham Consulting Ltd. He can be reached at email@example.com
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