Features/ Opinions

Between customer satisfaction and brand affinity

By Amechi Obiakpu

As the purchasing power of consumers continue to shrivel in the face of rising cost of goods and services of everyday use, many consumers have begun to reconsider their brand affinity in favour of survival.

For them, this development is apt considering the lingering economic situation in the country which seem to be biting harder by the day- leaving behind surging prices of products and services beyond the reach of the average consumers.

Constant lamentations trail every visit to the market as consumers and visitors alike bemoan rising cost of varied products on a daily. To get by, some consumers have had to check through prices of products across different brands to be able to make up their mind on their purchases.  


Marketing experts believe that the current economic realities call for ingenious survival strategies at both ends – managers of brands and customer. And, one of the ‘survival strategies’ adopted by many consumers is to ditch loyalty to particular brand in favour of brands with lesser cost implication.

A Lagos based trader; Stella Okoro told MediaConsortium that at present she does not have affinity to any particular brand only affordable brands at any given time. She noted that since the economic hardship she has had to ditch the consumption of certain products irrespective of the brand name to only cheaper products that satisfy her daily need.

Like Okoro, many consumers have also adopted this strategy as a way to get by even as they pray for an end to the lingering crisis.

Experts say, as it is with consumers so is it with brand owners who are currently confronted with myriad challenges including rising cost of production, shrinking sales, huge overhead bills and low patronage.

Expert opinion

Since, consumers are the reason behind brand existence, the experts however called on brand managers to adopt pocket friendly measures that will help to retain customer loyalty.

In his response to MediaConsortium, Group Executive Director at Omnicom Media Group, Yinka Adebayo said the current economic realities call for ingenious survival strategies at both ends – Managers of brands and customer.

According to him, with shrinking disposable income, there must be a compelling for any brand to enjoy a share of the pockets at this point as most customers are overly price-sensitive at this point.

“For brands to survive they need to be responsive by playing the price war in a way that guarantees their survival and also shows concerns for the customers. It’s also important for brands to appeal strong to emotions as a great deal of buying decisions are influenced more by emotional rather than rational consideration. Brands that have been playing well in the emotional space before now stands a good chance of survival at this point.

“Suffice to add that out of sight is not only out of mind, it is also out of pocket now. The need to maintain a minimal threshold of visibility is key to keep your Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA) within reasonable level,” he said.

On his part, Timothy Ogundele, Head, Marketing Checkers Africa said brands will have to look at adding value to customers especially at this present time.  

“I feel that for brands to retain their consumers in a challenging economy like this, is going to be hard- except if they cut or retain their price point. The thing is you have to add value, possibly reduce your mark-up by adding value maybe by promos, BOGOF, and other activities that will entice the consumers. Because for consumer, an economy like this is very hard to exercise brand loyalty.

“Even myself as a consumer, I have had to basically change brand at 4-5 times or 6-7 items because I had to go for something cheaper. This is because if I am not making more money and things are costing more, I have to find a way to survive, by ditching brand loyalty and switch,” he pointed.

Public Relations professional and brand strategist, Ikem Okuhu, pointed that, during a period like this nobody is interested in brand loyalty because the purchasing power has shriveled and people look for means to get by the day rather than loyalty.

“Consumers, faced with these begin to reprioritise by shedding the demands for certain categories of non-essential goods. Demand for luxury items are most affected and other lifestyle utilities are also taken down the scales of preference. This is a period when you also witness the flight to value-for-money brands as businesses also respond by recreating their pack sizes to be able to accommodate the lean purses of consumers.

PR specialist and Chief Executive at Absolute PR, Akonte Ekini,sayscustomer satisfaction should drive product formulations. He charged brands “to wear some high level thinking cap and do product segmentation for different market in line with pricing strategy”.

According to him, in the long run there will be adaptation to packaging based on consumer buying powers. So, brands should repack to meet the growing challenges.

In his submission,Edward Israel-Ayide, Head of Communication and Strategy at Carpe Diem Solutions said brand loyalty is always impacted by economic realities.  

“If you are not able to afford a brand you look for alternatives in the market. Unfortunately, that is the reality. And one of the way out for some of the brands is to consider sachetization which also help to create value packs, create more cost friendly variant so they don’t lose their customers. It is a valid concern that I think brand managers/owners face as the economy becomes tighter for consumers to buy goods and services,” he concluded.

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