…Brands in Nigeria should not behave as if they are immune to the effects of the virus
Nigerian organisations and celebrities, between 1950s and 1990s, deeply joined to fight racial segregation otherwise known as Apartheid in South Africa. Freedom was finally achieved in 1994 after Nelson Mandela was freed on February 11, 1990. Afterwards, business relationship deepened between both countries.
Since then, Nigerian organisations, brands and celebrities have not in the same spirit and collectively joined to fight any global cause with such intensity and financial commitment. Coronavirus, which is causing the world to quake, presents such platform for Nigerian brands and celebrities to totally join in the fight to achieve freedom from the disease. They stand to gain later as consumption will continue without coronavirus restricting associations.
Unfortunately, as of today, the public is yet to see many organisations leading conversations on coronavirus and healthy living. A few of them in this fight are from the perspective of marketing their health brands.
It is heart-warming, therefore to hear Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) pledge N200million to support current effort of the Nigerian government towards curbing the spread of Coronavirus or Covid-19 in the country.
Other brands, celebrities and institutions are expected to unilaterally join in the conversations against the disease and healthy living to checkmate the global challenge to enhance free brands consumption.
According to a marketing professional, brands in Nigeria should not behave as if they are immune to the effects of the virus which is now threatening the world peace and economy.
In China, brands are being affected as consumers are staying at home.
Already, the disease is said to have cost the manufacturer of Corona beer by Anheuser-Busch In Bev, which owns some of the world’s largest alcohol brands £132 million, a development which is not clear whether consumers are avoiding the brand because of its name or because consumers are staying at home.
Restaurants and public eating places are being affected as consumers are avoiding such places to avoid contamination. Companies like Diageo with China as strong market are forecasting sales drop.
In Italy, football fans are also staying at home largely due to the disease discovered in December 2019 which experts say are large families of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as respiratory problems.
What this means is that the revenue that should have accrued from ticket sales would not come; the soft drinks that should have been sold at the stadium would no longer be sold, which means huge revenue losses to the manufacturers, and revenue that should have accrued to transport owners would also not come
Abroad, companies have joined in the fight against the disease. It is said that Alibaba has established $160 million fund for medical supplies; “Tencent and Baidu follow with commitment of $43.2 million each”
“Other major foreign brand donors include L’Oréal, Dell, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Shell, Procter & Gamble, Apple, and Estee Lauder. Brands are also providing supplies and in-kind support. For example, Nestle and several brands under its umbrella are providing $5.7 million in cash and products to Wuhan, focusing on bottled water, milk powder and nutritious cereals, while Yum Brands China, which operates the KFC and Pizza Hut chains in the country, is providing free meals to Wuhan hospital workers”, report monitored in ChinaFilmInsider website said.
“Top Chinese celebrities, almost all of whom play key roles in the country for international brands, have also been actively involved by making pledges, collecting supplies and sharing videos to express support for those in Wuhan and provide information on virus prevention measures”, the report said.
Back home, an anti-septic brand is said to have joined the fray to fight the disease by creating awareness about healthy living. But brands outside health sectors should join in the conversation and allow other product promotion messages and campaigns take backseat for now.
Latest situation report from the World Health Organisation shows 78,630 confirmed cases and 2,747 deaths in Wuhan, China where the case was first discovered. The disease is equally taking its toll in other countries. In the wake of this carnage, people are staying home. That means tons of businesses — especially less essential ones like bars and restaurants — are closed.
If there are massive cases of the disease in Nigeria, brands will be severely affected, hence they need to start sensitising consumers now to avoid the spread.
WHO says Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, and cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
World Health Organisation further said that standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
The time to fight the disease in Nigeria is now, by creating healthy living awareness and sensitising the citizens about it. Brands should key into this cause as doing otherwise would prove detrimental.