Just like every other part of the world, there has been an increase in the number of entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Entrepreneurs who discover new markets or try to enter already existing markets. One thing disturbs these entrepreneurs, Nigerians perception of the Made in Nigeria products.
This doesn’t undermine the challenges from the poor and irregular power supply; poor road network and other challenges one faces doing business in Nigeria. But, what happens when the products are ready? Are people willing to buy? Aren’t people scared of getting inferior products? Or brands reneging on their promises? The Made in Nigeria products are largely perceived as inferior.
To a lot of people, once a product is Made in Nigeria, then, there is a problem. But, this is far from the truth. For years, some Nigeria brands have been able to satisfy their customers. Regardless, of this perception.
For someone who interviews entrepreneurs, I get asked how much I can trust some of these Nigeria brands and Made in Nigeria products. So, I made it a point to always ask these entrepreneurs how people’s perception of Made in Nigeria products affects their brands. And then, what could be done to change people’s perception. And, that’s asides me trying to offer testimonials.
From the interviews I have done recently, I collate some of the entrepreneur’s answers to the questions above. If you are an entrepreneur reading this, feel free to share your own experience with your target customers in the comments section. And as a buyer, share your experience with Nigeria brands and Made in Nigeria products.
Below, are some of the answers to the question, “How does people’s perception of the Made in Nigeria products affect your brand?”
“Yes! But frankly speaking, people have not had issues buying our products because it’s the pioneer and substitutes do not exist. We have made our products better than what you will seek to buy outside Nigeria. In terms of quality, quantity and price.” Olivia Onyemaobi, CEO, Pad-up Creations, a Nigeria brand that produces reusable sanitary wares.
“Not bad at all. Made in Nigeria doesn’t automatically translate to bad or poor quality. People just want value for their money. ZTEA bears the proudly Nigerian logo. Yet, most people find it hard to believe it’s a Made in Nigeria brand. If you do a good job and market it to the right audience, your product will be well appreciated. For instance, look at our fashion industry, I think it’s doing awesomely well. Most celebs and even the Abuja big men are now adorning Nigerian labels with so much pride.” Phranklin Alli, CEO, ZTEA, makers of the zobo Teabags.
“Well, a lot of Nigerians still believe that Made in Nigeria products are not good enough. So, sometimes, I still need to persuade and encourage prospective clients to give Made in Nigeria products a shot. In my own case, I simply encourage them to go Bespoke.” Simi Teds, Creative Director, Teds Bespoke, a fast-rising fashion brand.
“Yes, sometimes this creates a big problem in the sense that they seem to devalue the products, and hence underprice them. Even before they get to know what you have to offer. Made In Nigeria to them connotes poor quality, but I intend to change that ideology.” Charles Okafor, CEO, Charles Lifestyle, a 21yo shoemaker.
“When we started, customers refused to make down payment or pay before delivery for their shoes. They wanted to be sure we could deliver on our brand promise.” Chidinma Miriamjess Chukwuemeka, the co-founder, The Footwear Academy, a Shoemaking academy and a shoe brand.
To the question, “How can the people’s perception of Made in Nigeria brands be changed?”; these are some of the answers.
“Correcting this impression should be a collective effort because it is like an infection. Where we believe that white is better than black. We cannot continue saying negative things about Nigeria and expect Nigeria to be better. I think everyone can be the best in what they do and that can also be a better conviction without much marketing and advertising. A good product they say sells itself.” Olivia Onyemaobi
“A lot of campaigns are already going into changing the mindset. Most importantly – Businesses in Nigeria should focus on delivering high-quality service and satisfying the customer every time.” Chidinma Miriamjess Chukwuemeka
“I think like entrepreneurs, we should keep doing our best, proving them wrong. Work on packaging, people value products with good package and then improve quality too.” Ogechukwu Marycynthia, CEO, Mary Cynthia’s Concept, an organic skincare brand.
What do you say? What is your perception of Nigeria brands and Made in Nigeria products? What experiences have you had selling your products as a Nigerian brand? Share with us.