by Remon Geyser (@remongeyser) In Nigeria, as in other African countries, storytelling is an age-old tradition that is being used successfully for many brands and in many campaigns. Two examples are Infinix Mobility’s #TheHottestOne and the play “London Life, Lagos Living”, based upon Bobo Omotayo’s book of the same name.
Globally, storytelling is a trend that is as important now as it was hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago, although the platforms have changed drastically. Entertainment engages audiences and, in order to entertain people, brands need to tell them stories they understand and can relate to. This refers not only to humour but to creating an emotional connection that draws people in and keeps them connected to the brand or product. This is true across the board for FMCG, automotive, financial and other brands and, if we consider how the story is told, we can begin to unpack what makes a campaign trendy.
Entertainment in advertising
One such Nigerian campaign uncovered by our creative professionals was the launch of #TheHottestOne, an online contest created by Infinix Mobility in Nigeria, which centred upon finding young, talented Nigerians and following their success. Here, Infinix Mobility focused on creating new stories in a way that was entertaining to those who would be following it. If we consider the success of TV shows such as Idols and America’s Got Talent, it is easy to imagine that #TheHottestOne should be able to create a following by telling a similar story.
The Infinix Mobility campaign worked on the simple premise that potential participants could upload short videos or images depicting their talents to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #TheHottestOne. By doing so, they could become active participants in the campaign, and gain social currency by sharing the competition on social media with their friends.
Our professionals have determined that, in a country saturated with advertising, it is difficult to break through the clutter and tell a story, even if it is a story people would enjoy. By focusing upon a younger audience and engaging them, the brand was able to allow those involved in the campaign to tell their own story, rather than dictating a story based on its products.
Our panel has found the campaign’s message to be well-communicated and, rather than talk at consumers, the brand created a platform that allowed its target audience to interact and have a conversation with the brand, with each other, and with the country as a whole. Additional interactions were created using social media and activations, both of which amplified consumer voices and allowed them to be a part of the campaign, even in a small way. The decision to allow its target market to become actively involved in a campaign was a move made based on the brand’s strategy.
The brand is one that believes in being close to consumers to gain an in-depth understanding of what it wants, with the goal of giving consumers real value based upon their needs.
So how does entertainment meet consumer value? According to our creative professionals, the brand’s decision to create a campaign based on entertainment shows a real understanding of the market as a whole. The talented youth of the country had, until the launch of the campaign, not been given the opportunity to showcase their talents and, because the brand saw the value in giving them a chance, it provided a chance for entertainment for those involved, and for those who saw those talents revealed on digital platforms. This created two target market touchpoints for the brand: participants and observers.
Entertainment on stage and social media
Though not an advertising campaign, London Life, Lagos Living is a stage production based on a book about Nigerians living in London and then returning to Lagos, a topic some residents in the country can relate to.
It created a small following because of its social media presence, which allowed the target audience to get involved in the entertainment before the show even opened, and our panel indicates that Nigerians, especially Lagosians, love and appreciate good entertainment. Using social media wisely to reveal parts of the story created more opportunities for entertainment. It was also able to expand its reach and create more interest by posting regular pictures and videos of rehearsals, as well as stories about the play and the rehearsal process.
While our creative professionals found the play to be only 50% successful, it saw more success than it might have if the social media campaign had not been used. The posts on social media allowed for the play coordinators to create interest in it among its target audience, and gave the target audience the opportunity to share their passion with others in their social media circles, but theatre is not something many people are interested in.
Did the play’s social media endeavours do a good job? Yes. Could they have done more? Possibly, if they had found a way to target those who would not necessarily fall into their traditional target audience.
Our panel’s knowledge of the Nigerian landscape has revealed the need for entertainment in this country, but the campaigns showcased here, though entertaining for some, did not amuse everyone. It seems that entertainment through storytelling is about telling a different story to different people in a different way.
The real brand success stories seem to have stemmed from being able to entertain a wide target audience in the simplest way, as exemplified by Infinix Mobility. This is not an easy move to make but the key to making it work is finding the “human truth”. Focusing on this allows advertisers and marketers to understand what people want, and then to create an entertaining story based on that which people are more likely to relate to.
Advice for international brands
- Tap into the untapped — our panel states that the market of untapped talent in Nigeria is large, but there are many markets out there that have the potential to grow exponentially, if promoted in the right way.
- Promote the story on multiple platforms — in the case of London Life, Lagos Living, the choice to promote theatre on social media created more opportunities for audiences to engage. Though this campaign was only 50% successful, according to our panel, there may have been more success if more media platforms were covered.
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Remon Geyser (@remongeyser) is a burger fanatic, wine connoisseur and eSports enthusiast (yes, a fancy term for playing computer games). He is also the research lead for Springleap, heading up a new global creative research division while obscurely attempting a PhD. Springleap provides instant creative expert feedback to rock marketing ROI. Remon contributes the new weekly “Talk Africa” column, covering Pan-African trends, on MarkLives.com.
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