By Jeremiah Agada
Emergence Of The New King Of Diapers
The MOLFIX diaper brand made a grand entrance into the Nigerian market the same month the MuhammaduBuhari-led administration was inaugurated into office. At that time, the business environment was still lying comatose as many brands had adopted what the current AAAN President, Ikechi Odigbo, had called the ‘wait and see’ posture. It was also a period in which Nigeria stood at the very brink of recession, before eventually sliding into one of the worst economic downturns in the country, with the FMCG segment-where the MOLFIX brand plays, most affected.
Prior to its entrance, the diaper market in Nigeria was saturated with over fifteen brands jostling for the share of the market, with the biggest being P&G’s Pampers, a brand that made its entry into the Nigerian market 15 years prior, in 2000 specifically. It controlled the most market share in the country from then till last year when it was displaced. So strong was the Pampers brand that it became the generic name for diapers within Nigeria.
Such was the business landscape when the MOLFIX brand under the stables of Hayat Kimya Nigeria, a subsidiary of the global Hayat Kimyacompany, entered the Nigeria-stiff competition, unfavourable business climate and crippling recession marred by scarce forex. At a time when foreign investors were sceptical of coming into the Nigerian market, the brand regardless plunged in with an audacious investment of $100 million into production and the erection of an ultra-modern diaper/tissue factory in Agbara Industrial Layout, Ogun State.
RoselineAbaraonye, Marketing manager/Head of HAYAT KIMYA Nigeria, a versatile professional with vast experience in the marketing communications industry said that the successful entrance and penetration of the market at that irrespective of the business climate of the MOLFIX diaper brand is hinged, among other things, on its use of strategies backed by insights to engage consumers, supporting its operations with backward integration and power generation.
MotayoLatunji, the Sales Director of Hayat Kimya who is a seasoned sales professional in the Nigeria FMCG industry also notes, “As a company, we approach our vision with strong focus and commitment. Our organisational goals and ambitions are clear to us, therefore we cannot be easily distracted by local or economic factors. We trust our brands and we understand the potentials of the market as well as its dynamics. We know that Nigeria’s economic situation is temporary so as a long-term focused company, we shall continue to invest for the future. We know where we are heading to.
Barely two years into the market, these strategies paid off as the brand in September 2017, upstaged all age-long competitors to emerge the diaper market leader by taking 44 per cent share of the market-according to the market report released by AC Nielsen, a topmost research agency. Pampers, the initial market leader, according to that report now struggles to hold a 37.3 per cent market-share while Huggies, Nice Baby, Dr. Brown, Dry Love, Little Angel and other brands were pushed to a lean market-share of 18.4per cent. With that report, MOLFIX had surpassed its own projections of owning 30 per cent of the market by 2018 by 14.3 per cent and also achieved this within a record 2/3 years of the targeted period.
By December of the same year, the brand already had 51% share of the entire market. Although, there is no data in 2018, analysts believe that the percentage would have gone up significantly higher.
Crowning Of The New King of Brands
At the recent gathering of Nigeria’s top advertising brands under the aegis of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria, ADVAN, during its prestigious Awards for Marketing Excellence, West Africa 2018, the MOLFIX brand was crown the ‘King of Brands’ as it won the most coveted award for the evening by emerging the most valued and celebrated Brand of the Year ahead of other mega brands.
This is a feat RoselineAbaraonye in a recent interview with Brand Communicator says reinforces the commitment of her team to do more. “We feel very elated, encouraged, excited and motivated to do more. It’s actually no mean feat that we’ve come to this point. It has encouraged us all both locally and globally and everyone is eager to do more. We know that all the efforts are worth it and the results are showing. It is good to know too, that in Nigeria, at this time where many people have labelled the country negatively, that we still have very reliable associations like ADVAN and trust their processes.”
MotayoLatunji said the feat is an indication that the right steps are been taken in the right direction. “The time for rewards always comes with great feelings. It is a reconfirmation that you have done something novel among stiff competition. Sometimes, you get too busy to look back and appraise your outstanding performances, but at times like this, when you emerge winner of such a prestigious award, it’s serves as a big motivation to everyone that has been part of the success, So, the entire Hayat Kimya family at home and abroad are happy and excited at this victory. This also implies that we have to run twice as fast. You know it can be more challenging staying on top in a highly fragmented market.
This year’s ADVAN Marketing Excellence Awards was built around the theme, ‘The Power of Story Telling.’ The theme also served as one of the criteria used in judging brands: how story-telling was used to engage consumers. Like Femi Odugbemi, the Academy Director of Multichoice Talent Factory who was the keynote speaker that evening observed, a story is great when it moves people to take action and foster change.
“… story-telling is in our daily lives and in the works we do; in the anecdotes that we tell our friends, the books we read, the films we watch, the brands we push, and in everything that we stand or fall for. Stories add emotional value to everything. They can interpret, inspire, invent and instil our history, our hopes, our common visions of a new future,” he said.
Odugbemi had gone on to explain that, armed with the power of stories, we can move a people, or we bury a civilization. Brand stories, he said, are now our stories which we as consumers want to tell from the uniqueness of our identity, our cultures, and our worldview. “It is not enough for brands to just position itself for sales with a sleek positioning of what it can do for us. It must first prove itself to be one of us with all the nuances of imagery and sounds that make our stories told compellingly. It must actively deepen the living experiences of us, it’s audiences. Brand stories must speak to the things that matter most to us, it must inspire and educate us. Brand stories must provoke and incite reflections and conversations around a community, around service and around human growth and development.”
Roseline spoke on the story-telling posturing of the brand, its engagement with consumers and how that has led to the unprecedented rise, recognition and awards for the brand. “MOLFIX on its own is a story which our payoff line eloquently captures: “HAPPY TODAY, HAPPY TOMORROW.” Basically, everything we have built is around this payoff line. We ensure our consumers are happy at all times. One such way is by being consistent in our quality of the product, offer only the best to consumers and also make products available,” she said.
“Engaging the consumer through powerful story-telling that resonates and speaks directly to them has really been a journey for us as we consistently try to repeat the story of the brand in terms of offering happiness across all relevant platforms. Our aim is to ensure that every mother has the chance to enjoy the benefit that comes with using MOLFIX.
Outside winning the Grand Prix of the awards, the MOLFIX brand also came first in the Experiential Category of the ADVAN Awards based on its engagement with consumers. This is the second year the brand is winning in this category and the first time any brand is winning this category consecutively. The result of its experiential drive is also visible in the marketplace. According to a 2018 IPSOS brand health report, the brand today has a 100% awareness and an unprecedented consideration of 100%. Today, brand loyalty has grown to over 70%. These among others got them the win in that category. Roseline highlights these engagements: “For experiential, we literarily took creating experience practical with our consumers. We were working outside the norm where jamborees and dances are organised and products sold at the venue.
“Before engaging the consumers, we basically ensured we understood them thoroughly before drafting our strategies”
“Basically, we engaged the consumers in the proper sense of it and made sure they were able to experience the product and call again. If there was no repeat purchase, back to buy, then we wouldn’t be leading the market today. All our actions led to the conversion which today we are reaping and enjoying.
The brand was equally awarded the first runner-up position in the Digital Category of the awards. As Odugbemi also noted at the awards when he said, “No time in human history is this (engagement through storytelling) ever so easily achievable than now when we live in an age where we have increased our capacity to create connections exponentially because of digital technology, specifically social media. Digital technology and social media have reinvented and revolutionized story-telling. They have added a new dimension to the matrix of human connection. That new dimension is the re-telling of stories. Today, stories do not travel in the state that they are originally told, stories evolve in their essence and form through the re-telling of a story by an active audience ready to co-curate its connection and relevance to their world,” the brand took its story-telling engagement to the digital space.
Roseline throws more light. “On digital, we are very strong as we carry our consumers on a journey as well. Most of the things we were doing offline, we ensure is replicated online to engage our community of mothers online. We used all workable tactics to ensure that the moms are properly engaged and have healthy and happy babies. The Mo’ Community, is a Happy Community”.
The brand also clinched the first runner-up position for the CSR category. This feat is not unrelated to all CSR drives it has undertaken over time. One initiative that has, however, stood out and given it the needed boost for the award is one that is hinged on its ‘Happy today, happy tomorrow’ payoff line.
“You will realise that once you have a home where the mother is not happy, you will find that the family will seldom be happy. Hence, we asked ourselves how best we can really touch the lives of these women to have happier families. This led us back to our payoff line which says, “happy today, happy tomorrow.” Everything we have tried to build revolves around happiness, to ensure that there is happiness in the home from the father, mother and to the children so that happiness is all-round to make sure there is happiness in every home. So we decided to work.”
This is in collaboration with some bodies. “We decided to work together with some relevant bodies to achieve this feat.” Roseline says.
Brand Manager of the Year
By virtue of winning the ‘Brand of the Year’ award, the Brand Manager for the brand, ChiomaMgbaramuko became the ADVAN Brand Manager of the year. Roseline says the privilege of having the award come to one of the team members at Hayat Kimya shows the value the company places on each employee. ‘We value our employees and try to empower them across board. We are very result oriented and that is one key thing for us. We never lose sight of our objectives. We run an open door policy. We work together and resolve issues and move on. We make sure things are done properly. Here, it is about working together to achieve results. If there is a challenge in one department, it affects other departments as well. Now there is a win, and everyone is happy. It is a win for everyone.”
Motayo adds, “Here, we believe you are as good as your team. The quality of your results cannot be disconnected from the quality of your teams. We empower our teams and create an atmosphere where talents can express themselves. We are not a very hierarchical company as we work together with trust and respect. We also support our business partners and see them as an integral part of our team.”
Motayo said all these touch points and engagement are part of the drive to connect more with the consumers. “We are consumer-centric. We go out of our way to meet consumers, engage them, etc. It all about knowing that a king makes decisions and those decisions are final. If you know that the consumer is the king and you please the king, whatever decision the king makes will be in your favour.
“Nigerian consumers are very smart. It is amazing how quick they can take decisions on products and switch. They are smarter than consumers in some developed countries when it comes to understanding product qualities and benefits. We have left the years where you can outwit consumers. Your entire product presentation must be realistic in pricing and quality. The price point is key. One of the ways to guarantee business sustainability now and for the future is to admit that you are dealing with clever consumers. Never compromise your standards no matter how challenging the situation may be, we must stick to continuous improvement, it always pay on the longer run” he said.
Displacing a brand that has become a generic name is not easy. Doing that in a relatively short time is definitely no mean feat. The brand has been consistent in reinforcing its position as the brand of ‘happy babies’. Thanks to its water-resistant barriers that prevent leaks, it gives babies full protection and keeps their skin dry and healthy around the clock. As a brand that is produced with the utmost care, extremely gentle on babies’ sensitive skin, and their green absorbent layer provides perfect dryness while the outer surface of the diaper protects the skin, hence, the brand has become the darling of mothers. Today, the name ‘MOLFIX’ is fast becoming the generic name for baby diapers in the market.
With MOLFIX in the Nigerian market, mothers, now know that they can trust the safety and quality of the diapers because the company has put in place strong administrative and operational procedures to ensure that every product from its stables meets proper specifications, requirements and the needs of the discerning consumers. The company can boast of providing quality diapers that satisfy mother’s needs while complying with regulatory standards. These operational procedures, core values and philosophies give the brand the edge it is enjoying in the marketplace.
Roseline speaks on this: “We came into the market not blindly, we knew we were coming to offer value to Nigerians and so, we went first to do our homework. We identified the gaps within the diaper category, did our research, spoke to mums, found out their frustrations and then offered a very good product that met their demands. We also avoided going the conventional way by thinking outside the box and coming up with our own unique strategies which cut across the 4Ps to ensure we stand out, recognized and heard.
“In our road to marketing and consumer engagement, we are also different and even with the partners, we work with. They are flexible, run with us when we want to, and jump with us when we want to. I believe that was one of the things that helped us as they were very adaptive, flexible and creative as they work tirelessly outside the norm.”
Motayo elucidates: “We have a strong route to market that keeps evolving in line with the underlying forces of the market. We have adopted a unique Distribution strategy that is as dynamic as the fragmented Diaper market.
“Most important to us is to get the product to the consumers with a guarantee of convenience in shopping irrespective of the channel where they plan to buy. We have gone past the stage where the sales team places the product at the points of sale for consumers to pick, we are now at the stage where excited Nigerian consumers join our sales team in ensuring our products are always available for them to pick. This is a great experience I must mention!
When your value proposition is good and accepted by the consumers and your trade partners, you find yourself in a more competitive situation. So for me, not only my sales team are responsible for MOLFIX sales, we have recruited many Nigerians who are actively selling MOLFIX through the powerful word of mouth. This is part of our success story,” he said.
Other Awards From the HAYAT KIMYA Stables
Hayat Kimya Nigeria Limited in its first outing at the ADVAN Awards last year emerged as the only company to go home with Five astounding awards with its two brands: MOLFIX and FAMILIA amidst strong industry giants across multiple categories.
The brand has not relented in its effort to provide quality and comfort to Nigerian Mums and babies and this earned her three (3) of the most-sought-after awards at the ADVAN Awards for Marketing Excellence West Africa 2017. MOLFIX was the Winner, Experiential Marketing Award Category for 2017, 2nd Runner-Up in Consumer Promotion Award Category and also the 3rdBest Brand of the Year 2017 in West Africa. In addition, FAMILIA which was recently launched in May 2017 bagged awards in two stiffly contested categories and emerged Winner in the ‘New Brand’ category and 1st Runner Up in the ‘Innovation’ category with its FAMILIA Strawberry Scented Variant.
Other awards bagged by MOLFIX include the African Products Award as the Best Baby Diaper of the Year 2016 by the Institute for Government Research Leadership Technology within its 1st year of launch in the Nigerian Market.
Africa’s Most Preferred Premium Quality Diaper Brand of the Year 2017 by African Quality Institute (AQAA – African Quality Achievement Awards 2017).
Global Quality Awards 2018 As The Global Most Leading Premium Quality Baby Diaper Brand of the Year 2018 given by the World Quality Alliance.
Marketing Edge Innovative brand of the year 2018.
Hayat Kimya Nigeria has since dedicated its many successes to all her valuable consumers, customers, partners, Mo’Mums, Mo’Dads and Mo’Babies with a promise to continue delivering on quality products to meet their needs.
Palace of the King of Brands
MOLFIX baby diapers are made from the stables of Hayat Kimya. The company commenced operations in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry in 1987 as manufacturer of goods in hygiene, tissue and home care categories offering well-established brands such as BINGO (detergents and home cleaning), MOLPED (feminine care), PAPIA, FAMILIA, FOCUS & TENO (cleansing tissues) as well as JOLY AND EVONY (adult diaper). The company’s brands are favourites of consumers in more than 100 countries across five continents.
Headquartered in Turkey, Hayat Kimya has subsidiaries in Iran, Egypt, Bulgaria, Algeria, Morocco, Russia and Nigeria and employs nearly 8,000 people today around the world. Hayat Kimya manufactures its products in 14 plants and continues its international investments at full speed.
Thanks to its high performance in export markets, the company offers its brands to consumers in 101 countries on five continents.