Grand Reception

Maltina Is A Family Brand That Is About Bonds, Connections And Sharing Happiness – Kehinde Kadiri, Portfolio Manager, Non –Alcoholic, NB

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Kehinde Kadiri, Portfolio Manager for Non-Alcoholic brands, Nigerian Breweries PLC

Maltina, the flagship non-alcoholic drink from the stables of Nigerian Breweries and Nigeria’s first locally produced malt drink was launched in Nigeria as Maltona in 1976. It was positioned as a pick-me-up drink for tired consumers who needed nourishment and refreshment. The slogan ‘Maltona for pleasure and energy’ drove the first Press and TV advertising campaigns. In 1977, Maltona was changed to Maltina, and in 1996, Maltina introduced its first flavoured malts in strawberry, pineapple and exotic fruits, which were later discontinued. In 2005, it introduced Maltina Sip-it in Tetrapak, with the most recent innovations being two new flavours – Maltina Vanilla and Maltina Pineapple launched in September 2020.

In this insightful interview with Brand Communicator’s Jeremiah Agada, Kehinde Kadiri, Portfolio Manager for Non-Alcoholic brands, Nigerian Breweries PLC discusses Maltina’s new flavour innovations, and the insights driving their introduction among other sundry matters.


Maltina Brand This Year And How It Has Maintained Market Share

The Maltina brand is a family brand that has always been about bonds, connections and sharing happiness. Therefore, amid the Coronavirus pandemic and despite all the challenges we had, it was essential for us to communicate what the Maltina brand stands for. Hence, before the lockdown started, we were able to kick off a number of activities like our Maltina School Games in the first quarter of the year. A unique brand platform targeted at young people with the aim of developing their spirit of sportsmanship and a healthy, active lifestyle. With the pandemic and the attendant lockdown, we changed our communication and media strategy very quickly in line with the consumer’s reality while ensuring we stayed true to our brand purpose.

However, this year has been particularly challenging for everyone in the industries. The business and competitive landscape has been exigent for all players alike. Nonetheless it is in times like these that brands need to step up for their consumers and the country at large, showing that they are there for them.

We have always been intentional in the way we ensure the continuous presence of Maltina both physically and mentally for our consumers. I cannot overemphasize the importance of in-market levers, particularly at the point of purchase, where people can encounter the brand on a personal level and still choose Maltina despite the many options available. This has been one of the most significant success factors for us. We were able to sustain our market share growth post-lockdown by ensuring that we were present in whatever way we could, rather than staying silent for fear of over-investing in the face of uncertainties.

Introducing Two New Maltina Flavours During The Period

The launch of flavours is not exactly “new” to Maltina, as category leader, we first introduced flavours into the malt market in 1996, with Maltina Strawberry, Pineapple and Exotic. One may ask what is different now, well we were able to recognize then that the public was not ready for such innovation in 1996. However, over time, people have evolved and their taste buds have become more accustomed to a variety of flavour profiles across different beverage groups.

Identifying this opportunity and taking learnings from our first attempt, we decided to re-introduce our malt flavours with an innovative concept and to reposition Maltina for the new wave of consumer demands.Shaking up the malt landscape and giving consumers an exciting taste experience with a drink that is bursting with flavour and refreshment has also helped us maintain our market leadership.

As with every innovation, we have done our research and tested different flavour options with the consumer using qualitative and quantitative analysis. Working with taste experts, we selected the preferred flavour options for Nigerians. Unlike the reaction we had gotten in the past, we knew this time was different because Nigerians were ready for more.

Considering the target audience and our desire to thrill young consumers, we focused on the top two flavours that elicit excitement and fun (pineapple) as well as indulgence and escape (vanilla). Respecting the consumers need for a refreshing beverage and their preference for familiar tastes, we were intentional in selecting flavours that they already loved. The goal is to change the perception of young people that malt is not a monotonous drink. Instead, we want them to enjoy the fun-filled flavour bursts of malt plus its added nutritional benefits.

Possible Challenge to the Flagship

Maltina remains the No. 1 brand in the category, which we built on our flagship Maltina Classic product offering. We see the introduction of the new flavours as an opportunity to offer consumers more choice and enhance their product experience. Hence, while we have consumers who may be more traditional and prefer the familiar taste of the classic Maltina, we see pleasure-seekers and consumers who love variety being attracted to Maltina Vanilla and Maltina Pineapple. The two new flavours will in no time attract non-malt drinkers to the category as well as meet consumer’s needs for more exploration in their favourite malt beverage.

Communication And Engagement Line Up

We launched an integrated marketing campaign tagged ‘Own The Flavour’ on OOH, Radio and Digital including Influencer marketing, while engaging consumers through sampling at crucial touchpoints. Because we understand the digitally conscious generation we are targeting, we also designed a digital engagement campaign called ‘Tastepiration’. This was inspired by the idea that by taking a sip of any of the flavours, consumers are encouraged to express themselves creatively in a unique way. By going to our microsite, consumers can create their personalized art expressions of the flavours. 

We are set to flag off a flavour tour in a few locations with appearances by our newly signed brand ambassadors, Tomike Adeoye, Osas Ighodaro and Rahama Sadau. Our engagements have been mostly digital, ensuring that people have fun trying out these new flavours and taking online to offline.

Reception And Reactions From Consumers

Across board, the consumers have been very receptive to both variants. There have been several positive reviews across our social media platforms, with growing demands from consumers. The campaign has taken off, and consumers are trying and owning their flavour –just as we expected – in their unique ways. We continue to track and monitor the progress of the campaign while optimizing our engagement platforms to drive the conversation.

Some have already started picking sides with Team Vanilla on one hand and Team Pineapple on the other. Of course, some do not want to choose a side, as they find that both flavours fit them perfectly. It does not matter whether you are a fan of the vanilla flavour, the pineapple flavour, or the regular Maltina classic –there is a Maltina for everyone.

Standing Out In The Midst Of Other Brands

Looking at the current beverage market, one will observe that there has been no malt-related news for some time now. We are excited to be the brand at the forefront of the latest innovation in the category. When you observe malt, it is a dynamic product; it is about nourishment, vitality, refreshment and energy.

Through these new flavours, we are giving people the best of both worlds with the uncompromised nutritional power of malt and the variety of flavours, this is our primary differentiator within the malt category. Judging by the positive feedback we have received in the past few months, we are confident that our new flavours are a welcome addition to the beverage category particularly malts.

Projections For The Variants

If tomorrow these variants take over the flagship with 50%, we will not be worried because it confirms that is the direction the consumers want malt to go. In the next two or three years, we expect to see more flavours developed in this category. We do not think this is something that will just come and go.

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