Octagon Rooms

The Brand Ambassador / Influencer Dilemma

Posted on: July 25th, 2016 by The Moderator 8 Comments


Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? Thank you

Bayo: Good Afternoon People. I am Bayo Omishore. I write seldom.

Wale: My name is Wale Adetula (call me Tula). I’m the founder and CEO of thenakedconvos.com (Nigeria’s largest open digital publishing platform).

Toks: Hello people. I’m Ola-tokunbo. I’m a creative and a brand person.

Eddie: I’m Eddie Madaki, publicist and Marketing communications practitioner.  I work with iBlend Services/ EddieMPR IMC.

Eze: Hello all! My name is Ezegozie Eze, brand and content developer, specifically entertainment & lifestyle brands.

Chuka: Hi Everyone. I’m Chuka Obi, ECD at DDB Lagos

Tayo: Hi everyone, my name is Tayo. I work as a digital strategist with Ogilvy One.  I’m the founder of Isten Digital, recruitment and training in digital marketing. Partially into photography

The Octagon: Ground rules for branding are rapidly evolving.   Social media, content marketing, the younger generation, second screening, thought-leadership and the demographic shift are just some of the many things that are pushing brands to think differently. Customers want to identify with a brand they can grow with, that earns their trust and makes them feel valued. As a result, today’s competition among brands to capture the attention and hearts of their audience is really tough and challenging. This has forced so many organisations to adopt certain approaches to engage their market to transact with them. One of this approaches is the use of brand ambassadors and influencers.  Do you think that brand ambassadors truly help these brands and businesses grow , create greater sales and equity? What is wrong with way brands are going about this?

Wale: I don’t think brand ambassadors have helped a lot of the brands that have gone that way here in Nigeria and it’s mostly down to the reason why they made the decision in the first place. You just mentioned how the ground rules of branding/marketing is continuously evolving. Marketing needs to be way more intelligent nowadays and not based on emotions or who the MD of a particular organization likes or doesn’t. However, I think it is important to note that most of the success stories aren’t particularly exceptional cases. Signing on a brand ambassador so you can gain rights to his music (at a cheaper rate) is a no-brainer. And most of the so called success stories fall in this space.

Toks: I think the bitter pill most of us brand people who know, without a doubt, that the brand owners are going about brand ambassador-ship wrong is that it’s actually working for a few of these brands. Where the real issue is is that, a strategy works for company A and companies B, C and D rush to get on that bandwagon, regardless of whether it fits their brand or not.

Tayo: I agree with Toks. I think that brand ambassadors and influencers have their place in marketing. However, it’s the use of these resources that determine how useful they are to the brand. Brands do not really do brand fit. They just randomly pick people. I believe that ambassadors are mostly for awareness while influencers are for conversions.

Toyosi: Marketing has to evolve with the rest of the world and whether we like it or not using celebrities/influencers (real and imagined) is part of that evolution. People now use Instagram comedians eg I am Kanmi that was just mentioned as MCs for their shows because they know they can pull the crowd they want.

Bayo: I’ll speak from the perspective of a consumer who just so happens to have worked with a number of entertainment brands and say No. In the first instance, I question if the brand managers on the side of the product understand their own product enough to find a music brand that sufficiently mirrors their brand. For the sake of synergy. Or perhaps they sacrifice that on the altar of making a quick buck by hiring the guy that can attract the highest number of coins they can take a nice slice off.

Eddie: Bayo, I beg to differ. Most consumers purchases are won on an emotional level and the right influencer actually wins a larger market share for the product owner IF he/she has the ears,eyes and hearts of the target market the client is looking to penetrate. Now unfortunately since its the trend most agencies just pick anyone for personal/sentimental reasons and that’s when such campaigns are not effective. But if Brand influencer to market segment is a perfect fit, the campaign will work. And it’s cost effective and cuts across most media channels making for a much more organic way to connect with consumers

Bayo: That’s idealistic Eddie. What’s happening in reality is different. The question is, are mothers buying Pampers because of Tiwa? Or Pepsi because of Wizkid?

Wale: hahaha… Or are they even buying at all ?

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8 Responses

  1. Bankole Ojo-Medubi says:

    Man! My brain wants to blow up! As a small business owner, I think a CEO is supposed to understand every single aspect of his business, from profit/loss statements to how many satchets of Omo it takes to mop his office floor. And my mind has been opened up to the inner workings of digital marketing (crucially)in a Nigerian context.
    Good one, guys!

  2. Adeyemi says:

    Hello house, you guys put up a great conversation filled with fantastic insights. My take away includes brand fit and be careful of copying strategy. It seems people don’t want to do the hard work. Asking some clients deep questions as to why a customer should buy what they sell make them feel somehow. No market research done, no customer insight. But you are to strategize and sell.
    Guess you guys could help answer this question someday: as a digital marketer, how do I sell product I don’t know to people I don’t know?

    • Eddie Madaki says:

      Hello Adeyemi.

      The answers to your questions are actually embedded in your comment, research and market analysis. To complete a sale, your product must fill a need to your target market . So complete understanding of said product is key, next your communications / marketing strategy must appeal to your target market on an emotional level , convincing them off your value preposition, here is where in depth market research comes in. Identify creative ways to over come potential cultural , religious, socio-behavioural trends with that community or target demographic that may impede your campaign. This you can achieve by running your marketing strategies through focus groups, A/B testing as referenced in our discourse, using locally recognised and respected personalities to introduce your offerings etc. Most importantly monitor feedback and modify your sales strategy as need be. Marketing is quite organic so it’s important to make small changes along the way to make for a more persuasive product pitch. Understand the product and position for worst case responses to how it’s recieved, research your target market and communicate values over generic advertising and mentions. Hope this helps.

  3. Klaze says:

    Highly informative and I really like the tone of conversations here but then if i may lend my thoughts on Bayo’s rhetorical question on women buying pampers because of Tiwa or Pepsi because of wizkid I would like to share my personal opinion concerning that, ..umm I stand to be corrected but I believe there are women that actually buy pampers because of tiwa savage or at least have renewed confidence in the brands ability to upgrade and keep up with younger and new generation motherhood, sure it myt not be the average mother and I know there are better and more trendy brands than pampers now but then with Tiwa’s image reckoning with the brand I believe it also gives it if not an edge at least an equilibrium with newer brands and helps create the impression that pampers is not old school yet (or should i use the word obsolete) its still trendy .. “Tiwas uses it” trust me mild variables like dis reflect on sales even if its 10 or 15% higher than it woud have been if they dint make effort to connect with younger generations, as for Pepsi, there was a time when i would not be caught dead with pepsi or any of their brand in public due to the stereotype on it being a substandard version of coca cola, Wizkid’s affiliation might not necessarily make me a Pepsi regular (Of course my favourite sodas still remain Cocacola and sprite) but at least am not shy anymore about associating with the brand and of course when faced with the choice of purchasing Pepsi at an event or an outdoor party i would do so and even stroll around with the brand in hand.. so yes in my personal opinion the choices on brand ambassadors for both pampers and pepsi respectively were not misguided i believe they actually influence sales on both product, but then what do i know, Y’all are the pros and of course ” I stand to be corrected.”
    But I really appreciate this platform theres so much to learn here and the interactive set up just makes it so interesting Lol ‘Regards

  4. Bunni says:


    I’ve once bought Loya Milk because of Don Jazzy.

    Iyen tu nko?

  5. San Weaven says:

    I sincerely enjoy this platform, but,there are every limited people that are aware of this type of platform.

  6. Gidyon Thompson says:

    I really appreciate your effort in engaging thought leaders in solving basic market, economic and social political issues .

    As part of my final year project is to research on the relationship between brand endorsement by celebrities and patronage. Truth be told, what may have worked for company A maynot work for company B. We know that people model their behaviors based on role models and thats the hinge of using brand ambassadors for a brand. But the real sense is, can you effectively transfer the clout of a particular ambassador into real customers for your brand?
    It goes beyond advertising! That’s the big question.

  7. Subomi says:

    Whatever advertising strategies are put in place need to align with brand essence and appeal to the emotions of the target market. In Nigeria today, it just seems the norm to sign up a popular face as a brand ambassador whether or not the individual in question depicts what the brand stands for “the bandwagon effect”.

    If you must have an ambassador, then it needs to be tactically done; some brands have done this successfully while some see it as a jamboree and just have a clutter. when done right, it would positively influence the perception of the consumers.

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