Recently, Oando Lubricant Plc rewarded their distributors all over the country and also took them on tour of their new head office at Apapa, Lagos. The event was to inform their distributors how to repose confidence in their customers. The CEO of the company, Chief (Mrs.) Olaposi Williams spoke on this and more:
What informed this award?
Oando Marketing always recognizes the effort of our distributors. We relate with them as our business partners because they stand as our ambassadors, we communicate through them to our last users and they do the marketing and canvassing.
We give them the necessary support. So, when they are speaking to our customers, the boldness will be there to convince the customer after the training they must have received from us. So, there is a lot of effort they also put in.
Inasmuch as we hold the business for them, we have to recognize the marketing effort they put in because they have choices of going to any of our competitors, but they chose to stay with Oando. As I said, 2013 and 2014 are challenging, so we have to continue to motivate our business partners so that they can continue to push our products to the customer. That is why we decided to reward and motivate them, to recognize their effort.
Although we recognize them by sending gifts, that is not enough, which is why we celebrate them this way by presenting some cheques and a car to our distributors.
What are some of the challenges faced by distributors and what are the ways you have chosen to tackle them?
If you look at what is happening in the north, you will discover it is very difficult to do business in such area, most especially when you go out you never know what would happen the next minute. Yet our products are needed, so it is a very difficult terrain to do business .The second of its kind is the issue of substandard products coming into the country, including some counterfeit products blended in Nigeria and customers do not know the difference. The only way they can identify the difference is by educating them. So, we support our distributors by giving them the technical knowledge, information and promo.
What can government do to tackle some of these itemised challenges?
Government is not doing so badly; we speak with government about bringing people to produce additives and importing some of the machines. Government can also bear part of the cost of lubricant production to reduce cost.
How will you assess the market competition in this country and Oando’s sales?
Competition is good; it is how you react to competition that matters. Oando Marketing is not afraid of competition, we have a good brand and quality. We are sure of the product we put into the market. Oando is also highly certified, and we ensure that we are in tune with what customers want.
What is important to us is customer satisfaction, and to continually provide quality to our customers, irrespective of influx of fake products.
What are your projections for the new year?
Our wish is to make the country grow. Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will continue to grow. We hope the power sector reforms will continue to improve the manufacturing sector. What that tells us is that there will be a need and more equipment for lubricant, manufacturers will produce more.
Now, we are going into more research on what the business wants, that will help us produce new products which will be in the market to sustain our base.
Now, you have quality products no doubt, how are you sure you have maximum awareness for some of your brands?
As I said, Oando is not afraid of competition. We are aware of some of our competitors but what is important is for you to provide customer satisfaction. Now, one thing is, if your brand is good and your product is good, if the customer visits Oando shelf and buys the product, uses it and loves it.
If getting there three weeks down the line and he cannot find the product, you have failed that customer. The most important thing is to create product availability and well packaged with good label and properly positioned without compromising the quality.
Are you not going for promotion campaign?
We do that all the time. That is the standard of marketing, you could see us providing promotional items like pen, cap, T-shirt newspaper advert and others. If you also notice, Oando sponsors energy events in China, talking about Oleum, lubricant and LPG.
How will you assess the Nigerian market?
Lubricants are used across the country, we use them for manufacturing, okada, automobile, Keke NAPEP, etc. As long as you have any means of transportation or any equipment, definitely you need the lubricant. The market is big, and no matter how big, the government should ensure that they do not subscribe to influx of substandard products. Everybody has a role to play.