On The Field: Transforming an iconic Nigerian brand

Jul 1, 2021 | Announcements, Branding, Branding Insights, Culture & heritage, Design, Destination, Packaging, Positioning, Project News, Project spotlight, Strategy

You may be aware of countries on the African continent becoming a nation of fast growing economies. However, what is lesser known is the extent of progress within these regions.

In Particular, we take you through Nigeria, one of the biggest tech hubs on the African continent and host to Dangote industries, founded by the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote. With over 90 tech hubs in Nigeria, the country is regularly referred to people in the know as the silicon valley of Africa.

We set the stage for Nigeria’s economic situation to try and create a slight shift in perceptions, understanding the type of business and entrepreneurial spirit that exists in such a rich country. Infact, it is that very spirit led us to partnering with our Nigerian client, Seaman’s, for a new packaging design for their drinks. 

Their challenge? To make one of Nigerian most iconic brands ready for the future. Currently, the brand was perceived as an older generation adjacent product, synonymous with the age range 40 and above. As half of the Nigerian population currently is under the age of 19, Seamen’s predicted a lucrative opportunity to position the brand for the future, assessing the growing target audience. 

seaman's truck seeaman's schnapps

Skyne has had extensive experience working with clients from Africa. Our most notable ventures being our work with Nigerian clients developing the popular dairy brand “Peak” and various other FMCG food brands.

Knowing the beats of the market landscape, we understood that to get a true grasp of the specific drink market in Nigeria, we had to be there. Physically being in Nigeria and exploring the local culture, customs and how different people engage with the brand would give us the essential insights of the market.

Thus, our field research journey began. Investigating Nigeria’s market on foot and getting the lay of the land. 

Our initial research commenced with a retail safari in the heart of Nigeria, diving deep into store corners and stall shops where our client’s brands were sold. 

busy market food shop nigeria


Here, engaging with the locals gave us much needed insights into how the drinks brand market is perceived. A key finding being the symbiotic relationship between the local culture and the consumption of these drinks. Seaman’s, the brand, is specifically linked to blessings and prayer. With people believing in the energising and sacred properties of the drink, using droplets of it to bless the start of their day.

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Dennis de Rond, in the middle of a retail safari in Lagos.

We spoke to volunteering shopkeepers and retail owners at their stores, being mindful of their time, about how they perceived the Seaman’s brand. Moreover, we did this to ascertain what the competition looked like in store, and how they held up in terms of packaging when compared to our client’s brand.

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“Unlock your daily blessing” a proud sign states in Lagos, Nigeria.

As we made our way through shops and streets, we were met with a peculiar sight. Specifically, the advertisements by Seamen’s positioning themselves as the No. 1 prayer drink. Driving home the product’s strong association with the traditions of the region. Here we understood how strongly the brand is rooted in the culture of the people.

Whether it is to energise yourself in the morning or to have a blessed start to the day, the people of Nigeria have been integrating these drinks in their daily lives for years.

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It is believed that a blessing from the God of iron is bestowed upon your vehicle if it carries Seamen’s first thing in the morning.

From asking someones hand in marriage to a taxi driver’s first journey of the day. Seamen’s brand is an integral part of Nigerian life. Widely regarded as a “link to our forefathers” the market landscape and perception of such drinks is distinctly different from any other similar market.

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Our consumer research took us to different cities in Nigeria. Our ground work spanning the city of Lagos to the East, South and Middle cities of Nigeria. With the aim of comparing our findings to other cities in order to assess their consistency. We did this to ascertain whether brand perceptions are affected by a geographical change. Surprisingly, our research yielded a similar alignment of perceptions across Nigeria for our client’s brand.

For a thorough analysis, we conducted interviews within Nigerian families. In order to examine inter-family dynamics with regards to perceptions of the drink, understanding how in the same household a father’s perception of the drink might differ from the daughter’s .

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The crucial exploration of the brand within a cultural context that we achieved on this trip could not have been easily replicated from our office in Dubai. To understand a brand it is vital to understand the target audience it resonates with. Especially when the brand becomes so irreversibly intertwined with the culture and the people of the region. We would even argue it is essentially required to acknowledge the culture and the people before starting to develop such a brand

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Dennis de Rond in a open discussion with the Seamen’s team.

Our days in Lagos ended with us in a roundtable discussion with people belonging to different age groups. Offering their opinions and insights about perceptions and culture. Further, hearing our experiences and helping us contextualise what we have seen throughout the day, and what that would mean for the client’s brand.


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