Hom tshuaj "Qhob cij Agege"

Question: My father is a very prominent baker. All my working life, even after tertiary education, has been in his bakery – A ‘factory’ for the famousAgege bread“. Please assist me with hints on how to succeed in marketing, as I contemplate commencement of baking the other type of bread, for more sophisticated consumers, in my intended own venture. – Tayo Balogun.

Before responding to your request, let me delve a bit into a product which your demand threw up. It is an item so well-known in Lagos, Nigeria; synonymous with the place, and occupies a prominent position in the daily family menu of the mass of people within the lower rungs of the socio-economic strata in this metropolis. It is so outstanding, as a ready-made staple food (for its relevance in aiding desires of the hungry for a quick-fix) that it has no doubt earned the appellation of a brand. That product is Agege bread.

A dictionary defines bread as, “A staple food made from flour or meal mixed with other dry and liquid ingredients, usually combined with a leavening agent, and kneaded, shaped into loaves, and baked”. By way of identification, Agege bread is a ‘regular white bread’, baked from flour, qab rog (often baking fat), sugar, yeast, and little water. It is known for its hardness; it is ‘yeasty’; has hard outer brownish layer and white soft inner part that ‘draws’.

Marketing Agege bread

Without going into its origin, various sizes, quality, dietary and nutritional aspects or values, Agege bread is obviously the ‘bread for the masses’, going mainly by its high demand from favourable pricing and being more filling. Some say Agege bread goes very well with stews, beans pottage, talk less of margarine, and a good dip into a mug of beverage like tea or cocoa. That it lasts longer in the stomach, hence a preferred means of food retention in the tummy during hard times.

A new comer to Lagos that requires an encounter with this product needs very little efforts to achieve this, as every other person in Lagos knows Agege bread – A product whose hawkers dot virtually all the major streets of the city most evenings, and has created gainful employment for teaming unemployed youths who see hawking of Agege bread as a respite.

Who says Agege bread can’t be listed among objects which form the “Symbols of Lagos”, e.g. Eyo masquerade, Murtala Muhammed airport main building; National Arts Theatre, yellow & black stripes commercial vehicles; coconut trees on beach fronts; canoeing fishermen in the Lagos Lagoon, thiab lwm yam?

For hints on marketing your “other type of bread”, I assume you mean the form of bread easily distinguishable from Agege bread, produced or baked by numerous high-brow Quick Service Restaurants or QSR, whose outlets dot various parts of Lagos. Tseem, the customized types, baked by some of the numerous catering outfits around, to suit the requisitions of their customers.

I urge you not to break away completely from your father’s bakery, but leverage on it to launch the “other type of bread”, and then introduce it as another line or range of bread from the same bakery. To succeed, you should evolve a marketing plan which embodies:

ib) Situation Analysis
Try to ‘nose around’ the environment that will comprise your market for the new venture, to make out goings-on with regard to consumer acceptance, position of competitors, likely obstacles your “other type of bread” may encounter, territory of coverage, thiab lwm yam.

b) Opportunities analysis
Determine, before hand, if your intended product would be a ‘hot sale’ when introduced into the markets, giving consideration to its packaging, brand name, pricing and your intended mode of distribution. On threats, consider likely obstacles you may encounter in the market, and how to surmount such.

c) Marketing objectives
Work out the ‘likely’ number of bread that you intend to sell within a defined period from product launch (sales turnover of x naira at this period); the percent of the market share for “other type of bread” you hope to capture during a defined period; and anticipated profit to be earned during this time.

As I am constrained here to state other components of the marketing plan, in no particular order; (d) Environmental influence; (e) Financial projection and budget; (f) Control and evaluation, let me separate Marketing Strategy (g) for more highlights, with its makeup as follows: –

Kuv) Hom kev ua lag luam: You have an edge from having experience in a large bakery, to determine customers and consumers of your intended “other type of bread”. As a hint, don’t deviate from targeting consumers who fall within the medium to high income bracket. For a start, Lagos (with its large cosmopolitan population) should constitute your focus for marketing activities.

II) Marketing mix: Product – Like applicable to the type of bread my family and I patronize regularly (without stating any brand name since I don’t provide subtle advertisement through my write-ups), ensure high quality and rich contents; should come whole or sliced; attractive packaging that has these inscribed on it – Ingredients, weight per portion and ingredients, lub sij hawm cia thiab tej yam kev mob, nuj cus, bakers txiv lub npe thiab chaw nyob, then above all NAFDAC (Koom haum rau cov khoom noj khoom haus, Tshuaj coj thiab tswj) npawb.

Nqe – Work out the unit cost of producing your bread; cost to an intermediary (middleman); and what the shelf (khw muag khoom) nqi yuav tsum raug. With these you could make out an anticipated range for your likely profit per unit (with provision for volume discount for large buyers).

Tis (Qhov chaw) – Expand on what is applicable to your Agege bread presently, to arrive at a mode of distributing your bread through designated retail outlets (e.g. QSR, supermarkets, convenience stores).

Qib – For starters, stick to tools of Public Relations or PR (involving press relations input in selected press media); affordable number of insertions and sizes in selected newspapers for advertisements will do. Back this up with fliers, and then hype (in a few radio stations). Personal Selling efforts could be applied to give the bread a boost.

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