“Nigerians Are Willing to Pay When They See Real Value”- 30 Minutes with Nengi Akinola of Oppo Mobile Nigeria

David Afolayan
I was curious to know what winning secret is for this new emerging market leader so I had a chat with the Marketing Manager for Oppo Nigeria, Nengi Akinola.
30 Minutes with Nengi Akinola of Oppo Mobile Nigeria

Last week, there was a major shift in the Global Telecomms space. Apple, long-time world-leading manufacturer, lost its place in the global top 3 to a less renown brand, Oppo Mobile.

According to the report by IHS Markit, Apple suffered a 15% decline in market share and an 11.8% decline in revenue, a year-on-year serious loss position. On the contrary, Oppo experienced a 13% growth and was among the 4 manufacturers that grew despite a global decline in sales (the rest are Samsung, Huawei and Alcatel).

I was curious to know what winning secret is responsible for this new emerging market leader so I had a chat with the Marketing Manager for Oppo Nigeria, Nengi Akinola. I hope you enjoy the session:

30 Minutes with Nengi Akinola of Oppo Mobile Nigeria30 Minutes with Nengi Akinola of Oppo Mobile Nigeria

By the way, you can watch the full video interview here.

Q: Just a bit of introduction, who is Nengi?

My name is Nengi Akinola. I am the Marketing Manager of Oppo Mobile Nigeria. I have over 9 years of experience in brand strategy, marketing and advertising.

Q: What does your regular workday look like?

It depends. If we have serious projects, the first thing is to check on the projects we are running. We also check on what the market is saying which is very important. Then, liaise with agencies, other stakeholders. That is about it.

Q: 9 months since your entry into the Nigeria mobile market space, how has the experience been?

It has been quite eventful. Like you know, Nigeria is a saturated market when it comes to mobile phones. So, when we say we have been in since last year, what we mean is what we started to do was study the market and see how we can come in that is different from what everybody else has done.

We started with a penetration strategy with a much lower model. Subsequently, we began communication with our flagship, the F11 pro, to set the right context in the minds of the people. We didn’t want to be that phone from China. We want people to, first of all, associate us with quality and premium innovation.

Little wonder we sold out 5 times.

I think the time we spent studying the market gave us an understanding of what Nigerians have been missing and we just plugged that hole with some of the products we have in the market.

I will love to add that aside from the F11 Pro, we have other products in the market like the A1k and A5 based on the insights we have gleaned from the markets.

Q: I have bought a couple of gadgets in the past that I could not get replacements for or even buy parts to fix them because the producers exited the market early. Is Oppo here for the long haul?

If you are familiar with our penetration strategy in other oversea markets, you will see that we have been consistent even in smaller markets (when compared with the size of Nigeria). Why will we not be serious with a market as valuable as Nigeria?

The products that we have started with show that we understand that there is an opportunity in the Nigerian market. And, the reception has been good. Based on that, we intend to stay for the long haul.

Q: What are the support plans for buyers of the Oppo devices?

Recently, we unveiled our service centre (not fully operational) in Ikeja. Currently, we serve from ACME. But, for those who do not have access to that point, we tell all our sales executive to direct customers to any point where you can purchase our products. So, if you buy it outside Lagos, as long as you take your device back to any place where they sell the Oppo phone, you should be fine.

We offer a 48-hours repair time and have a warranty of 2 years.

Q: I am sure you will agree with me that the Nigerian market space is a challenging one. Can you share with us a number of challenges you have faced in 9 months?

It hasn’t been a ride but I wouldn’t say it has been difficult because there was a lot of research work done to find out consumer needs. We came into the market gradually.

But, I will say, one of the challenges we had was the Chinese perception attached to the products coming from China. We tried as much as possible to differentiate ourselves by bringing in the right products.

Q: A recent research indicated that the most important factor for the average African buyer is price. Is that true in your experience?

I only deal in facts. Based on that, I tell you that we introduced a N139,000 phone into an already saturated market, a new brand. And we have sold out over 5 times!

That is indicative of the fact that Nigerians, in as much as they are concerned about the price, when they see real value, they are willing to pay for it.

Q: Oppo just displaced Apple as the #3 mobile phone distributor on the globe. It was one of the only 4 on that list that experienced a growth and it controls 11% of the global share. Why do you think Oppo became an acceptable brand across the globe?

I will like to first state that everything that Oppo does is intentional and strategic. A lot of the growth for Oppo has come from its expansion plans. You will see that in the past 2-3 years they have entered a lot of markets.
In Africa, we are in most of the countries in North Africa, then Kenya and Nigeria (recently). If you look at Southeast Asia, we are now leading those markets.

So, the goal is to look at markets that give you the opportunities to grow because some of the established markets are saturated and your only edge is innovation.

LBut in markets like this, we know that if we give people what they are not used to, if we give them quality at a reasonable cost, we are bound to grow.

30 Minutes with Nengi Akinola of Oppo Mobile Nigeria-2

Q: What does the Oppo of the next 5 years look like?

With all the plans that we have, my hope is to have 1 in 3 Nigerians use an Oppo phone. Now that is not just about numbers. It is about people trusting your brand enough to choose you over and over again. What I want to achieve is to give them a reason to trust us and pick us always from the shelves.

Q: Do you think we will ever be ready for the adoption of 5G?

Right now, the adoption of 4G is still in its infancy. I mean less than 11% of Nigerians have embraced 4G. I think we still have a long way to go on that.
5G is still in the test phase in developed markets. They need to perfect it, so to speak, before it can filter into the Nigerian market.

Fingers crossed.

Q: Any plans for CSR?

Any responsible company should have CSR plans in place. For us, it is a long term thing. We don’t want to create a CSR because it is required. We want to solve a need and we want to add value to our environment and people.

We have plans that I will not be able to reveal yet. However, once we start to do our CSR, we will focus on value for the average Nigerian and our stakeholders.

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