Home Business Common Mistakes Nigerian Pharmaceutical Companies Must Note About BRT / LAGBUS Branding

Common Mistakes Nigerian Pharmaceutical Companies Must Note About BRT / LAGBUS Branding


“I have been fined N500,000 by NAFDAC!!!” an Indian client screamed
as he nudged me to a seat in his office.
I stood watching him for sometime before sinking in the
Mr Kumar (last name withheld) is a shrewd business man,
always attempting to cut corners with every transaction he makes.
He runs a massive pharmaceutical company with bias in drug
importation, distribution and logistics in Ikeja, Lagos – Nigeria.
Being an integrated marketing
communication firm, providing leading edge solutions to Corporate and
Individual brands in Nigeria, we have been on his trail for close to three months. Finally, Kumar sent
for our management team to come for a presentation and have
in-depth discussions on his marketing needs.
We sold him every available media prospect – from relaunch of
his brands, to hosting of press conference with doctors, pharmacists and other
healthcare workers in attendance and a sustained BRT / LAGBUS branding in
Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
On every media solution we proffered, Kumar offered a
below-the-belt overture. Eventually the Indian explained that he had a tight
budget hence his preference for BRT branding which presentation he confessed
has a lasting impression on him.
Still, we couldn’t agree on the charges. Back-to-back, we
spent the next two weeks negotiating. Where he is supposed to pay N250,000, he
offered to pay N180,000.
However we received a strange call on Thursday from Kumar to
cancel the deal. When we enquired to know the reason, he noted that a
supposedly BRT competitor gave him a cheaper offer
Oops!! Operation successful, patient dies…
It was like taking a blow to the head while taking a short nap!
There go all the efforts, planning and logistics of the last three to four
months planning. 
Well, our management team consoled itself with that popular
maxim culled from the blockbuster movie – The Godfather “It is business, nothing
Surprisingly, the same Kumar sent me an SMS less than two months
later indicating that he would like to see me as soon as possible. While I was
still wondering what it was all about, the Indian followed up with a call hour
later telling me that it was important for him to see me preferably that day.
Much as I had a tight schedule, I decided to cancel out some
meetings just to honour the appointment.
Unlike the tough-speaking boss I met some months ago, Kumar
came to meet at the reception and ushered me into his office.
As I sat in the chair wondering what went wrong, he jolted me
to life again with his cry of “Francis, I have been fined N500,000 by NAFDAC!!!”
Much as every nerve in my body wanted to berate him for dumping
us and cutting corners, I knew what he needed at such emotional moment was empathy and support.
“What was the offence, Sir?” I enquired.
Apparently my competitor bypassed some protocols by failing
to get approval from National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control
(NAFDAC) and APCON for Kumar’s OTC (over the counter) products on the buses. As
expected, the agency got wind of it and came heavily on the company.
When the Indian confronted the BRT branding team, they have
no answer to it. Obviously, it wasn’t their field. They sure have an idea about
branding the buses but definitely not the processes that involves carrying all
the regulatory bodies such as LASAA, APCON and NAFDAC along. 
Poor lads! Can one really blame them for being entrusted with such task?
“What can we do?” Kumar asked.
“We would appeal for a waiver or relate with top officials for
a slap-on-the-wrist or mild sanction being a first time offended.
“After that, you would be required to submit the
advertisement materials for scrutiny to be sure you are not using
unsubstantiated claims or bogus words to mislead the public. Once that is done,
you would be fine,” I reassured him.
The Indian smiled for the first time and said that he trusted
us to take care of things.
“But the bad news here is that you would be required to pay
for the artworks that would be officially approved by the regulatory bodies” I
told him.
He waived it aside as being nothing.
Brand, they say, thrives on perception.
Looking back now, our firm has been in this business of BRT /
LagBus for just two years. Yet it looks like we have around for decades. We
have received several calls and paid a considerable number of visits to
potential clients.
Many were curious and wanted to know more,

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Some especially new investors fancied the innovative idea of having
their advertisements displayed on a mobile platform like the BRT / LagBus but
pleaded for time to study the market

Others moved from being potential to consistent advertisers.

Above all, let me reiterate that CUTTING CORNERS comes with a
price, a very dangerous trend most entrepreneurs and organisations tend to
regret later.
There is nothing wrong with a business being prudent and
reaching for goods or services that are cost effective. But attempting to play down
quality for cheap arrangement is a NO! NO!!
My Usual Parting Shot
Lanier, American musician and poet said: “If you want to be found, stand where
the seeker seeks!”
If this
prospect of advertising on BRT / LagBus in Lagos meets your demand, don’t
hesitate to get in touch with us:
(Publishers of CityPulse online & print magazine)
Tel: +234-703-909-1674, +234 8099425352

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Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis is a communicator, Journalist, blogger, business coach and, of course, a prolific writer. He has Dip (Journalism) and B.A. (History & International Relations) from the Lagos State University (LASU). The self-effacing young man has worked for national, regional and local newspapers. He had worked with THISDAY covered community news for ISLAND NEWS and corresponded with P.M. NEWS (evening tabloid). Presently, he is the editor of CITYPULSE MEDIA and senior correspondent of PHARMANEWS, West Africa foremost health and pharmaceutical journal.