By Moses Nosike
Ezekiel Adamu, Chief Executive Officer, Balmoral has decided to rescue local drink industry in Nigeria through what he knows best – events, entertainment, brand exhibition, rebranding following his 13 years experience in the industry.
In this interview with Nosike Moses, he revealed that the 3 day international drink festival event billed for December will be a festival of ideas from the drink industry which will involve brand exhibitions, master class for different sectors of the drink industry and summit to talk about the different aspects of the drink businesses in Nigeria. The festival is targeted to create market for local operators. Excerpts:
What’s the focus of this festival?
The focus of the festival is to create a platform for the drink industry and we are not only talking about alcoholic drinks, it encompasses non-alcoholic – energy drinks, water, soda etc, and all sort of new technologies in the drink industry. We also have master classes for drink professionals and people in the drink business and how they can repackage their brands, re-model themselves to become more sought after. We also have on the drink businesses real brands to come and show the different dynamic aspects of their drink brands. There are a lot of companies that actually want to come into the country as well to help the market and see what it is and the festival will also provide some platform for them to showcase their brands to consumers and also the general public as well.
How will the festival create market for retailers and as well impact on the economy?
Presently we have invited over 200 beverage brands for the festival and those brands are open for the retailers and even consumers to come in and look for business opportunities between both parties. Another parametre of success we are looking at is how to rebrand our local drinks here. For instance how do we repackage our palm-wine, Kunu, Zobo and so on, to be able to compete with most of these international brands that are coming into the country, and how we can export those products to other African countries and the world at large.
What actually inspired this concept?
Balmoral has been into the event and entertainment industry for over 13 years now. We found out that around the world, Nigeria especially, the particular sector that actually helps a lot is the drink industry which is pushing a lot of events and entertainment. We also carry out exhibitions around the world, and most major countries of the world you found out that what they have in common that helps them is a platform like this.
Platform like this is used to gather data and determine trend in the future and get statistics. And for a large country like Nigeria that has a large level of alcohol consumption other countries would like to participate through this kind of platform. They said Nigeria is one of the largest consumers of champagne in the world. Do we have such statistics here, that is what this festival will achieve.
If you go into our streets, there are a lot of people selling our local gin called Paraga, how are you going to tap into what they do for the festival?
Like I said, the measure of success in this event is the local participation apart from the international brand. We are looking at the local brands, Paraga, Kunu, Zobo and palm wine to come in and know current trend and preservative, how to market it and different aspect of the products and demographics that take care of particular drinks and all of that.
How much of the retailer have you been able to reach?
We are reaching out to a lot of them and before December when the proper event will take place we must have covered the target. This is an idea that had been conceptualised for over three years and we have been going around doing our research to ensure we are ready before the time. We have picked the first weekend in December as a strategic date. We have reached out to almost all the hotels, bars, restaurants, almost all the people that are consumers of these drinks, we are actually reaching out also to the major brands that know their retailers and they will also reach them. We have a lot of publicity on radios, television, newspaper and on social media. We have marketers that are reaching out to them everyday. We are getting the coverage.
What aspect of the festival do you intend to bring government in?
Like I said we have the summit part of the event, that would bring in government regulatory agencies like NAFDAC, SON, customs to educate companies that are coming on regulation even though some of these international brands were certified in their country of origin. Government is actually very key to what we are doing.
What are you looking at after this event concerning our local drinks?
This a better platform where the biggest brands and smaller brands can meet together to compete and communicate with one another and so they can improve on their products. We are also bringing in professionals from around the world too to talk about their success stories and educate our local brands.
Challenges of getting a festival of this magnitude?
The most important thing is if you desire to do something like this, go ahead and do it. In every walk of life there are challenges and there will be challenges, but why is it not done in this country, may be logistics and there is no company better positioned to run festival like this than Balmoral, because we have been in business for 15 years now, and we have been around the world to see how these things are being done.
First of all we need space to take a large crowd of a festival like this because we need to house them but we don’t have the facilities here. This is why Balmoral is here, putting the needed temporary structures together to achieve this kind of thing done around the world.
Do you have partners for the festival?
We have partners and some sponsors that are also part of this event. The event will happen with or without any participation because we have been planning for this even for the past three years and we got ourselves properly ready for the festival. We have our partners and sponsors to make sure this event happens. And we have also been discussing with bigger sponsors to come in to make the event bigger, and also a worthwhile event in the Nigeria market.
How prepared are you logistically and security wise?
It’s actually going to be in a very secured environment which is Federal Palace hotel. We are also partnering with the Nigerian police and other private security companies that have experience especially in event like this where foreigners are coming, they will give them security. So we have all that covered in terms of security.
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