The brand St Louis is a household name that has maintained popularity for a Decade now. People wonder how an international brand gained Dominance and monopoly for over thirty years. The company which has its foundation in Germany ruled the Nigerian Sugar market working its way through the hearts of every Nigerian Family.
Most people argue that the ability of St Louis to dominate is in their lack of competition. But Dangote Sugar presence in the market opposes this notion. Other brands like Family Sugar etc. stampedes the belief too. You wonder how they pulled that off.
By the end of this article, you will gain an insight into the Buisness strategies of St Louis Sugar as well as the lessons to acquire from the brand, in order to promote your Buisness.
• First User Strategy • Patent Concept • Uniqueness/Simplicity • Affordability • Consistency/Style in production
FIRST USER STRATEGY/PAST GLORY This is a style in Buisness that gives a brand quicker dominance and a lasting presence in the market. First User is when a company is the first to produce. Making their customers first users of that kind of product, that even when similar products are released into the market, it maintains an upper market position.
St Louis dates back 30yrs ago. It is practically the very first Sugar brand in Nigeria. Had it been that Nigerian manufacturers produced similar cubed sugar within 1year of St Louis market presence, it would have been easier to knock St Louis out of the market. But the reverse is the case.
St Louis was given market domination for long. Building familiarity and trust. That even when other sugar brands emerged, it was difficult to get people switch from what they are used to.
This strategy works in Buisness. And in order to pull it off, a new product that has never been heard of is required. The kind of product that no one has seen yet. That will give you dominance for years to come.
Given that patent allows its owner a legal right to prevent people from making, selling, and importing an invented idea for a given period of years. St Louis successfully pulled off Sugar market ownership for 30yrs. It has been argued that their concept of producing sugar in cubes is a patented idea.
This gave them an unrivalled market dominance in cube sugar production for years. It is since Nigeria banned the importation of goods to enable domestic manufacturers gain hold, that we started having other companies like “Family” produce cubed sugar.
A wise lesson from such concept to Start-up entrepreneurs. If you are to be renowned in your sector, strive to be unique. Engage your mind in creativity. So as to gain a not so easily challenged footing.
UNIQUENESS/SIMPLICITY The unique taste of St Louis sugar made it difficult to be pushed aside. People claim that it easily dissolves without forming lumps like most sugars we have now. Even in the advent of Dangote sugar, people refused to switch.
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The claim is that St louis sugar has a more condensed sugar content which made it easier to circulate and reflect on the taste bud. Unlike other competition whose brand doesn’t dissolve easily and tend to form lumps. They are also not condensed. Meaning you will need to scoop more spoons before you can feel the sugary taste.
St louis brand quality passed the overtly simple dull looking pack with no manufacturing addresse. It used its unique content to takeover.
The lesson here is that it is not about packaging. But the content. That is what will gain you lasting customers. Beautiful packaging of products ATTRACT customers to your brand, but a quality content keeps them coming back.
As a start-up entrepreneur, focus on the quality of your content, rather than packaging.
AFFORDABILITY QUALITY and CHEAP are the prerequisites of product market ‘RUSH’. Give Nigerians a cheap and quality product and they make you rich. This is because 80 percent of product buyers in Nigeria are the middle and low class.
If you package CHEAP & LOW QUALITY, you will sell constantly to those who have no choice. You may gain market recognition but NEVER dominance. Quality and Cheap is the key to taking over the market unrivalled.
CONSISTENCY For over thirty years, St Louis remained consistent in style of production, taste and quality. They maintained the same sugar pack without changing to a colourful one. They stuck to the same taste without switching to another flavour or quality.
This gained them trust. When you fluctuate in your style of Buisness, your customers find it difficult to trust you. The quality of St Louis sugar taste remained that highly condensed beet sugar.
Most food companies in Nigeria adopt the strategy of starting with QUALITY AND CHEAP, then reducing to lower quality when they feel they have gained customers. This is a wrong strategy. You will never maintain your dominance because start-ups with the same strategy will knock you out, making people to switch their loyalty to the new QUALITY and CHEAP in the block. You will be left with distrust and will never recover.
When you are consistent in the taste of your products, you gain a lasting dominance. Better to change in price than quality. Your customers will understand you need to meet up with the cost of production.
Finally, the step to becoming a Buisness owner is an innovative one. Because you get the opportunity to make an impact in your nations economy. Venturing into a Buisness and grooming it to scale through market challenges should be a rewarding feat.
Let your major reward be founded on not just the affluence attached to a “payed” off enterprise, rather on your innovative mind. So as to be able to pull off a legacy as inspiring as St Louis.