The art of storytelling is one of total universality. Stories transcend time, place and, ethnic origin and creed. Storytelling permeates all cultures, communities, and tribes. Stories carry meaning which are traditionally passed down in order for intrinsic cultural and fundamental values to survive.
Likewise, most major corporations and businesses have discovered the power of stories as a branding tool. This paper aims to use Peak Milk as a case study, and will illustrate how Peak Milk utilizes its signature story to carve a market niche for its brand.
The Peak Milk Brand
PEAK MILK’S SIGNATURE STORY (YouTube, 2011)
‘Papilio, I know say one day you go make us proud’.
These were the words resonated with me and my fellow Nigerians when we saw Peak Milks first advert on television. Persons without Nigerian origin may not understand the implications of this message. It is in pidgin English, a language that cuts across the ethnic diversity back home and carried a subtle but humorous jingle, an amalgamation of tongues that carries a message farther than could be imagined.
Roughly translated, the above words literally mean “Papilio, I know that you will make us proud some day.” Peak Milk effectively utilizes this form of brand communication to portray the story of a young Papilio, whose full name is Kanu Nwankwo, a boy in Owerri State being asked by his mother to purchase peak milk, to go with his breakfast cereal. The advert flashes forward twenty years to reveal Kanu as an adult, who became one of the best football athletes from Africa. The viewer sees he represents his home country and plays for English Premiership Club, Arsenal.
Figure 2: Young and Grown Up Kanu Nwankwo “Papiloo”
Although the message seems simple, there is an inherent paradox, particularly when one considers the prevalence of economic hardship in Nigerian. Papiloo represents a great percentage of young children growing up in Nigeria who have dreams to one day be someone great. The story told, to a large extent is factual, as Kanu Nwankwo had an immensely successful career going on to win an Olympic gold medal for Nigeria and trophies with Arsenal.
Every parent wants a strong, healthy growing child and nutrition is a major factor in a child’s development. Milk is an important source of calcium which promotes healthy bones and teeth for young children and is a vital staple in every home all over the world – Nigeria bears no exception. Very much aware of this trend, Peak Milk conveyed its product qualities and brand values with a signature and identifiable story.
The peak milks signature story effectively captures the desire of every parent who wants their child to be successful in their chosen career by portraying its main brand purpose which is to provide nourishment for Nigerians at different stages of their lives with quality dairy nutrition in order to reach their Peak (Ehikioya, 2015).
It became a reference point when parents attempted to convince their children to eat their meals. The Story of young Papiloo is not about just feeding a child, but offering quality nourishment, vitality, and building the strength and dreams of Peak Milk consumers. The story suggests all those who purchase its product will become a person who matters in the world. I would thus argue that Peak Milk brings the archetype of a nurturer to the forefront of its brand.
Peak milk, attaching its signature story to the core of every Nigerians desire for a healthy growing child now, and a successful person in future has resulted in a powerful brand equity in Nigeria. Today, the significance of Peak Milk’s signature story echoes strongly throughout every product offering, advertisement and method of brand communication.
Peak Milk gives all stakeholders, from partners to customers, a clear picture of what the brand and its product offerings embody and portray. To illustrate this point, the brand’s tagline, “it’s in you,” communicates to both internal and external customers that in them lies the potential to be someone great.
Furthermore, the signature story encapsulates the brand values of Peak Milk beyond just words. Merely stating that it is the first dairy brand to be fortified with 28 vitamins and minerals would not have been the most ineffective branding route. When a company lists the qualities of their product or service or their brand values, they become mere unintriguing word that communicates only to the mind and not the heart (Fog et al., 2010).
Stories to a great extent have the ability to affect behaviors and beliefs which is one of the reasons most religious figures used parables to teach lessons and pass messages across to their followers. Attention is easily acquired by stories because they are interesting and very easily connect to the target market (Aaker and Aaker, 2016). They also make it easy to remember information which is why parents tell their children traditional folklores or tales in a bid to teach moral lessons.
How Signature Story Positioned Peak Milk
A great Signature Story defines who we are and what we stand for (Fog et al., 2010), and Peak Milk has strategically executed this in such a manner that it has position itself as not only a product that provides quality nourishment for consumers but encourages and improves their mental growth and development. The brand strategically creates brand campaigns to encourage consumers to further incorporate Peak Milk into every meal they prepare and not just relegate it as an additive of light breakfast meals. (Babatunde, 2017)
Peak Milk has been offering Nigerian consumers wholesome nourishment since 1985 and is still maintaining market leadership despite the significant changes and newcomers to the dairy market. The brand has been set apart from other dairy brands as it is perceived by consumers as the most nutritious milk on the market.
It distinguished itself using with a signature story that is about an individual who represents a greater whole being catered to at different stages and phases of life-promoting not only physical nourishment but also mental vitality for stronger bodies and sharper minds (Ajayi, 2018). There is no doubt several Peak Milk competitors will offer the same value to consumers; however, the strategic decision to relate their brand values and product offering in the form of a signature story is what sets Peak Milk apart in a highly competitive dairy market.
Aaker, D. and Aaker, J. (2016). What are Your Signature Stories?. California Management Review, 58(3), pp.49-65.
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Babatunde, O. (2017). Milk, and the Growing ‘More’ Trend | BrandCrunch Nigeria. online BrandCrunch Nigeria. Available at: http://www.brandcrunch.com.ng/2017/10/02/milk-growing-trend/ Accessed 20 Nov. 2018.
Ehikioya, A. (2015). ‘Peak Milk, a truly Nigerian iconic brand’ – The Nation Nigeria. online The Nation Nigeria. Available at: http://thenationonlineng.net/peak-milk-a-truly-nigerian-iconic-brand/ Accessed 20 Nov. 2018.
Fog, K., Budtz, C., Munch, P. and Blanchette, S. (2010). Storytelling – Branding in Practice. 2nd ed. Berlin: Springer.
Peakmilk.com.ng. (2018). Peak Histories – Peakmilk. online Available at: https://peakmilk.com.ng/all-about-peak/history/ Accessed 21 Nov. 2018.
YouTube. (2011). Peak. online Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh5Y_9PnQl4 Accessed 20 Nov. 2018.