What Small Businesses Can Learn from Big Brother Naija

“I can’t recollect how many thousands we spent on SMS for him to win. It was war o”. This was a friend telling me how she, alongside her husband, supported one of the housemates on the Big Brother Naija 2018 reality show. To say a Nigerian family, faced with relative economic realities would invest or put in thousands to support their favorite housemate on the show is somewhat baffling or “Miracle-ous”. Such is the power of entertainment and good business marketing strategy!

As a small business owner, there are lots of lessons to garner from the Big Brother Naija 2018 reality show. I will share these lessons from three perspectives in relation to the audience, who are the consumers or customers.

  • The Big Brother Naija’s perspective (brand)
  • The Sponsor’s perspective
  • The Housemate’s perspective

Big Brother Naija franchise is owned by Multichoice Nigeria, a subsidiary of Multichoice Africa (based in South Africa). The 2018 show (Double Wahala) spanned 3 months, from January to April with 20 housemates. The organizers of the show had to come up with a tactic better than the previous seasons to get a larger audience, which they successfully executed—the larger the audience (consumers), the more money rolls in. A total of 170million votes was recorded for this last season alone, which makes the show one of the most watched in Nigeria. Let’s not start with the maths yet.

Being a business owner, you must understand that media is a powerful tool in marketing. The organizers understood the importance of good or bad publicity even at the risk of being controversial. To reach more people, it had to raise debates, create biases, etc. You can imagine the twist of asking consumers to bring back evicted housemates later in the season.

This brings you to the first lesson, it is important to understand and leverage on consumer behavior. It entails understanding your customer’s society, cultural bias, religious bias, preferences, etc. This helps you to understand the best of strategies to sell your product or service to them.

For example, while the show was on, the obscenities raised controversies, the drama between Tobi and Cee C also made some “non-BBNaija” fans watch and pick sides. The show gained more popularity based on the fact that it reflected the relationship struggles that people could relate with in their daily lives.

How does this affect you? If you can meet your would-be customers in their zones, they will invariably become your customers. It is important that you meet them at the level of their deepest feelings. Did you know that rallies were organized for housemates by their fans? I’ll say that they were emotionally aroused.

Remember, your customers are first of all humans!

Moving on to the Sponsorship perspective; the main sponsor of the show was Payporte, an online shopping company. Others included Heritage bank, Dufil Prima Foods (Makers of Minimie, Indomie and Power oil), Close Up, Pepsi, Legend, Gold Circle, etc. You will notice the subtle advertisement of subconsciously engaging people towards their products and services. There came a time when you could literally tell the next advert coming on the show. One of my friends could even say the lines of the Heritage Bank advert word for word—the male and female versions! The power of subconscious engagement.

The housemates wore the Payporte tag throughout and were constantly reminded by Big Brother to put the tag on if they mistakenly took it off because it was on the pouch that held the microphones. This raised the question on Twitter “What is Payporte sef, what do they do?”

Also, Payporte supplied their clothes so you would see on websites ads like “Do you like Alex’s outfit tonight, click on this to get it. Only available on Payporte” and of course, Alex’s passionate fans pay Payporte by buying the dress. Na so! This is even asides the pay per click revenue. Let’s just continue.

According to Payporte’s CEO, Eyo Bassey, he revealed at Techpoint Inspired 2017 that being the major sponsor of the reality TV show skyrocketed orders on the platform, which left them struggling to meet up with demand. In essence, as a business owner, you’ll need to invent ways to engrave the need for your product or service in the minds of prospective customers. I call it “working on the subconscious”. How you’ll do that?  It is up to you to INVENT.

Moving on to the Housemate’s perspective…

I must say selling your personality to an audience of different backgrounds and culture is no joke. Having watched closely, you’ll understand that it’s not a function of intelligence, looks or the super qualities of life that keeps a housemate in the house for long. Being a game, the housemate needed to be able to appeal to everyone—at least the majority.

I must say Miracle did a good job at not being on any side. He was focused on the game and neutral on distractions. When Tobi and Cee C started their drama, they split supporters. One thing is this, you don’t want to be anti a competitor if you are up against two other serious competitors. But I’m guessing they didn’t know that. It is a two-edged sword, maybe it took them far but not far enough to win.

While this may not be applicable in all cases and at all times, you’ll need to stay on your lane and work your own stuff as a business owner. You don’t want to be caught in a crossfire of competitors otherwise you will lose customers.

Let’s conclude this with BBNaija Maths

Going by this year’s polls, it is safe to say that about 20% of votes came in via SMS. 20% of 170million is 34 million. An SMS costs #30, we have #1,020,000,000 which alone is enough to pay Miracle, buy the SUV, pay Ebuka, etc. Forget SMS votes, let’s do comments. A comment via SMS costs #50, how many comments scrolled on the TV per day? I don’t know too.

What about sponsorships? Payporte, Legend stout, Pepsi, etc . This is serious money here. The business mind behind this game is really grand, the figures and sponsorships can speak by themselves.

In the end, it is all about partnership. leverage on strategic partnerships.

Wishing all the best in your endeavor.

You can tell us what you learnt as a business owner on BBNaija in the comment section.

Thank you.