You know Hyundai; right? The automobile brand. Good. Some of you reading this will not be old enough to remember Hyundai’s first foray into Nigeria. But I do. I remember the Hyundai Excel and the tagline that it was marketed with – “Cars that make sense”. The Excel was in our faces on TV, radio and everywhere possible, and early adopters purchased them. But the Korean brand suffered some damage later, as people complained that their cars were not on the same level of quality as the more popular French and Japanese models that Nigerians lived and swore by. Nigerians flocked back to their Peugeots, Toyotas and Nissans.
Fast forward to 2013, and it looks like aliens have since visited Nigeria, abducted people and wiped their memories. Hyundai cars are everywhere. Many of those who swore that they would never drive one, much less spend ten kobo of their money on them have since spent and are now brand evangelists for the Korean brand. I remember when I purchased my 2008 model Accent. It had just been released in the market and my brand new model was delivered to my residence. Some acquaintances queried my decision to buy a Hyundai instead of a Toyota or Honda. Though I smiled and bantered on the surface, in my mind I told them not to enter my car if they didn’t like it. My Accent has clocked five years in active service now and has given me no problems. Apart from replacing the tyres, the only other thing that has been replaced in that car is the fuel pump which was damaged by adulterated fuel some years ago. From a brand that was looked upon with suspicion many years back, today Hyundai makes cars that are trendy in looks and reliable in performance.
Watch the mobile space. The same way that the Hyundai Excel was popular in the low end of the market, we see new mobile brands that are popular in the low end market as well today. Like the Excel, some of them may not be top notch products. But anyone who underestimates the power of the low end market is in for a rude shock. These new mobile brands addressing the needs of the low end market – should they persevere and keep improving – will someday become household names. Some day, people will live and swear by these brands. We will find our family members, colleagues, even bosses using these brands – and it will be hip and cool.
I am no prophet, but I can tell you these things and they will be so. Mocked today; celebrated tomorrow.