Can brands capitalise on the huge ‘cocoa season’ that beckons this Nov/Dec?


This past week, Afronation and Afrochella have both announced their list of headliners for this year’s edition. In the queue for roll-out will be the Wildaland Festival, Detty Rave and all the other major concerts and festivals set to bring the world to ‘Little Accra’ in the next couple of months.

In about 60 days, the World Cup beckons; the first December WORLD CUP ever – and it features Ghana.

The World Cup is the biggest event in world sport. It carries with it a fever-like frenzy, for businesses and consumers alike, that defies economic situations and logic.

This soccer craze will continue unabated for 4 weeks. All bars and hotspots will be full; drinks and food will be sold and patronised in equal measure; just as every soccer fan turns into an expert pundit, every street-hawker will become a soccer merchandise-hawker – and very few other topics will matter during this period.

Much like the tournament’s format; the closer it gets to the finale, the more exciting it gets. So, it only gets better as it goes on.

The final game of the World Cup is on 18th December 2022….7 days to Christmas.

Christmas in Ghana is usually the time when most brands show-off and showcase some of their best ideas across creative, digital and experiential consumer engagements.

The COVID-19 story of 2020 and its hangover effects in 2021 are pretty much yesterday’s news. Today’s headline is that ‘we are outside’; so the good times are here again.

Thus, December 2022 is gearing up to be the ‘Year of Return’ on steroids.

The government of Ghana is estimating the tourist influx to reach 600,000 people this December. Accurate or ambitious, what’s certain is that there will be a major influx.

A potpourri of visitors from the diasporan community; fun-seekers from across the continent; and, of course, our brothers and sisters sojourned abroad who have been saving up and planning all year.

Every one of these people will book accommodation and also have to move around. They will have to communicate and stay in touch with friends and family; eat, drink, look good, and party. Money will be spent – via cash, electronic and digital payments.

On the surface, it is the cocoa season for everyone in the FMCG sector: Telcos; Financial services [convenient payment gateway providers]; Sports betting; hospitality and tourism brands, as well as transportation service providers, event planners, entertainers and hotspots.

But will every brand truly be able to harvest in this season?

Even with the best and most expensive efforts, there is always a risk of getting lost amid the multiple brand noise in such seasons.

Hence, in times like these, while a healthy budget is imperative, the brands that win are those which find innovative ways to communicate their USPs.

Don’t think outside the box; get out of the box completely.  The new generation of consumers [old or young] are more assertive than ever.

With inflation at an all-time high and the US$ running circles around the cedi, Ghanaian consumers are predictably sceptical about spending except when necessary.

So, unless you are a utility service provider, your goods or services will be joining a waiting list of wants. Your next sale is based on how high you rank on each consumer’s scale of preference – a scale that is increasingly tipping toward prudence and cost-efficiency.

Expat consumers are no less hard to recruit

With access to tons of information and a tendency to think themselves supreme of thought, sometimes the best way to get money spent by these consumers is ‘inspiration’ and aspiration [or perception]. Both feelings evoke a strong reaction [especially] in millennials, and no doubt push them to take risks.

Which strategy will allow your brand to rank top of the list when it comes to purchases?

If there’s anything that gets a consumer to spend money they don’t have, it’s the Fear of Missing Out – aka FOMO.

Curate a ‘Get out of your seat’ type campaign that employs FOMO [literally & figuratively] via the appropriate social, media & digital channels, and engages the consumer’s multiple touch-points in an experiential process that is ‘Simply Different’ yet ‘Authentic’.

Young consumers, especially, will lose trust in a brand if a campaign feels fake or seems to over-promise. Suffice it to say, you must stay consistently ‘authentic’ to win their loyalty.

For WC campaigns, be sure to develop good-natured but tongue-in-cheek social campaigns. It always works.

It’s an awesome formula for a sponsor to craft a link between (let’s be honest, some fairly boring) products and exciting sports and events.

People go on social forays to unwind, so play into the occasion; don’t try to blatantly sell/pitch them.

For Sports Betting platforms, look to engage with your punters in real-time.

It’s a cost-effective way to build brand awareness, increase affinity with the brand, and differentiate yourself from the competition; Push out tweets and posts that align with the mood of the game and emotions of fans on both sides; these have the obvious advantage of driving in-game betting and keeps your brand top of mind in the heat of it all.

How experiential is your experiential process? What experience are you selling in your experiential campaign? Same old sampling to sale activation?

Whether off-trade or on-trade, be seen to invest in giving the consumer an experience that you have never offered and which they have never had; a reason to say “yes” rather than to ponder “why should I?” This is especially effective for getting existing consumers excited to spend more on your brand.

Cross-brand partnerships are a smart way to do more with less by partnering with a complementary brand to give added value to the consumer. Shared cost – shared visibility; a win-win.

Think of an alcohol brand partnering with a ride-hailing app. Consumer orders a drink and gets a discount on their ride home. There’s no better way to say Don’t Drink & Drive if you ask me.

In case you haven’t realised, in today’s ‘woke’ consumer culture socially responsible brands hit an emotional chord with consumers that is absolutely priceless in these times.

e-Commerce is a tool of wit that must be deployed in innovative ways to appeal, especially, to the diasporan influx for December sales and events, as well as for driving ‘at-home & in-office’ WC viewing experiences. There are so many ways to do this, unique to each brand, without getting lost in the noise.

Go beyond what has worked in the past; try something radically new!

That is to say, for all the brands planning to roll-out UTC [Under the Cork] and ‘Scratch & Win’ campaigns – This is 2022; all that stuff is a bit old and boring. Be different.

The bottom line here is that there’s a huge market out there for brands to capitalise on in so many ways this coming season. However, in 2022 success requires a lot more than just making the most noise and spending the most money.

Come January; every brand and business will receive their deserved ROIs based on how smart they have been with their strategy and execution.


DERICK is a seasoned PR & Brand Marketing Consultant, with experience curating experiential and digital marketing campaigns for multi-national brands such as Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker, CIROC, LUC Belaire, Remy Martins, Django Brothers, Glenmorangie and many others in Ghana and Kenya. He worked on the AFRONATION Concert in 2019 in GHANA, curating the CIROC VVIP Lounge for CIROC. He is currently the Lead Brand Marketing Consultant at ELEVATE, the Agency & founder of the NIGHTLIFE AWARDS GHANA.

 Email: [email protected]  /  [email protected]

Leave a Reply