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Tech & Processes

October 30, 2023

9 mins read

Making the dream: how Moniepoint "markets" to the mass market.

by Victory Okoyomoh

Same Joe, minor –... If you’re from Nigeria and you don’t know the rest of that sentence, you probably have been living off the grid, up in the mountains. But for the initiated, this line from Moniepoint’s recent ads has become a piece of pop culture.

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Like everything else we put out at Moniepoint, there’s careful attention to every detail, every step of the way, to ensure we’re doing the best work. Here’s what that looks like for the Moniepoint Nigeria marketing team.

POV: your fintech product is kinda like sachet water.

Every society, like Nigeria, is filled with many products and services. Some, more esoteric than others. But most are so ingrained into everyday lives that they are not really viewed as products anymore.

Think about things like sachet water, with millions of sachets sold daily. Or food items. “Groceries”, like Garri and sugar, are a staple in every home. There’s also everyday entertainment, like the hundreds of movies churned out by the Nollywood industry yearly.

These products and services are a part of the community, solving vital problems. And marketing them factors that in. There are no complicated campaigns, just the basics.

Technology solutions are often not thought of in the same light. Necessary as they might be, there’s a tendency to treat marketing them with the same level of complexity as the product itself has. A lot of jargon, really fancy videos, and little that makes an everyday user care.

The journey to determining a unique brand path for Moniepoint began with Didi, our VP, Comms, in 2021. She laid the foundation for the product and creative teams - led by Chinedu and Yemi, respectively - to land the brand promise that eventually metamorphosed into what has now become Moniepoint's brand ethos.

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We were the solution people could use if they wanted to buy sachet water, garri, sugar, or even their movies. Every time they stepped out, they would encounter our products in one way or another. If we were that ingrained into their everyday lives, we had to use everyday language.

It wasn’t about us, but about them. Whatever fancy work had gone into creating our product didn’t really matter to them. They just needed to know how we solved their problems, and that’s what we focused on. 

Moniepoint’s fundamental truth.

When I got on a call with Yemi, our creative director, to ask about how exactly we defined this “everyday language”, I expected to be breathed upon with some pixie dust that would open my eyes to some magical, alternate universe. And if you’re searching for that too, I apologise.

What I got instead, was a redirection to some of the basics, that you might vaguely remember from that one marketing video you watched years ago - People, Product, Promotion & Price. This is not a refresher on the 4 P’s of marketing. What it is, however, is a first hard look at the science behind what you could interpret as our “creative”.

The focus was people. At Moniepoint, when we looked at our products, we considered what aspects this product fit into the lifestyle of these people. What problem was it solving? What purpose did it have in their lives? How did it impact them?

Answering these questions defined how we spoke to them, and ensured that we were communicating in a language that they could understand.

In order to do this, we needed to focus on insight so fundamental, that it was impossible to deny. As long as we could land on that human truth, then anything that we said, or derived from that truth would work. The whole point of selling is to sell so convincingly that there is no point arguing. We wanted people to align with a message because our message aligned with them.

For Moniepoint, our fundamental truth is reliability.

Ad-ing this all together

As Chinedu, Moniepoint Nigeria’s Director of Marketing, set out with his team to create its ads, this fundamental truth led the charge. It was so deeply set that it had many facets to it.

For one, we wanted to be identified as reliable. We were creating a service/experience that people could always rely on. Whenever they needed to collect payments for their business, they could come to us and receive reliable service.

We also wanted this reliability to extend to these businesses. Our offering, like a business account, helped them achieve this. This reliability also extended to how we communicated with them - in a manner that showed that we understood them, and were always there for them.

In summary, Moniepoint was that brand that people could depend on, no matter their scale - whether they were a large business spanning across the country, or just a mom-and-pop shop down the street. We needed to help them see this. Irrespective of where they were, or their cultural background, they had to know they could rely on us.

So, we had 3 objectives;

  1. The first was to take our reliability and extend it to relatability. Such that if people were able to relate to us, they were able to trust us enough that they could rely on us.

  2. The second was also aligning the product and the brand itself. So that whenever people saw our products, they could say,  “Oh yeah, that’s Moniepoint. I know them. They always speak to me, and I understand what they do. Also, their products are very seamless and easy to use”.

  3. Of course, we wanted things that could give us the best value for money. We wanted to strike that balance between creating a really good-looking ad, and creating content that people would enjoy. That way, it was memorable because they were genuinely entertained.

Same Joe, Minor Differences.

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Memorable as this ad was, it was a regular day in the office for the team. Their own peculiar brand of regular, anyway. The ad, part of our “Get a bank account in your business name” series,  started with some research on Chinedu’s end.

Why should people open a bank account? Why should it be in their business name? What are the major issues? Why should they care about these issues? The answers he got tied into our truth of reliability.

In a society as entrepreneurial as ours, finding businesses via social media is very common. However, closing the sale is often difficult for these businesses when they present a personal account at the point of payment. Not necessarily because they want to, but because of how complicated the process of getting a bank account traditionally tends to be. This was where we could come in. With our business banking solution, we could help these businesses become more reliable.

With this problem defined, the creative team crafted stories around this. Yemi describes this as the “idea space”. This meant looking for the common denominator between the identified problem, and our unique selling proposition. With this defined, in his words, “that actually is 50% of the work done”.

Alongside Yemi, Funmi, our copywriter, explored the story. She first considered the lead actor who would be starring in the ad and what scenario would look most natural to him. Then, tied this into the relatability of romantic relationships. They explored the trappings and heartbreak associated with catfishing, and connected that to our messaging for the businesses.

With this perspective, what seemed just like a fun skit, becomes the consequence of a series of well-thought-out ideas.

Bringing the idea to life

With the general idea of the story,  the next step was to convert that story into a script. Funmi recalls this process as being collaborative, with everyone on the team contributing their perspectives to create a holistic story.

Somewhere along this path, “same Joe, minor differences” was birthed as a joke, which immediately rang out to them as something that fit the story they were trying to tell.

The phrase carried the weight of what was intended. Joe might not have intended to be unreliable, but he ultimately seemed so. Every detail he presented to his date differed from who he was in person. And this perfectly embodied the feeling customers could get when a business looked really promising, but ended up providing a personal account at the point of payment.

It was technically the “same business”, but there were now “minor differences” between their idea of the business and what they now saw. Minor differences that could jeopardise a sale.

Every script the team wrote, including this one, was assessed with a framework. This internal framework ensured that what they had wasn’t just a fancy ad, but that it truly spoke to our audience, and could achieve the goal for which it was intended.

With the story set and the script in place, the next bit was to translate the script into the ad we now have. The team searched for a production house that had the better strength in telling Nigerian stories and could authentically represent the narrative we were going for.

With a production team selected, they fine-tuned the production plan and analysed treatments. At these pre-production meetings, the team searched for a location that would best interpret the story and what kind of actors would be the best fit. Everything from the setting, to the costumes and scenery was defined in order to tell a cohesive story, that our audience in Nigeria could feel connected to.

Production, Post-production

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On shoot day, everything comes alive. The team is on the ground to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Yemi, Funmi, and the rest of the creative team ensure that the creative direction is being followed. Obinna, Moniepoint’s Director of Content, is present to guide with his production knowledge. And Chinedu ensures that the brand elements are in place, and we’re communicating exactly what we intend to.

Together, they see it through to post-production, working and reviewing different cuts till a final one that perfectly tells the intended story.

After the ads are shot, they still have to go through  ARCON - Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, ensuring that what we’re communicating complies with regulatory guidelines and advertising laws. This leads to getting a deployment certificate, after which the ads are ready to go live.

Going live

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With all the work that had gone into the ads, the team expected the reaction to be generally positive. They had done their homework and, with the insights they got, put together a quality ad. Still, the reactions took them by surprise.

People tend not to like ads. For example, if you’re not subscribed to YouTube Premium, then you know those 5 unskippable seconds can feel like a year.

But this resonated with our audience.

Even though the team had put in the work to create quality ads, it was still validating to see how much it was taken up. In drips and trickles, phrases from the ad were used, even in unrelated conversations.

The people we wanted to speak to heard every word loud and clear, and it stuck with them.

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