In Nigeria where the importance of marketing is yet to be fully appreciated, people talk of marketing their products as if they are referring to a particular problem. A successful marketing strategy must tell an organization where they would want to be on a long-term basis, that is why it is often said that marketing strategy is a continuous process. It must rest on a carefully but well planned action, Baker (1995: 17)
The strategy aspect of the plan should be based on what is known of the competitor’s strength and weakness, the physical characteristics of the battle ground, the friendly or hostile sentiment of those who occupied the territory, and of course, the nature of resources available to the organization, Stanton (1982: 35).
In the business organization, there is safely no activity where the marketer must not therefore make the right decision about the four components of the marketing mix - price, product, place/distribution and promotion through the employment of marketing strategy. These key components must be co-ordinated and moved into a unified effective strategy if the product must perform well in the market, Kotler (1997: 315).
The analog to business strategies is direct and useful in business and in marketing, the terrain is the market place in particular and economic, political, social and technological environment in general. The resources are personnel with wide-ranging skills and expertise as well as factory laboratories, transportation system, financial resource and the corporate reputation, Henry (1984: 72)
More so, depending on the nature of business, strategies may have other dimensions as well. At the heart of any business strategy is marketing strategy. Businesses exist to deliver products to the markets to an extent that they serve this purpose efficiently through profit maximization.
All these are marketing efforts. The objectives of an organization have to be considered, particularly on customers’ satisfaction and increasing their sales volume at profits making.
Conclusively, Lever Brother Nigeria Plc being one of the leading manufacturing outfits in Nigeria must reflect and consider marketing strategies as a means of success in the markets and above all must anticipate the action and reactions of their competitors, Nwosu (1996: 112).
1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION OF LEVER
Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc is among the leading multinational companies that exist in Nigeria. And there is no way the history of Lever Brothers Plc can be treated without relating to the existence and impact of Unilever Brothers (Nig.) Plc, its parent and multinational company in London. Unilever’s history is also linked with the founder, William Hesketa Lever.
William H. Lever started at a tender age of 19 years by 1885. He started by buying the “purest” soap from local soap market. In other words, he was the first to start selling the faslets, wrapping it in bar of specific advertising through local newspaper. “No soap does this buyer business than advertising” was his usual slogan.
In Nigeria, William H. Lever bought a Liverpool from traders in Nigeria mainly in timber in 1910. Palm Kernel crushing mills were erected in 1910 at Oposo and Apapa (Lagos). In 1920, Mr. Lever bought over the Niger company for $8.6 million. It is this company that merged with African and Eastern Trading Company to form what, is presently known as the United African Company (UAC) in 1929.
Unliever extended its business activities into Nigeria when it was incorporated as West African Soap Company (WASC), until 124 at Apapa where laundry soap of key, sunlight and magret brands were first manufactured in -1952. Lux tablet was introduced, magarine factory, which was registered under the name Van Bergh (Nig) Ltd, was opened also at Apapa.
It was named Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc where both WASC and Van Ban Bergh (Nig) Limited merged in 1955. Under the same management in 1957, Aba branch was opened with a soap factory for the production of laundry soap to start.
Presently, Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc has grown in the manufacturing of large varieties of products such as:
1. Cream and lotion products
2. Toilet soaps/laundry soaps
3. Oral care products
4. Baby care products
5. Hair care products
9. Fabric washing/home cleaning
10. Diversely lever/industrial floor care products
11. Cubes etc.
Lever Brothers Nigeria PLc has also bought up the share of Lipton (Nig.) Ltd., makers of Lipton tea bag and Boncape coffee.
The performance of this section is that as early as 1885 Lever Brothers (Nig.) Plc found a need for marketing strategy and has taken innovative steps in penetrating the market for the product.
Source: An unpublished manual history of Lever Brothers and its
present organization. Department of Management Training and Development, LBN, Aba, 1997.